Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Victims

Hveravellir 
 
It's off to Iceland for a two part Sascha special. No less than seven hot springs are up for evaluation. 

Starting off in the southwest of Iceland, closer to Iceland's main port of entry and capital Reykjavik. Note that these Icelandic hot pots are also some of the best visited due to ease of access from Reykjavik. Thus more people to share the soaks with ...

In the evaluations Sascha often refers to the Icelandic soaking bible by Jon Snaeland (Thermal Pools in Iceland) a trusty companion to your Iceland travails. 
Note that internet knowledge is getting ever better and you may well be better off seeking advice here (or I mean on internet in general, f.i. Hotpot Iceland), but heed, that once in Iceland's backcountry, there's little mobile reception, so the book will prove to be of more value.

Over to Sascha, who starts off with his harsh opinion on the hot spring by the name of Klambragil, which is very often (if not more often) referred to as Reykjadalur; it was previously highlighted on this blog two years ago.

  • Klambragil 
Klambragil was definitively a great place in the past, but is it still the case today?

Klambragil is more a river than a hot spring with different temperatures. 

To get here, head first to the town of Hveragerdi, drive through the town and park your car at a big parking place (free of payment). In the town, there are gas stations, a bakery, a supermarket and a tourist office that seems to explain 500 times each day the way to the hot river. Then follow the masses of tourists (that are often coming here by buses from Reykjavik) on a hiking path for about 40 minutes to reach the place where the river is accessible and has the right temperature (around 35°C-45°C depending on the place). There are changing facilities and a wooden path. 

Klambragil is a good example, which shows that Iceland is becoming more and more a victim of its own success. 


My evaluation for Klambragil: 3 stars (of 5).

Rush
Let's continue as Sascha has another couple of hot pots, coming up with Hrunalaug first, again prior blogged here. 
  • Hrunalaug
Before Jon Snaeland published Hrunalaug in his book (according to locals, he forgot to inform the landowner), the hot spring was unknown for most of the people and in particular for tourists. This changed completely, so better get there early in the morning when you want to stay alone. 
Today, the spring is part of tour operators and the landowner requests a donation that helps to keep the place clean. Not sure, if many people put money in his box, in any case the place was no littering when I visited the hot spring. Overnight camping strictly forbidden. 

To get here, head to [the village of] Fludir and then drive to Hruni where the hot spring is indicated. Hrunalaug has two pools, the smaller one at the grass covered hut is colder, around 35°C but with a better view [see photo below] than the bigger one which is around 38°C. In former times, the pools were used to wash the sheep, today it is a good place to start or finish the Iceland trip because it is not too far from Reykjavik. 


My evaluation: 4 stars.
  • Hveravellir 
This hot spring is quite popular because it is situated close to road F35 that crosses the island over the highlands and is a common stop for tourist buses. A camping site and a lodge with a restaurant are nearby. 

Nevertheless and apart from the fact that the hot springs can be overcrowded, it is nice to soak inside because the pool is quite deep and the temperature varies from 30°C to 44°C. On one side of the pool, 80°C hot water flows in and it is advised to mix the water to get the right temperature. Guests of the lodge are permitted to use the changing rooms, all other tourists have to change their clothes outside or have to pay 500 ISK, around 3,50 EUR. 

About one hour drive to the south is the Kerlingafjöll hot spring that looks interesting on pictures, but has only a temperature of around 32°C. As it was snowing I was not really in the mood to try it out.

 
My evaluation for Hveravellir: 3 stars. 

Next week: part 2 of Sascha's Icelandic soaking saga.

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