Trekking Iceland – Around Hesteyri – Hornstrandir

Yesterday while hiking from Hlöðuvík to Hesteyri, I managed to convince myself to change my plan for the 3rd time and just stay in Hesteyri and do day hikes for my last 3 days in Hornstrandir.  This was to take the weight off my lateral femoral cutaneous nerve to see whether that would help with the numbness I was feeling in my outer left thigh (at this point, I hadn’t been able to consult Dr. Google to determine that this was a condition known as Meralgia Paresthetica and that it will likely take months to rectify). 

And even though it was the sensible and obvious thing to do, particularly as I still have 4 months of trekking ahead of me, it took the majority of the hike to convince my ego to let it go!  I’m a huge fan of Ryan Holiday, and clearly I need to re-read his book “Ego is the Enemy” for the third time! It’s a great book – read it if you haven’t already.

It turned out that hanging out in Hesteyri was a great idea for another reason as well … the weather was crap! 

So what did I get up to?

Listening to Music

I’m very careful with battery management and so still had heaps of charge on my phone.  I spent many hours curled up under my sleeping quilt listening to my favourite band in all the world – Nanook from Greenland (of course 🙂 )

Listenting to music in my tent
Rugged up and listening to Greenlandic music

Reading Books

I used to use my travels to catch up on reading books.  I would churn through them like there was no tomorrow, and it was how I spent every spare second on vacation. 

Then I started this blog…   

Given I didn’t have my computer with me, it was a great opportunity to break out the Kindle (one of my favourite inventions ever) and read “The Greenland Trilogy“, three action-packed fiction books set in Greenland by author Christoffer Peterson.

Reading my kindle in my tent

I’d been wanting to read these for a while, and certainly before I headed back to Greenland. So perfect timing, as I arrive in Kulusuk (East Greenland) next Monday!  They are a fun read and I recommend them for a bit of light entertainment set in a really cool place 🙂

Eating

One of the things that Hesteyri is famous for is the Cafe at the old Doctor’s House that operates during the Summer months. 

The old doctors house in Hesteryi is the heart of the village - Hornstrandir - Iceland
The Old Doctor’s House in Hesteyri is the heart of the village

After eating trekking food for 5 days, I was super-keen to have a proper home-cooked meal, and so headed there for dinner on my first night.  Honey Rye Bread, Icelandic Lamb Soup, and Rhubarb Crumble … soooooo good!  In fact, I ended up having 2 enormous bowls of the soup, and I most definitely would have had two portions of dessert and eaten a whole loaf of the bread, if there had been the opportunity!

The chimney of the old whaling station at Sekkeyri  is visible from near Hesteyri - Hornstrandir - Iceland
Amazing dinner!

The next day, after some strenuous reading in my tent, I wandered over during a break in the rain to sample the Cafe’s famous Icelandic pancakes.  Light and fluffy and full of sugar … just what you need on a grey, wet day!

Icelandic pancakes t
Icelandic pancakes at the Old Doctor’s House cafe – Hesteyri

And I might have also returned for more of the tart-but-oh-so-sweet Rhubarb Crumble (this time with custard) just before catching the boat back to Ísafjörður😉

Rhubarb Crumble and journaling at the Old Doctor's House cafe - Hesteyri
How I spent my last few hours on Hornstrandir – eating Rhubarb Crumble and journaling

Thank you Michael Wolf for the awesome food!

Chatting

Those who have met me during the past 15 years have a hard time believing that I used to be very shy.  I can talk to anyone and (like the donkey in Shrek) it’s often getting me to shut up that’s a problem. 

So I spent a lot of time at the Cafe chatting with Matt Taylor – a fellow Aussie who was helping out there for 6 weeks on a break from his studies in Neuroscience (as you do), and Hrólfur Vagnsson who was managing the place for the summer.  Thanks for the great conversation guys!   It’s a pity we didn’t have more time!

Exploring the village of Hesteyri

After 2 days of rain, the weather improved for my last day in Hesteyri and I finally ventured beyond my tent and the cafe 😀

I went for a bit of a wander around the town, which has been abandoned since 1952 but is now used by the original families for summer vacations. 

Some of the buildings of Hesteyri - Hornstrandir - Iceland
Some of the buildings of Hesteyri

It would have been great to learn more about the history of this isolated place, and I did half think about sneaking along on one of the guided tours but resisted the temptation.

Hike to the old Whaling Station at Sekkeyri

I saw the remains of the chimney as I hiked down into Hesteyri from Hlöðuvík the other day, and it is also visible from Hesteyri itself. 

The chimney of the old whaling station at Sekkeyri  is visible from near Hesteyri - Hornstrandir - Iceland
The chimney of the old whaling station at Sekkeyri

Turns out it is a very flat, ~3km hike out to the old whaling station at Sekkeyri along the edge of the inlet.  I even managed to see seals along the way! Almost every rock had one flopped upon it.

Seals resting on the rocks near the trail to the old whaling station at Sekkeyri near Hesteyri - Hornstrandir - Iceland
Hello!

I spent quite a lot of time exploring and wandering around the ruins of the whaling station, but again, it would have been great to have a guided tour to know exactly what I was looking at.  I had to turn to my imagination instead and make up my own stories 🙂

The old whaling station at Sekkeyri near Hesteyri - Hornstrandir - Iceland
The old whaling station at Sekkeyri

Really nice for the “Ye Olde” sailing boat to visit at the same time … more fuel for my imaginings of the whalers actually using the station back in the day.

Sailing boat visiting the old whaling station at Sekkeyri near Hesteyri - Hornstrandir - Iceland

Read more about my solo trek in Hornstrandir

If this post has piqued your curiosity, read about the rest of my adventure in Hornstrandir:

Alternatively, check out my other posts about hiking and trekking in Iceland and around the world.