Postcards from Iceland – 8 (puffins and old villages)

East Iceland is different. High cliffs, rivers and waterfalls. Coastal villages and scary roads.

And puffins, or lundi as they’re called in Icelandic.

There are quite a few places where they can be seen as the spend the summer here nesting and raising youngs.

Our hotel was inland in Egilsstadir, but I really fancy a day of exploring so I drove to the coast to visit the small fishing village of Borgafjördur. The drive itself was beautiful and a little scary due to the usual Icelandic disregards for guardrails… not for the faint-hearted!

On the way I passed the cutest little summer hut belonging to the late Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval, who is considered the one of the most important Icelandic landscape painters.

Super cute… but tiny. The building on the left has a boat in it… the one on the right, has barely room for a single bed and a cupboard or tiny kitchen or toilette… couldn’t work it out. The view opposite was beautiful, no photos could do justice to the slow meandering river with mountains in the back. Space. Vast space. Even on a drizzly morning it looks majestic.

Borgafjördur has a handful of bright coloured houses, and one really old one that totally steals the show…

… and a cute little church…

… and then… by the fishing harbour three miles up the road…

The most adorable colony of puffins ever…

It was hard to leave them!

Time to drive to the next village in the fiord next door, which involved a long drive all the way back the same way and then up and over a different mountain.

Seydisfjordur is older and bigger and has a biggest port (and a little golf club), more hotels and restaurants etc. etc. while still being able to maintain a lot of character.

I sat outside for lunch (a delicious pumpkin risotto) and watched the world go by for a while… very pleasant.

I then took a stroll through the centre and admired all the colourful old houses.

Back at the ranch… we finished the day with a dip in our first thermal bath (Vök Bath). The baths were a very civilised 42C but had to do like the locals and take dips in the chilli lake (15C) not to appear like lame tourists.

I don’t think I’d eve swam in water as cold as that but it was strangely addictive. Having survived the first shocking moment… we found ourselves wanting to do it again and again.

So weird.

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