Day 12: Saturday 25 August 2012

Start: 2357km
End: 2797km
Distance travelled: 440km (278 miles)

And so it comes to the final stretch of our road trip adventure. We breakfast again; cereal followed by pancakes and jam – today rhubarb and blueberry. Then we pack our bags, load up the jeep and head off back down the ring road, west for the last time.

First stop is the little grass-roofed church at Hóf with the really nobbly churchyard – that is after a brief, final look at Jókulsarlon. Then on to Klaustr where there are supposed to be more pseudo craters and a basalt pavement, but there is nothing much in evidence.

We head on on the long straight road across lava fields towards Vík. It’s weird but, aside from our trips and excursions for this entire journey we’ve had the country on the right side of the car and the sea on the left. We listen to Sígur-Ros and Múm on the road – it seems somewhat appropriate somehow for the landscape and the gloom. The seeds of an idea and the beginnings of a story for a – not sequel – but a follow-up to The End Of All Worlds begins to form itself in my mind. Where the first was all about the environment, this new story will be more about the people.

Vík, when we arrive is just the same as ever – grey, wet, and dreary. We fill up on petrol and lunch on hot dogs from the filling station. Then we continue on our way and finally leave the flat plains of the south coast for more rolling pastures. Between MýrdalsjÖkull and EyjafjallajÖkull we reach Skogafoss – the last of the impressive waterfalls. It’s one of those that you feel you want to walk round behind of to reach a secret cave. Mythology has it that there is a treasure hidden behind but that the last person to see it only got one of the latches from it’s trunk before it disappeared, never to be seen again. The latch now adorns the church at Skogar.

From EyjafjallajÖkull the road gets progressively busier and the landscape more developed. By the time we reach the town of Selfoss we are properly getting back to a
more urban way of life.

By half past three Emma navigates me back through the Reykjavik subhurbs and to Janet and Adi’s house and to journey’s end. A cup of tea and a catch up with Janet before Adi takes us down to Cheap Jeep to return the old girl. We feel a bit sad, but won’t miss having to fill her up with petrol. Registration OV 151, 10 or 12 years old, a 2.3 litre engine, she drank petrol for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She might have had characterful doorlocks and a dodgy handbrake, but 8 days she was our gas guzzler.

Day 13: Berrying and Family Gatherings…