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Ishestar Special: Arnarvatnsheiđi - 16.07. - 27.07.2011

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Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Seven days of riding in the blazing sun and just two days cloudy weather. This is rare in Iceland, but gave us a fantastic tour to the highlands and the heather Arnarvatn led by Haukur Gardarsson.

Sixteen riders aged 20 to 71 years with about 80 horses, accompanied by Susi from Switzerland, Heidi from Finland, Veronika from Austria and Ottar from Iceland, who drove the herd and managed the riders, led Haukur from Hvammur into the highlands through the "Eagle lake heather" and the lake Hóp and Húnavatn back to Hvammur. In addition they supported the first two days a herd of young horses into the highlands, where they were left to their own over the summer.

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First Day: Saturday, 16/07: Arrival in Iceland - Transfer to hotel in Reykjavík.

Arrival of the riders. Transfer from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik Fosshotel Barón. Welcome dinner at the restaurant Laekjarbrekka at 19:00. Getting to know the other riders. Information about the tour.
Most participants had already been on several Íshestar tours. Karin was leading with 130 days of riding. Two riders came for the first time to ride in Iceland.
Among the riders were Mary from England, Gabi from Austria, Anika and Mia from Greenland, Camilla, Grethe and Lisbeth from Denmark and from Germany were Alexandra, Anke B., Anke K., Christina, Friedhelm, Lissy, Regine and Werner.

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Second Day: Sunday, 07/17: Reykjavík - Hvammur - Saurbćr.

Bus transfer from Reykjavík to Hvammur, where we met horses and guides. After an excellent lunch, and after having gathered up the horses, the ride through the valley Vatnsdalur began. We rode past the historical farm Hof and crossed the river Vatnsdalsá on our way to the farm Saurbćr. Here the horses spent the night and we returned to Hvammur Farm, where we stayed. A warm outdoor tub waiting for us. (20 km)

⇒ 58 Bilder

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Third Day: Monday, 08/18: Saurbćr - Grímstunguheiđi - Öldumóđuskáli.

We ascended towards the highland plateau Grímstunguheiđi and drove the horses into their summer pastures. The highland opened up for us and we saw mighty Álkugil gorge with picturesque waterfalls tumbling down over rock formations. We stayed overnight in a mountain cabin. (35 km)

⇒ 60 Bilder

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4th Day: Tuesday, 07/19: Álkuskáli - Fellaskáli.

Further into the mountains we sat course for the spacious Fellaskáli Cabin owned by the farmers of Víđidalur Valley. This cabin is situated on the edge of the Arnarvatnsheiđi heath. We could see how the vegetation is changing into lush green colors, created by rich soil and water from many lakes. (35 km)

⇒ 55 Bilder

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5th Day: Wednesday, July 20: Fellaskáli – Arnarvatn

Now it is time to ride to the “heart” of Arnarvatnsheiđi, the lakes Arnarvatn and Réttarvatn. A truly fascinating place of silence and tranquility we will never forget. Fertile vegetation and rich birdlife are the highlights of this area. We stay for two nights in a cabin at the lake. (35 km)

⇒ 60 Bilder

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6th Day: Thursday, July 21: Arnarvatn – Álftakrókar – Arnarvatn

We spend the day exploring this beautiful area and have lunch at Álftakrókar Cabin before we return to Arnarvatn for another overnight stay. (30 km)

⇒ 30 Bilder

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7th Day: Friday, July 22: Arnarvatn – Miđfjörđur

This is a long day and at times rugged when we descend from the mountains into Miđfjörđur fjord. Our horses stay behind at Bjargshóll Farm and we drive to Hvammur Farm, beautifully located in Vatnsdalur Valley. Accommodation for the next two nights is at the farm and we can enjoy the hot tub on site. (45 km)

⇒ 24 Bilder

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8th Day: Saturday, July 23: Bjargshóll – Dćli Holiday Farm

We reunite with our horses at Bjargshóll Farm, where we start this day’s ride through valleys Fitjárdalur and Víđidalur, both known for salmon fishing. We cross the river Víđidalsá and end at Dćli Farm where we spend the night. (30 km)

⇒ 58 Bilder

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9th Day: Sunday, July 24: Dćli – Lake Hóp – Thingeyrar Farm

We leave Dćli and continue to historic Thingeyrar Farm. A challenging day when we cross Lake Hóp, Iceland’s fifth biggest lake. You can feel the excitement of the horses as they reach the open plain. We spend next two nights at Hvammur Farm. (45 km)

⇒ 52 Bilder

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10th Day: Monday, July 25: Thingeyrar – Hvammur

We start the day with a visit to historic Thingeyrar Church and hear about the history of the place. This is our last day of riding and we bring the horses back to Hvammur Farm. We cross Lake Húnavatn on a safe trail in the water. We ride on the eastern side of Vatnsdalur valley, past Hvammsfoss waterfall, surrounded by impressive basalt columns. Celebrate the successful return in the evening with a great barbeque feast in the barn – "Icelandic style". (25 km)

⇒ 60 Bilder

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11th Day: Tuesday, July 26: Hvammur – Reykjavík

Return to Reykjavík by bus and accommodation at a hotel. Arrival at approx. 14:00 and rest of day at leisure.

⇒ 12 Bilder

12th Day: Wednesday, July 27: Reykjavík – Keflavik

Transfer by bus to Keflavík Airport in time for the flight back home.