A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: arodavie

November 24

I got up during the night but still no northern lights :( I guess we will have to go to Finland or Norway next and try! We got away relatively early and there was actually some frost and ice on the road. Good thing we had studded tires on the panda! We made a quick coffee stop in pingvellir national park for a coffee and view of the lake. The sun was just starting to rise so you could see a nice glow highlighting the mountains. We drove into what felt like a huge city (the rest of the island seems very quiet) and to the amazingly huge church in Reykjavik. It was such a contrast with the concrete and basalt looking columns, truely unique. I’m not sure if I love it or hate it. The glow behind it when we first got there definitely made it look even more spectacular. From there we wandered around the city. We walked along the harbour and saw the fishing boats, poked into a few shops, and admired the square colourful buildings. Some of their modern architecture is neat but anything a little older is just a box. At least in the old town they used some fun colours. We also found a restaurant that served puffin and whale! Before we left we had to find a fish and chips shop, which we did. It was pretty tasty. We took the scenic route to the airport and went along the coast and through one of the geothermal parks. It still looks like the moon to me! Although it was less eerie now then when we first got in. After dropping the car off it was time to go to the airport. Goodbye Iceland. It’s been a unique, expensive trip full of landscapes I’ve never seen before.

Posted by arodavie 20:27 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

November 23

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We go going at the crack of dawn (so 10am!) and went to see the cave people. It was a really unique experience and if the lady at the hotel hadn’t told us about it then we probably wouldn’t have gone. People lived in the cave until not too long ago and a new family had taken it over and recreated what it looked like in the 1920s. He told us about the cave and the “hidden people” who watched over the mountains. From there we went to geysir, which is the very original geysir. It is actually not very active but there are others beside it that are so we watched those erupt and took in the sweet sulphur scent! Next on the tourist trail was gulfoss which is a cascading waterfall. It was pretty and wide but I think the taller ones we saw earlier in the trip were more impressive. Next we drove through a lot of farm land and saw some areas that actually looked productive. There were some picture prefect horses by the road so of course we had to stop and get a picture. We stopped in fludir to go to the secret (or not so secret!) hot springs. It is the first hot springs pool in Iceland. It was shaped by rocks and had a gravel bottom so I think it’s more authentic than blue lagoon. It was a great place to relax and spend an hour. You could go to different places in the pool for different temperatures. We found a nice spot with a ledge by an edge to sit and people watch. There were people from all over. When we were prune-ish we got out and headed to the mushroom farm for a coffee. It was a little too late for a snack but the mushroom soup looked delicious! That got me hungry so we went to nearby Reykolt for dinner, at a great place called mika. We started with langostines with a white chocolate and chilli sauce. I wasn’t sure at first but it was really good. For my main I had horse stroganoff and Michael has mushroom risotto. I figured there weren’t too many places I could try horse so I better try it while it was on the menu. It was good, kind of like slightly tougher beef. We were both full but then they said they had white chocolate mousse for dessert and Michael couldn’t resist. They did it with a citrus mousse and nuts as well. It was a very unique combination! After all that I needed to move around or I was going to fall asleep. We headed back to our hotel, but this time we took the slightly longer way so we didn’t have to deal with the sketchy road works!

Posted by arodavie 20:26 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

November 22

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- [ ] We got away fairly early and headed toward Skaftafell. We were a little early for our tour so we made a little detour and saw svinafellsjokull glacier. It had a beautiful lagoon at the bottom and it finally wasn’t raining so we had a nice view. Our tour started at the national park so we got out gear there and then hopped on a modified bus (with off-road tires) with a bunch of Chinese and headed to the base of the “falling glacier” ( I can’t remember the Icelandic name). It was quite the off road track and I was impressed they could get the bus there! We offloaded and luckily split into two groups with almost all the Chinese in the other group. We crossed a rickety bridge and walked up a trail to the foot of the glacier. Our guide taught us how to put the crampons on and then took us to see an ice cave. It was really pretty but honestly it was a lot smaller than I expected. Still neat to be in especially since you can only go in in the winter. Then we started hiking up the glacier. We had an older Chinese couple with our group and he didn’t understand English and kept stopping to take pictures and wasn’t really paying attention to what he was doing. At one point he slipped but luckily didn’t go too far. I think by the end our guide was a little fed up! On the glacier was beautiful. It’s a little intimidating walking up the ice but you learn to stomp when you walk and the crampons do a great job. I might have to get some for at home during the winter! We could see a long ways up the glacier and you could see all the jagged peaks above, and the glacier lagoon below. Plus it was the nicest weather we had had all trip. It was stunning and definitely a highlight of the trip! Sadly we had to go down and head back to base. I could have stayed up there all day. It was still nice when we got to the base so we went for a walk to see one of the other glaciers. So beautiful! On the way back we even saw a ptarmigan. We had a long drive so we figured we better start driving, plus it was almost 4 and getting dark. It was a 3.5 hour drive to Where we were staying outside of Laugarvatn. The very last part of the drive was gravel and under construction but we figured it would be fine. Luckily we were only a few kilometres from the hotel when we got to the roadworks and it was just pure mud. I trusted michaels driving but I didn’t trust the panda! Luckily we made it through and made it to the hotel safe and sound. The hotel is a working dairy farm. We went to the restaurant and then had windows inside so you could look down at the cows. Very neat! And of course we had to have the homemade ice cream for dessert! (Hotel Efsti-Dalur)

