Last Saturday Elsa woke up after three hours of sleep following the first of three night shifts. Knowing very well that sleep would not come again anytime soon we decided to go for a hike instead of her trying in vain to shut off the brain, with frustration and the possibility of a bad mood as a consequence. Bjössi had bought her a book that´s called “Walking trails of the greater Reykjavik area – 25 beautiful walks” by Reynir Ingibjartsson and we found this opportunity ideal to try out the first of the 25 called Hraunin and Straumsvik.
Baldur (10) decided to join us for the day and off we went. A gravel road runs the first leg of the trail taking us to some deserted houses in the middle of nowhere. These buildings have taken quite a beating from the weather making them wonderfully rustic and mysterious.
Eyðikot (deserted farm) is a beautiful building that used to be the site of a blacksmith´s making horseshoes for the region. The timber used in building an old residence near by came from a 4000 ton sailing ship, The Jamestown, which stranded at Höfn in 1881.
We spent a long time in and around these old cottages, taking pictures and exploring, unraveling the history and its mysteries and breathing in the special atmosphere. A few birds have decided to make nests in the half fallen walls and a Northern Wheatear was getting angrier by the minute as we perused its nesting grounds.
Before the risk of attacks became inescapable we left the house and continued our quest. After passing this cluster of cottages the landscape changed and became more desert like, with grey and rugged lava fields on both sides. The landscpe that at first seemed monotone and simple became a marvelous mixture of hard and soft, big and small as well as grey and colorful when time was taken to experience it all. The green moss covering the stone was wonderfully soft and gave a nice contrast to the dark colors of the once melting hot lava. Big caves and smaller ones were hidden all over. Tiny flowers in bright shades of pink, purple and yellow came into view every other step and we took hundreds of photographs of these small wonders of nature along the way. Baldur happily jumped off cliffs and explored caves – enjoying a perfect playground carved by the sea and volcanoes.
Reaching the pit stop by Lónakot, the western-most farm at Hraunin, we had a snack. We had just kicked off our shoes and were dosing off when a pair of Northern Wheatear began flying around us, making it clear that we were interrupting their habitat. We decided to stay perfectly still and see if they would get comfortable enough to continue their everyday activities around us. After a short while they brought food in their mouths to little ones resting peacefully in a stone wall. Cameras were out and the amateur photographers tried to capture their moves with varying results.
The road back took us to the water´s edge giving us a great view of Reykjavik (with Hallgrimskirkja tall and proud in the center). We followed a path through lava, grass and sea carved stone – hoping to see seals or some divers as this is a popular spot among both species. No such creatures were spotted but ducklings trailing behind their mothers were a sight to enjoy.
This walk is highly recommended and the happy family (minus one adolescent that didn´t find the thought of an afternoon walk especially appealing) headed back home after three delightful and refreshing hours by the sea.