Today we bade farewell to Thomas and Katy. The taxi came to pick them up at 5am, so Howard and I got an early start, which was just as well, since we had a long drive ahead of us.
The city was quiet as we left, and set off eastwards again along Route 1. This was the trip we had done a week earlier in the pouring rain, so it was good to see the scenery this time under better conditions. We decided to split the trip into four segments, so that we could switch over with the driving, and do a bit of sightseeing.
First stop was Selfoss for breakfast, at a cafe we had found with Thomas and Katy. Next stop was Vik. On the two previous occasions we had passed by here, the weather had been atrocious. However, today, contrary to the weather forecast, the sun came out. We headed down to the black sand beach, where you can see the famous rock stacks in the distance, known as the the Troll Rocks, and where previously you had been able to walk under the basalt cliffs and see a sea cave. Today, we found access to the beach cordoned off. Initially we had thought it was because the entire area is a nature reserve for puffins and other sea birds. But then we saw a notice saying that several people had died after being swept away by strong waves at the base of the basalt cliffs. So instead we followed the designated path along the cliff tops and admired the view. The wind was so strong, that at times it was hard to stand, but it blew away the cobwebs, and gave us a break from the driving. We also spotted the odd puffin or two peeking out from their burrows.
We then headed eastwards until we came to Skaftafell National Park, on the edge of the glacial ice cap. Our destination was a waterfall called Svartifoss. In order to reach it, we had to hike for about three kilometres, but the walk was worth it. Although not particularly high or broad, the Svartifoss waterfall plunges into a pool surrounded by an amphitheatre of hexagonal basalt columns, giving it the nickname the Black Falls. It was certainly an impressive sight as the sun glinted onto the basalt columns.
We continued on our way, to the last pit stop of our drive – another quick peek at Jokulsarlon, the glacial lagoon filled with icebergs. We had, of course, already visited here last week, but were unable to drive past again without a final look. The sun was strong, but lower in the sky than on our last visit, so the lagoon had taken on a very different appearance. Also, this time, the tide was coming in, causing the icebergs to move around the entrance to the lagoon, rather than flowing out into the sea. Once more, Howard and I just stood and stared – it is such a magical sight, and one which you could never get bored with.
Sadly though, by now it was getting late, so we tore ourselves away, and drove the final leg of our journey towards Hofn. We parked up, and headed straight to the Pizza Restaurant, where Howard treated himself to a ‘Lobster Festival’ – an interesting take on a pizza.
We are now back on track to catch our ferry in a couple of days time. First we have the Eastern Fjords to explore, as we make our way back to Seydisfjordur. It’s hard to believe that we have been here in Iceland three weeks already. There’s so much we haven’t been able to see, but we have definitely fallen in love with the place. The scenery is just out of this world – very different from anywhere else we have ever visited. But if there’s one place in Iceland I would urge anyone to visit, it would be Jokulsarlon. Icebergs rock!