As we eat breakfast, we watch the morning fog clear to a sunny day. The beautiful little village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur has a lot to offer besides hotel lodging. It is part of the Vatnajökull National Park. A hike to a waterfall and lake on top of a cliff is near here. We learn about this hike when we stop at the tourist information center on the way out of town. We could have done it at 10 PM last night because it was light all night long! We have a long drive today so we have to skip…..until next time.
Along the roadside as we drive along Route 1, the Ring Road, we see many waterfalls and beautiful green land with sheep grazing along side huge cliffs. The ocean is in the distance and we catch a glimpse now and then. As the sun comes out, we are even able to see the famous glacier/volcano from 2010 – Eyjafjallajokull.
Further down the road we stop at a place called Dverghamrar. A place where one of the sagas about a voice singing from the stone from a place the elves or dwarves were thought to live. An very interesting rock formation in the middle of a field. The rocks all fit nicely together.
Then we enter the Lava fields that then turn into sand/silt the remains from a large volcanic eruption in 1783 that last until 1784. It caused death to over 10,000 people in Iceland and nearly a million in Europe because the volcanic smoke and ash caused crops to fail and animals to die resulting in famine. The area looks beautiful now with rock structures and the beautiful mountain glaciers. Picture-perfect!
Continuing along the road, it narrows and is being worked on. At one point we must stop as a farmer gets his sheep across the road – reminds us of Scotland.
We decide to drive to Fjallsarlon and Iceberg Lagoon – smaller than the larger one down the road but equally as spectacular.
As we then return West on the Ring Road, we stop at Vatnajökull National Park to take a short (1 hour) hike to the Svartifoss waterfall. It’s an easy trail with the path covered in most places with this webbing material that makes it much easier to climb up and down the trail. And the trail is steep in some places with no switch-backs like our national park trails making it a workout. The waterfall is huge and pretty enough to see from a viewing area. Back down the trail there is a food truck and a cafe available.
Our last stop is Fjaorarglijufur. A deep canyon, magnificent and massive carved by a river tributary to the Skafta river. In the distance from the trail up to see the canyon, you can a wonderful panoramic view of the lava fields, glacier river and sandy/silt area running to the ocean. We wonder what beautiful geology does Iceland not have?
2-1/2 hour drive to Hotel Ranga in Hella. We arrive at 7 PM – yep, the sun is still up. The hotel looks like a US National Park lodge. Inside is cozy and there are hot tubs outside with a view of a winding river. Plus, the rooms have black out curtains so we won’t need our eyeshades.
The restaurant is 5 star with delightful choices. As starters, Steve samples reindeer carpaccio and I have the Puffin.
What an outstanding lodge and restaurant – definitely want to come back!
The lobby has a polar bear and they do not exist on Iceland. If they make it to Iceland from Greenland on an iceberg, they are killed because the Icelanders do not need a predator to their sheep.