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A Meandering Road to Lón

Exploring Southeast Iceland

Story by Dan Bretl January 22nd, 2017

First Hot pot

By the morning of our third day in Iceland, our heads were already spinning from everything we'd seen so far. We needed a little time to to relax, so we took a short diversion to our first hot pot at Hoffell. Hot pots in Iceland come in all shapes and sizes - some are huge and well developed and others are tiny and remote. Hoffell is the kind where the pools themselves are lined with plastic tubs. This maybe takes a bit of the fantasy out of it but does help to keep you clean (as we'd learn some days later). There were four pools (of varying temperatures) spaced around a rocky hill, and we mostly had the place all to ourselves. The natural hot spring water felt great, and the surrounding glaciated hills provided a nice backdrop.

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After our soak in the hot spring (and a visit from a curious local farm dog), we continued east along the ring road. We only had a vague plan for the day, so we allowed ourselves to pull over whenever a scene caught our eye.

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first horses

Of course when we saw a large group of horses hanging out near the fence of a farm, we had to stop to say hello. (I know this is common among tourists, so I hope it isn't secretly a great annoyance to the locals who tend to the animals.) The horses were beautiful and friendly, and they seemed to appreciate getting to eat from our hands some of the longer grass from the other side of the fence. I want to go back in the winter and see them when they're fluffy!

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afternoon in höfn

For lunch, we stopped in the fishing town of Höfn. After a nice meal (and some excessive Instagram posting courtesy of the restaurant Wi-Fi), we decided to hang around and walk to the water. We found an old boat along the way with a sign inviting tourists to climb aboard, so climb aboard we did.

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Brightly colored lighthouses peppered the horizon down at the bay. It was low tide, and the muddy beach would quickly swallow up your boots if you didn't move quickly.

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stop and go and stop again

We set out from Höfn with the eventual goal of making it to Lón Beach. We had a good amount of daylight left, so we didn't push the pace too much. Eventually, it seemed like we couldn't make it more than a few hundred yards without stopping again at another beautiful sight.

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At one point, we came across a big red chair planted into the stone on the side of the road. Sure, why not.

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The hills and mountains in Iceland are beautiful, but it's the valleys in between that consistently caught my eye. It was a cloudy day, and the fog and mist only made the landscape all the more captivating. A sense of mystery hung in the air.

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Catie was super patient with me hopping out of the car every ten minutes to photograph another bay or field or scree. I learned quickly to stop putting my camera back in its bag, and instead just toss it in the back seat.

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another black beach

Finally, we made it to Lón, which provided us with another seemingly endless stretch of black beach made up of smooth stones and sand. There was a small farm at the bottom of the distant rocky hill overlooking the inlet. It must be an amazing place to live.

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It was raining off and on, and by this time we were farther east than most tourists go (at least in September), so there wasn't another human in sight.

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There were treasures all over the beach. The stones were mostly black, but there were crazy colors (made even brighter by the rain) hidden everywhere. There were also greenish blue plants sprouting from the ground that would capture crystal clear water in their leaves.

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Catie and I will probably never fully grow up (at least I hope not). I think it has something to do with both of us being youngest children in our families.

We had a lot of fun on the beach, and we managed to stay out long enough to even catch a bit of blue sky. The weather in Iceland always keeps you guessing!

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Iceland