26 Jun 2015

Westfjords, Iceland by adamandheather

8/9

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It doesn't take long to become attached to a place. The ruggedness and beauty of Hornstrandir are calming and invigorating in equal parts, and we're reluctant to hop onto the ferry back to Ísafjörður and civilization.

For a week, Hornstrandir felt like a small community. You talk to everyone you encounter, sharing information about the trails and discussing other places you've traveled. The energy of summer and adventure is in the air.

On our ferry home we meet a group of French backpackers who detoured around the pass at Skálarkambur. Their detour included a timed crossing under a seaside cliff, which involved finding and following a submerged sandbar and wading in seawater up to their hips for over 5 minutes. We were glad to have better information on the pass from our Swiss friend and that we trusted ourselves enough to give it a shot.

As we approach Ísafjörður, the giant cruise ship looms over the city, and a small navy of glass-enclosed boats is shuttling passengers to the harbor. Mobs of people swarm the harbor and downtown area.

Solitude must frequently be sought, and sometimes it must be earned with one's feet.

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Ísafjörður is a beautiful village, and the largest in the Westfjords. It regularly hosts cruise ships and also appears to be a popular destination for motorcycle riders, as Harleys and Goldwings cruise by every now and then.

This afternoon is about recovery from our week backpacking in Hornstrandir. Minutes after we check into our apartment, the packs open up and gear is strewn everywhere. Once the drying racks fill up with clean laundry, long and luxurious showers are the next point of business. The evening is spent at coffee shops and restaurants, getting back in touch with the world and filling our bellies with local seafood. Bedtime comes early.

Tomorrow, we'll resume our road trip.