Posted by arodavie 20:25 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

November 21

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I woke up several times during the night to try and see the northern lights but no luck. One time the mountains had a purple haze above them but it wasn’t the stark colours I’m really looking for. At least it doesn’t get light until 10 so we could have a lazy morning after a broken sleep. Our first stop was at a waterfall just east of vik. It didn’t have a name and it looked to be in a field but it was spectacular. There were many cascading layers and it was just so pretty and peaceful. From there the drive was open and flat. A volcano erupted around 1760 and destroyed everything in the area, and it looked like it was also a glacier recession area. As we got closer to kirkjubaejarklaustur (quite the mouth full!) there were more volcanic rocks and the landscape got a little nicer. The moss covering the rocks at least made it look semi normal. Although it looked like a shame to have all that potentially good farm land under lava. In Kirk we watched a video about the volcano eruption and gave ourselves a chance to wander around out of the rain. It was a miserably cold and wet day. Next we went and checked out the basalt columns that were flat and made it look like a perfect tile laden floor. The lady at the info desk recommended another place just east of town that had more of the big columns so we went and saw those as well. They were quite a bit bigger, about 2 feet around, and were very cool. I’m just fascinated by the straight edges. We drove a little further then decided we better get some fuel so we stopped in the next town only to find out that all the fuel stations were down on the southeast coast. We had a look at our gauge and decided we could make it to diamond beach before we would have to turn around. The beach and lagoon were amazing!! We stopped at the jokulsarlon lagoon first, at a parking area away from the main tourist area. We walked over the ridge and were greeted by the sight of huge icebergs floating in the water. They were a beautiful mix of white, black, blue, and clear. On the edge. were smaller ice chunks that really did look like diamonds. It was how I would imagine Antarctica would look. Next we went to the beach. The neatest thing for me was to see the icebergs floating out from the lagoon and headed to the surf where they were pounded and sent back to the beach. Amazing! When we couldn’t feel our fingers anymore we decided to head back to the town to see if we could get fuel. When we arrived it still wasn’t back on so we tried to get some coffees, only to have the power shut off. Eventually we did get coffees and fuel and could make it to our hotel for the night. We got into our hotel and it’s much more hostel style but still alright. We at at the hotel restaurant for dinner. I had a steak pie that looked nothing like a pie and more like braised beef with a puff pastry on top. At least it tasted good. We treated ourselves to apple cake for dessert (hof adventure hotel)

Posted by arodavie 20:24 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

November 20

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It was 10am before it was truely light and once it did then we were off to see some waterfalls. The first was skogarfoss which was right behind the hotel. It is the highest waterfall in Iceland. It was beautiful and you could climb a steep trail and get a nice view from the top as well. Next we drove down the coast and stopped at a cute church. They all seem to be white with a red roof. Makes for nice pictures. From there we went to seljalandsfoss. It a big waterfall that you can walk behind. I had never done that before so I got to check that off my bucket list. All along the cliffs were waterfalls where we walked. You could go between some rocks and get really close to a different one but everyone came out soaked so we decided to pass on that. There was one couple that had rain ponchos on and garbage bags on their feet. They looked ridiculous! As we drove further down the coast we stopped at various view points. The weather got windier and wetter as we went which wasn’t ideal but as least we could warm up in the car between stops. We went to a place that I’ve always wanted to go since first reading about Iceland, reynisfjara. It has the black columns coming out of the black sand and it’s on a wild part of the coast. All the rawness and wildness was neat to see. The rocks all looked perfectly slated together. Crazy! We were both pretty chilled so we went to vik for coffee. It’s a cute town in the very far south. We found a cute lunch place and they had excellent coffee! Then I wanted to do a little shopping so we checked out the grocery store and souvenir shop. Groceries were relatively inexpensive but eating out is crazy. And forget alcohol! Good thing Michael and I aren’t huge eaters. There was a museum in town that had one of the first boats in the area that transported goods to all the little villages. It was a very good little museum. I had no idea so many other boats got stranded on the beaches in earlier times. I guess looking out at the southern coast the ocean looks pretty feisty and there’s no way I’d go on a boat. Amazingly most people were rescued if they got stranded. For dinner we had $85 burger and beers...ouch! It was delicious though! There is a local brewery in town (smiojan brugghis) so we went and sampled some of what they had one tap. They had an impressive 10 beers on tap (all made locally) plus countless bottles. It was a really neat little pub. We got back to the hotel and enjoyed some ice cream that we picked up from the store. Icelandic dairy is pretty good! Then we relaxed in the hot tub and admired the stars. No northern lights yet but hopefully we will see some late tonight!

Posted by arodavie 20:23 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

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