N1, just what the hell have you done with Staðarskáli?

18 October 2010

Driving north from Reykjavík, past the black lava rocks around Bifröst and then over the rocky desert that is the pass of Holtavörðuheiði, the thought of the venerable truckstops at Brú and Staðarskáli were always a comfort, especially on a cold day with the wind blowing tortured snake tails of driven snow across the road.
These days the road that used to split at Brú to take you either west along the Strands or north into Húnavatnssýsla and beyond has been re-routed. It still takes you past the farm at Melar where Gréttir the Strong grew up a thousand years ago, but now the road splits in two further along. Brú has been bulldozed long ago and the venerable old truckstop at Staðarskáli has been left high and dry, far above the new road.
The old Staðarskáli had character and presence, not to mention real meat-and-spuds food as well as the ubiquitous burgers and chips. What have N1 replaced it with? It’s a plastic and tin replica of what someone in an office decided a truckstop should look like. But is it any better? Hell, no. It’s shiny, ugly and soulless, and there’s bugger all about it that’s an improvement on what it replaces.
So, travelling north, these days I’ll drive a little further and take a break at Viðigerði. Going south, wait for Bifröst or Baulan on the other side of the pass instead. It’s not that much further, and it helps take a stand against the advance of terminal blandness.

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