Akranes
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 22 Jul 2021

Akranes

  • Aboard the National Geographic Explorer
  • Arctic

Yesterday evening we docked in a fishing town called Akranes, across the bay from Reykjavík. An early start allowed us time to bask in the hot—and cold—pools at the Krauma spa, which was not just nice, but offered a view to the most powerful hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver.

 

Enroute to our destination in the Icelandic highlands, we stopped for lunch and were treated to a surprise concert by the wonderful local musicians Hafdís Huld and Alisdair Wright. Close by, the Hvítá River surged through a narrow gully in a small, but impressive waterfall called Barnafoss. A stone’s throw away were the Hraunfossar waterfalls, where streams of freshwater sprang forth out of the rock wall of the riverbed and tumbling into the white river below. This briefly created an aquamarine-colored strand in the glacial meltwater before disappearing forever into the mainstream.

 

We drove on, leaving the main road for a gravel road that wound through increasingly barren landscape. At last, we reached the second largest glacier in Iceland, Langjökull. We drove up the glacier in a monster truck and walked down a tunnel dug into the glacier. In the ice, we saw layers of ash from volcanic eruptions and air bubbles trapped in the ice decades ago. We tiptoed on our stylish crampons between puddles of this summer’s melting of last winter’s snow, which poured down like rain inside the tunnel.

 

Walking inside a glacier was such a rare opportunity, such an amazing adventure. It also reinforced the message of our knowledgeable glacier guide: We must join hands in caring for the environment. After a long day, we returned to ship for our captain’s cocktail party and then a gourmet dinner. Who could ask for more?

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