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Iceland - Day 3 : Porsmork and Emstrur

At 5 in the morning my alarm went off as planned. I started packing everything but realized I hadn't changed my phone to Icelandic time, so had woken up two hours too early. I slept for 2 hours more and headed to the bus station. Along the way I passed the Hallgrímskirkja, a large church in Reykjavik.

Hallgrímskirkja

The Hallgrímskirkja
 

The bus lines were confusing as each bus was running multiple bus lines. We first drove through some alleys and villages. Then the driver informed me I needed to transfer. We stopped at a nice waterfall before going off-road.

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icelandic waterfall

The bus drove through a large lava-field from the volcanic eruption in 2010. We drove straight through rivers and stopped at a nice view over a glacier.

icelandic landscape
icelandic landscape
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There turned out to be 3 stops named Porsmork and I had no idea which was the right one. I talked to the guide in the first mountain hut, he explained how the other two stops were further north and advised me to start walking here. I would probably reach the second hut before dark. I realized that 'before dark' didn't mean much here as the sun doesn't set at all. I was glad I had brought hiking poles. The path went up and down very steeply and I felt top heavy due to my backpack. After a few kilometers I left the forest and arrived at the first challenge, there was a river to cross.

icelandic landscape
wading a river in iceland

Two girls just came out off the water and confirmed it was freezing. That wasn't really surprising as the water had just run out of a glacier. I tied my shoes together and hung then around my neck. Then I rolled up my trousers and started walking in the river. It was ridiculously cold, especially because it was flowing fast. I needed my hiking poles to keep balanced. When I reached the opposite bank I could hardly feel my legs anymore, but as soon as I got out of the water the cold disappeared. I noticed I had cut my feet but hadn't felt anything. I had considered bringing slippers but had decided to leave them at home, I would only wear them for maybe 30 minutes during the entire 3 week hike.

 

After the crossing I reached open plains surrounded by mountains which were really pretty. Every 20 minutes or so I would meet someone,  and everyone was very friendly. After taking a break to drink the road became more deserted, likely because most people were walking only from bus stop to bus stop.

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icelandic landscape

I was pretty tired, but it would take another 1,5 hours to reach the next campsite. I climbed over a mountain and arrived at a bridge. Shortly after the road stopped and I needed to climb holding a rope.

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The bridge
 

I estimated I had already walked 15 km by nhen, plus the 5 to the bus stop. That was a lot on my first day, carrying 24 kg of luggage, but now I at least knew what that was like. I had bruises on my hips from my backpack's hip belt and a sore back, but not as bad as I had expected. After another climb I saw the mountain hut in the distance.

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The mountain hut
 

The girl working there told me I could pitch my tent anywhere and pay when I wanted. I camped along a river so I had fresh water at hand. I decided to have a good meal of macaroni with ham and cheese. It tasted better than I expected and was pretty savory. It always feels great to have a good, warm meal after a long day of cycling or hiking. It had been warm today, about 20 degrees, but quickly cooled down at night.

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The expedition meal 'macaroni with ham and cheese'
 

After brushing my teeth I noticed I had no cell phone connection anymore. I worked on this story a bit before going to bed, tomorrow will be another tough day.

Distance walked: 20 km