Iceland Ring Road: the eastern fjords

We left Eyvindur where we had stayed overnight and the Ring Road in fog and snow to explore the eastern fjords. Driving down a long valley we spotted a little red hut, one of the few remaining bothies that used to sit along all the mountain roads. We passed another hanging valley and came to the town of Reyðarfjörður which has a World War II museum as the British Army was stationed here. It is also the place ‘Fortitude’ was filmed and anyone familiar with it might recognise some of the buildings. Continuing on R96 we drove through a long tunnel under the mountain to Fáskrúðsfjörður. This town was settled by French fishermen in the 19th century and a museum covers their work and the French Hospital that was set up to care for them.

Many of the signs in the town are in French as well as Icelandic and English and so I discovered that there is not a French word for ‘iceberg’. Someone also had had a better view of the aurora than we had.

There were eider ducks in the harbour and in summer you can sometimes see porpoises. In a small village Stöðvarfjörður further on, there is a geology museum based on the lifetime collection of local stones undertaken by a woman aptly named Petra. Unfortunately it is only open May to September so we were unable to visit. The coastal road rejoined the Ring Road a little later and we passed cliffs where Herring Gulls and Fulmers nest in summer.

We visited another waterfall in the Fossardalur valley which is the second highest in Iceland at 122 metres.

By the time we reached Djupivogur the sky was overcast and gloomy. The only colour was the boats and equipment down at the harbour where these gulls had found a colourful perch.

This town is one of the oldest ports and guidelbooks say that the last great excitement was when North African pirates ransacked it in 1627. Papey Island is just offshore and is inhabited by seals and birds. Boat trips run to it in summer. Down towards the jetty in the town is a place reminiscent of many we saw along Route 66: Bones, Sticks and Stones. The garden, house and greenhouse are full of stuff, he even has a totem pole.

The eastern fjords are one of the best places to spot reindeer. They are not native having been introduced in the 9th century as a gift from the King of Norway because the people were starving. Unfortunately for the reindeer they were all eaten and had to be reintroduced again later. We did see a few at great distance so I did not get any good photographs of them.