The Land of Fire and Ice
Once we finished the Golden Circle Tour we drove towards Vik (southern Iceland). We stayed at Welcome Guesthouse Edinborg. It was quite nice (we even had our own bathroom!) and it was easy to find. The next morning we drove to Reynisfjara with enormous basalt stacks. Absolutely beautiful. You have to be careful as they have “sneaker waves” (giant unexpected waves) that can pull you in when your back is turned taking pictures of the rocks.
We drove over to Vik (small village) but there wasn’t much to see so we turned around and went to Skogafoss (waterfall near our hotel). Just to quickly mention here…there are so many stops along the way while you are driving. There is a waterfall roughly every 2km that is worth checking out or some kind of hiking trail with an amazing panoramic view. When we got to Skogafoss we took a few pictures then headed up 370 steps to the top. There’s a trail at the top that gets thinner and thinner as you walk along it and people start to turn around once they are off the pavement which is going to be your biggest regret. We stayed on the trail for roughly 4kms and saw the most beautiful waterfalls and scenery I have and will probably ever see. We were so disappointed that we didn’t know about the trail prior to planning our trip as it was the most magnificent thing we have ever experienced. It’s a total of 25km’s and you hike right up to the glacier. I think one day we’ll plan to go there just for 3 days, camp, and do that trail as its own trip… that’s how unbelievable it was.
When we got back that evening we went to a “hot spring” a few km’s down the road from where we were staying. Based on my research it looked really cool. It was an abandoned geothermal pool called Seljavellir that was heated by a local volcano. The reviews I read were really great and the pictures made it look unique and tranquil. NOT. We got there and there was so much litter everywhere and mostly just people drinking and smoking (to each his own) but we put our bathing suits on anyhow. Jake got in and kind of just looked at me funny and said…”you’re going to be cold.” I didn’t even make it up to my thigh and I had to get out. It was absolutely freezing. Only the one corner that was being directly fed by the pipe that carried the hot water down was luke warm. Overall not a place I would recommend.
The next day we drove to Svinafellsjokull and did a glacier hike. A little bit more touristy than we prefer but you don’t get a whole lot of options with glaciers as they are extremely dangerous. You learn a lot about the history of Iceland in regards to volcanos and glaciers and how it all forms which is extremely interesting. The tour was a bit pricey but it’s one of those things that you can’t not do if you go there.
Afterwards we headed to (one of my favourite places ever) Diamond Beach, and on the other side of the road (where the “diamonds” come from) is Jokulsarlon. You can do tours through the lagoon to see the icebergs up close but why do that when you can swim to them? 😉
This night was our first night seeing the AURORA BOREALIS!!! Kind of…we saw the most vivid stars and could see some movement in the sky. Jake really wanted me to take pictures of the stars but I didn’t know how to. We sat in the room for a bit googling things and finally I figured it out. We were just messing about with the camera until we looked at the footage and could see the northern lights so well. Unfortunately you could only see them faintly with the human eye. It’s okay…we still had a few more nights to go.
TO BE CONTINUED…