Headed to Vik today, one of the longest if not the longest drive in one day. We will spend all day along the east coast. The major sight will be the largest glacier in Iceland – Vatnajokull. The coast was certainly different from what we have seen thus far.
Mentioned the alluvial areas from yesterday and much more of the same today. There is, at times, a wide flat area between the ocean and the mountains – as flat as a floor. When we got over to the glacier can see that a lot of it was due to glacial melt and washing rocks down into the surrounding plains. Not much growing except small plants.
At one point was able to capture four flows from the glacier but there were several more as we headed south. We had hoped to get up close to the glacier but as the roads were ‘F’ roads we did not even try. Insurance on the car precludes us driving on this type road – very rocky and bumpy. Did stop at the glacier national park and hiked up to a really nice waterfall coming down a basalt wall. We will see more of this later today and tomorrow. Nice hike and a great view over the open areas toward the sea.
Some of the open areas looked like it had been in an area of volcanic activity as everywhere you looked were lava boulders that had been thrown around. But then as Iceland has several volcanos this is not surprising. Some of the areas as we got closer to the mountains were stunning in their green carpets, waterfalls and houses tucked back against the mountains. They do have some ‘weird’ bridges on the major highway in that they are single lane. If they are long enough they will have a turnout ever few hundred feet so cars can pull over and let others pass – first come first to pull over then continue on.
We stopped at a lagoon, connected to the sea, where one of the glacial flows emptied into the lagoon so saw icebergs – not big ones but quite a few. They would get caught on the bottom of the lagoon, melt then float on out to sea. It was capitalism at its best – duck boats to ride you around (NO we did not go), zodiac rafts to ride you around, portable buildings for refreshments, toilets, etc.
The last thing was to go to the ‘Black Beach’. As the name implies and as we mentioned yesterday the beaches are black. There was the Black Beach restaurant at the beach – doing a fine business – we did not go in. But we did get a few shots of the area. Big bird rookery here and some great shots along the coast of rocks sticking up just offshore.
Finally, after about 10 hours, get to the Farmhouse Motel where we spend the night. Did have to backtrack to Vik (about 15 km) to get something to eat – but it was good – about like a club sandwich. So that is about it for today will talk at you again tomorrow.
Head for Jökulsárlón, the Glacial Lagoon and one of the major attractions in Iceland. Large blocks of ice constantly break off the edge of the glacier and drift about in the blue glacial waters of the lagoon at the foot of the glacier. Boat trips that take you sailing among the icebergs are available during summer.
Continue to Skaftafell National Park, nestled at the foot Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Hike to Svartifoss, one of Iceland’s most picturesque waterfalls, framed in by hexagonal basalt columns. Skaftafell has a network of excellent hiking trails, and guided treks are available.
Continue to Kirkjubæjarklaustur town and see Kirkjugólfið (the Church Floor), a protected natural monument with a floor that looks like man-made tile floor but is a nature made. Stop to take a look at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, just west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur on your way to the black sandy floodplains of Mýrdalssandur and the charming town of Vík.