I will fondly remember the drives in East Iceland from Jökulsárlón to Höfn, Höfn to Djúpivogur, and the next day, Djúpivogur to Egilsstaðir. We reached a part of Iceland past the tour buses, a new Iceland if you will. The scenery continues to transfix and amaze, the roads wind even longer - looping around mountains and sprawling across fjords. We detoured off the main road to Höfn, it's a large town by Iceland standards and I was glad to have taken the short drive to check it out and refuel.
On the way to Djúpivogur we found a safe pull off and spent time with the Icelandic Ponies. They are a gentle spirit and really warmed to our presence. A couple cars stopped for brief photo shoots but otherwise it was just us and 11 horses. Back on the road as darkness fell, I drove nervously around the winding fjord roads with their blind curves and steep inclines and declines. We could see Djúpivogur lit up in the distance at times but looping around each point it seemed to take forever to get there!
We stayed at Hotel Framtid which offers warm and cozy, chic meets rustic cabin accommodations. We arrived around 8:15 pm - our latest arrival to any town on the trip, and were told the restaurant was only open till 8:30 so to put our bags away and come right down for dinner! (This worked out well as there was definitely nowhere else in town to eat.) Afterwards, we bundled up and headed Northern Lights hunting. We were treated to a spectacular show. My photos are just meh though so I'm leaving that as an undocumented, highly cherished bucket list check. They were green and purple, shooting beacons, swaying artfully, unlike anything you can imagine. I was shrieking and jumping up and down when they came out in full force. Unreal.
It was nice to see the charming postcard village of Djúpivogur in the daylight as the fog rose off the glossy harbor. I was looking forward to visiting Langabúð (that big red barn on the harbor) for breakfast but they were already closed for the winter season. Instead we stopped at the towns grocery store for provisions and off we went.
Shortly after leaving Djúpivogur you reach the gravel section of Ring Road. Buckle in for a bumpy but fun ride through narrow passes, around sharp hairpins and blind summits. It is only open in spring, summer and autumn, for good reason. We remarked this is definitely not a road we'd want to be driving in the dark, the snow or without 4WD.
We reached the next big town of Egilsstaðir and drove around, hopped out at the cool looking church. Across the bridge in Fellabær right next to the Olis gas station we discovered the cutest little Bakari! We purchased delicious ham and cheese croissants and fresh donuts for the long road ahead to Mývatn.