Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon)
Pure uninterrupted blue stretches across the horizon, the unbroken sky impervious to the unabashed brilliance of this landscape. Basalt carnage relentlessly clawed by the futile grasp of frozen hands soot the ground below. Pebbled sediment devours the sky in a precarious iridescence of opaque emerald and lucent marine that fills quiet but every changing waters. Heavy chunks of glacial wonder punctuate the surface folding and peaking in unusual forms. Weathered with snow and whipped with ash their protruding tips are a testament to time and travel.
Eldhraun Moss Covered Lava Fields
We savor the late afternoon sun in the enchanted lava fields of Eldhraun. A patchwork of textures and hues, clumpy, chunky and squishy to the touch these verdant mosses extend as far as the eye can see. This mystical place transcends storybook pages temping us to romp about the spongy green amidst the elves, trolls, and “huldufolk” (hidden people), springing from puff to puff like unsupervised children on the living room furniture; what fun! But romp we will not as these are sacared grounds. For frolicking is destructive and one footstep is said to take 10 years to repair. So, we settle for one clever shot upon the outer fringe.
Pulling down the road to our hotel in the last moments of daylight a reflective flash draws our attention to a modular mecca in the middle of nowhere. Ushered in like a train on invisible track, abandoned in this perfect spot the Foss Hotel feels like something straight out of a Bond movie.
We get our first feel of Icelandic summer and finally see the sun on day four of our trip. The temperature change is dramatic and when the wind subsides it’s actually quite pleasant. Free from jackets and rain we depart Selfoss in search of more southland adventure.
Continuing east on Ring Road from Selfoss to Vik we spot a massive waterfall from the highway. Standing approximately 211 feet tall with no obstructions in view Seljalandsfoss is impossible to miss and since we are here we might as well explore.
Morning brings more rain. Suitcases whirl hastily across puddled pavement assisted by glove clad hands. Paul shrugs his shoulders and nods apologetically as the German woman in the adjoining parking space surveys our Land Cruiser spilling across the white lines on either side. Wedging herself between the two vehicles she lifts the door handle. With two fingers buffering the friction between the armored shells she extends the door and sucks in her tummy inching herself inside. Her free hand pulls the door closer as her exposed fingers recoil from the outer handle. Having fully established ourselves as true American tourists we hit Costco for the second time of the trip to fill up our hulking vehicle before heading to Selfoss.
A few minutes later dad returns to the car with a paper receipt. How much was that? Do I dare ask? Paul does some quick math converting kroner to dollars and liters to gallons. That would be $6.50 a gallon. Gee, what a bargain! Continue reading
Papers and phones pass back and forth over breakfast as we sketch out our itinerary for the day. I’m glad to see dad’s done some research. First observations; parking a Land Cruiser is challenging (everything is smaller here except the Costco) and, we have no map. Nevertheless, the journey begins. With cell phones in hand we depart Reykjavik for a self-guided tour of the Golden Circle.
Encompassing four of the most commonly visited sights in South Iceland, the Golden Circle is a 190-mile route looping from Reykjavik to the southern uplands of Iceland and back. This popular trek is said to be one of the best ways to experience Iceland’s unique topography. Stops include the Atlantic ridge of Þingvellir, the bubbling geothermal activity at Geysir, the roaring waterfall at Gullfoss and the natural hot springs of the Secret Lagoon. We see them all! Continue reading
I hate change. Yet somehow, I find myself traversing the wild Icelandic terrain having quit my job and bought a house, both in the past 10 days. It’s funny how life thwarts thoughtful intentions in such serendipitous ways.
So, what’s the plan from here? Short term . . . I have no idea! We’ve booked a few hotels and picked up the rental car. Paul assures me he has everything under control, but I’m not so certain. This is definitely going to be interesting. Oh well, velkominn til Island (welcome to Iceland)! Continue reading
Over breakfast we strategize suitcase packing and review our route. Although shark diving monopolized all of Sunday, we complete our exploration of Bluff before Monday morning tea is served. Proximity and a short to do list make for fast sightseeing.
Monday morning is a contradiction of absolute darkness and the feeling of being completely awake. Continue reading