– Landmannalaugar, the interior of Iceland –
We rent a jeep 4×4 in order to cross the rivers and drive off the beaten path. That day is arrived: we are going to Landmannalaugar!
I’m talking about multicoloured mountains, lava fields, hot springs and azure lakes. Furthermore Landmannalaugar is also the Laugavegur trekking starting point (or Laugavegurinn).
There are many ways to reach this paradise from Selfoss (the place where we slept last night), but the Icelanders said that there is only one feasible track: we have to take the road 26 to Hella, drive around the Hekla volcano, and then drive along F225, a great mountain road.
Our trip will depend on the weather we’ll find: it’s not possible to cross the rivers in rainy days. If the level of the water is higher than our jeep’s wheels, we will be forced to come back, or, in the worst case scenario, we will be stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Although August is high season, we can’t spot other cars besides ours. The more we get in, the more the landscape looks like the moon: both for shape and lack of human marks.
After proper contemplations and photography stop-overs, we march off.
The rivers are coming:
Life forms start coming into view: there is a stable and we have a close encounter with some amazing horses.
We also bump into a pretty proud sheep:
After 3 hours travelling, we get there: we have reached an altitude of 600 m and the temperature is about 4 C°, but the perceived one is even lower. We are not alone anymore: there is also a campsite for brave campers! Finally we can see the stunning Landmannnalugar’s geothermal pool, a perfect after trekking-reward. Actually we have been seated on a car all the time, but who cares? We should just take courage, take our winter clothes off, and put our swimsuits on!
The water temperature is about 45°: about 40° more than the air temperature; at first we looked at the semi-naked walking people with astonishment, but after one hour bathing we can feel as vikings as well. We warm ourselves up to our fingertips, and can even walk wearing just a swimsuit without feeling cold for a while!
We are sourrounded by an incredible landscape: the mountains are composed of rhyolite, a lava filled with minerals which has slowly cooled down, originating marvellous shade of colours.
We would like to stay here for ever, but there are many wonders expecting us: it’s time to drive towards east and to reach the next hostel.
“This is the greatest place I’ve ever seen“, but we already know that tomorrow there are many chances to discover something even better.
This is Iceland.