Time to head out in to the countryside. We pick up our rental car in Reykjavik, load up and drive off on Route 1. Traffic is not that busy at all.
The weather is foggy today and misty, not unusual for this time of year. Temperature is going up to 55 sometime later.
As the country–side opens up, we are driving through a geothermal area. Very barren, except for the steam coming out of the ground. We drive past the geothermal power plant, we notice the pipeline leaving the plant is in a zig-zag formation. This is done to keep the pipe from damage due to expansion and pressure from the heat and from earthquakes. Oh yeah, forgot about earthquakes, was thinking more about volcanoes that erupt.
Next we see a person on horseback riding along side of the road. The horses here are small and stocky. I don’t know much more than that except the riders ride them very stiffly.
Our first stop is the Selajalandsfoss. Foss means waterfall and this one is beautiful. There is a trail behind it that you can walk – if you want to get soaked. No thanks. Taking lots of pictures we enjoy the beauty of the waterfall and surrounding landscape. Small streams with buttercups blooming along the edges.
Further along the path is another waterfall – Gljufrabui – which is mostly visible except it is through a crevice. Again, some people are bold enough to walk through the stream into the crevice to get a better view. Nope, not us. Small caves are also located in the sides of the cliffs. I really think this may be where the elves or trolls live, or possibly Hobbits.
Camping appears to be another way to explore Iceland. The campground is not crowded.
Back on Route 1 and not too far down the road is another spectacular waterfall – Skogafoss. Here you can climb 430 steps (yep, I counted them) to the top. Then you are able to connect to a hiking trail and continue up the mountainside and see another waterfall and continue on up – which we did not do. Sadly, not enough time.
This waterfall is on the river of Skoga and fed by two glaciers – Eyjafjallajokul and Myrdalsjokull. E glacier is the volcano that blew up in 2010. The other one is huge and we get a glimpse of it later in the day when the sun finally comes out. Unfortunately, while we are at the waterfalls, no visibility of the mountains.
In this same area is a Folk Museum – Byggdasafn. Very interesting museum and definitely worth the stop. There is a lot of historical items in the main building, a cafeteria and technology museum (old cars, etc.) and an outside museum with old turf-built farm houses and buildings. Again, Hobbits come to mind or Oklahoma sod houses.
Besides farming and sheep herding, fishing was the main subsistence in Iceland. Lots of fishing history and wooden carved items along with items made from bones.
As we leave and return to the main road, the weather continues to be gloomy. The road is nearing the coastline and we are excited to see the ocean soon. First we stop at Solheimajokull – jokull means glacier. Here you can hire guides to go and walk on the glacier. Also, there is a trail that takes you right up to the glacier. We follow the trail and see this huge glacier, marred with dirt and leaving drifting chunks of ice from a calving.
There is a sign that warns not to go too close to the glacier as it could calve anytime. That’s enough for us and we have no desire to walk on a glacier. This one looks a lot like those we have seen in Alaska.
Back in the car, we take the turn off to Dyrholahverfi. And guess what, a nice new bathroom building in which you must pay 2 krona to use. Don’t worry, they take credit cards.
Climbing the trail that leads to the promontory, a great view of the stones in the sea, birds nesting along the cliffs and the black sand beach. There are a couple of cement structures that appear to have been for a gondola type device to bring people (maybe) to see the birds nesting or down to the beach. Unknown, as there are no signs with information.
Next stop is the town of Vik to take a few photos. This is the most southern town of Iceland. There is lupine flowers blooming along the roadsides and we are able to get a nice picture with a small church up on a hillside in the distance.
As we leave Vik, the sun is coming out and we are able to see a huge mountain with a glacier. It is actually Myrdalsjokull, the one that fed the waterfalls that we saw earlier. It is huge and beautiful in the distance.
We next cross the largest lava field in the world….not too exciting and we are anxious to get to our hotel in Klaustur. Check-in and relax with dinner – its still light at 10 PM when we return to our rooms. And basically it never gets dark so sleeping has been a challenge.