Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Haukadalur-Thingvellir challenge (Iceland)

Hello again, folks,

Time after time, we may all feel emotionally cracked; it is just part of our lives, and part of the everyday happenings that we need to deal with. That is how my journey to Iceland in 2014 began - during the summertime, I felt I was in an emotional whirlpool and I was becoming a grumpy old git. That is when one needs to act relatively quickly and a 'holiday' might be the only rational answer. I, however, hate commercial or average holidays or just trips in the regular, outdated sense. I am a sign hunter geographer and I need challenges in my life. So I planned myself one that suited me best.

The idea was to go away only for a few days and go somewhere that is isolated enough, away from people, away from the society, where I can be left on my own with my thoughts and my senses. Iceland seemed to be a good idea for this, and I was right. As a first thing though, I had to get to Haukadalur (which is about 60 miles/100 km from Reykjavík), the home of Geysír and other geothermal features which is one of the corners of the well-known and popular Golden Circle (Gullni hringurinn), so it was very easy to get on a bus from Reykjavík. From that spot then my challenge started: I carried out a 50-mile (about 80 km) walk sticking mostly to the unpaved roads marked F338 and 337, but I often tried to shortcut across deserted, rugged, mountainous, icy and well atmospheric Icelandic countryside. From Haukadalur (Hawk's valley in English), within a well limited 3 days, I had to get to Þingvellir (which lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian), where my bus was scheduled to take me back to Reykjavík. I had no much options other than successfully carrying out the challenge!

It was one of the hardest walks in my life without exaggerations. I love walking and I do a lot of walks, but I do not like rushing. I adore the slowest pace possible when I can just enjoy the beauty of nature, take photographs, and set the focus on myself. I see no point rushing things because that means you are rushing your life away. But Iceland made me sweat, it made me struggle, it made me cry because I had to put the speed up: first of all, I had to stick to a dirt road which was literally a dusty road: fine, volcanic sand - every time I took I step, my foot sank. Or, there were larger blocks of rocks that made the walk difficult. But out of all, secondly, the most significant struggle I had was to find water to drink! I assumed Iceland was an easy terrain to fill up my flask while on the way, but I was wrong. Since the road that I took was formed of eroded volcanic sand, hardly any surface water was detected. I was, however, lucky enough to spoon the water out of cracks and hollows of magmatic rocks. I also walked past a massive ice field (Langjökull) and I drank that white, sandy meltwater of Sandvatn. But in the end, even though I was hungry, thirsty, soaked, and with lots of blisters, I managed to get to Þingvellir and successfully completed the challenge. There were times when I literally cried on the way, but since this challenge was about strengthening my emotions, a little more sensitivity worked as the best medication. I returned home stronger and happy.

Sign-hunting-wise, I was lucky to find the Haukadalur sign, where my challenge actually started, but I did not see anything related to 
Þingvellir. However, when I was coming down on the road 337, I ended up in a small place called Laugarvatn where I also spent a night, and luckily this settlement had a sign!   

This was one of the most challenging and most memorable trips in my life and I look forward to doing similar things in the future. Look at my photos and tell me what you think!
~ Laszlo #thesignhunters

Follow us on Twitter


~ ~ ~ ~ ~









































© All photos were taken by Laszlo Bokor (2014). The Sign Hunters all rights reserved.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Labels

the sign hunters laszlo bokor settlement signs photography city limit sign hunting england travel collect europe urban photography blog travelblogger architecture geography travel blogger shropshire traveller georgia shrewsbury signage winter caucasia forzen graffiti places united kingdom walking bristol capital city city colours earth memories wales balkan bath caucasus mountains eurasia european union frost frozen trees hobby hordaland hungary journeys lithuania mountains northern europe norway outdoors scandinavia somerset staffordshire summer svaneti the baltics unesco world heritage site video project videography vlog 1981 riots aberystwyth antanas zmuidzinavicius asia atcham attingham park austria autumn avon baltic arts baltic region basin bass bergen bishop's castle black metal brewery brewing british winter bulgaria burton-upon-trent burzum cavern quarter chalaati glacier churchyard civitas fidelissima communism conwy conwy bay conwy castle dadiani palace deganwy details devil ethnographic museum fantoft stave church forthlin road gelati gelati monastery geysir golden circle great britain haukadalur hereford hereford cathedral herefordshire iceland imereti james corden kartlis deda kaunas kraków kutaisi kőszeg latvia laugarvatn liverpool ljubljana ludlow ludlow castle manchester manchester cathedral market drayton market town marston's mestia molson coors monastic complex mtatsminda park national trust newcastle newcastle-upon-tyne north america north east england north wales odda orthodox pale ale pattingham paul mccartney penny lane periphery pistyll rhaeadr poland poverty riga river conwy river trent rotherham rural country samargelo seaside slovenia smallest house in great britain snow sofia sopron south yorkshire soviet art spring stapenhill tbilisi the beatles the devil's museum titanic toxteth trolltunga tyne and wear uk varg vikernes village vilnius waterfall western hungary winshill wolverhampton yugoslavia zugdidi