19/06/2013 – Road tripping the south

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Week 25 – A trip to Iceland, the third post detailing some southern waterfalls and beaches. Previous installments on getting your Zzz and muscle work done and the tourist bucket list. These posts are more like travel reports so if you feel like a wall of text is hitting you, scroll on and watch the photos instead.

So why did we go to Iceland? I requested a trip to, you know, go see stuff where legends (or sagas) were made. Something exciting and not ordinary to look at. So to that end we rented a car on this day and went on a little day trip. The people at the hotel reception recommended the southern parts of Iceland, which we followed up on.

We took Route 1 (it goes all around Iceland), drove out of Reykjavík and passed the Bláfjöll mountain range, following it down a somewhat steep decline to the green and more fertile lands of the south. Far off in the distance, the Atlantic Ocean could be seen shimmering under the sun, while more nearby the mountains loomed over the flat landscape. Waves and waves of Alaskan lupine filled up the grasses. I shot some photos through the window and occasionally got out to capture views along the way.

I was not entirely enarmoured with the southern landscape. The flatness of it with the coastal view looked a fair deal like the Netherlands and Denmark, flat land is rather uneventful to gaze at. I did like the stark contrast between the high mountains casting shadows (and the occasional rain shower due to air pressure changes) over the road on one side with the more sunny flat land on the other side.

We spotted the Vestmannaeyjar from far off when we were nearing Eyjafjallajökull (yes, the famous volcano stopping air traffic in 2010). We took a road towards the ferry to take a closer look at these islands. Sadly we did not have the time to take the ferry to see puffins there, it was only a stop for stretching the legs and getting a fresh nose.

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From here we had an excellent view at these islands with the wild Atlantic Ocean in the foreground, while standing on a black lava sand beach that stretched on and on.

Shortly after making our way back to Route 1, we came upon Seljalandsfoss and we were definitely not the only people sightseeing there, it was rather crowded on the parking lot. This waterfall has a fall of about 60 meters and you can walk all around the pool in which the water plummets. You will get wet from the sprays though!

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One waterfall was not enough, onwards to the next one! Skógafoss, about 60 meters free fall for the water as well. This waterfall can easily be seen from Route 1 and is also frequented by tourists. There is a long stairs you can climb to a view point just a bit higher than the waterfall. Beware of the amazing amount of flies here…

I had great hopes for seeing Jøkulsárlón and parts of Skaftafell National Park, but it became apparent we would not make it that far. We decided to press on for Vík í Mýrdal, the most southern settlement on Iceland and beneath the Mýrdalsjökull covering Katla.
Here we found a rather scenic black lava sand beach, basalt rock formations and the Reynisdrangar, two trolls dragging a three-masted ship when daylight broke, far out in the water when looking from the beach at Vík.

After a very late lunch at the local café, we made our way back to Reykjavík to make it back in time for our dinner reservation at Grillmarka∂urinn/The Grillmarket. Main (Rune) – Beef Tenderloin: steak with curled fries, corn and champignons. Main (me) – Grilled Redfish: redfish with crab salad and skewered vegetables. Dessert (both) – The Grillmarket Chocolate: chocolate sphere with mascarpone sabayone, coffee ice cream and topped with warm caramel.

After filled tummies, it was back to the hotel for a good night’s rest in preparation for another exciting day.

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