Arrived to sunshine and no wind but a cool -1 pick truck up tomorrow going for a little walk about – good forecast for the northern lights fingers crossed for later – might not be too good as in Reykjavik so there will be light pollution – here are a couple of photographs taken on the way from the airport.
Day 14: Heading back to Seyðisfjörður in the East of Iceland so tour 2 can catch the ferry tomorrow. You have to get to the campsite early as it gets very busy aim to arrive mid afternoon – meal in the local pub in the evening. Still some beautiful scenery to see along the way and an interesting mountain pass. Sad to leave 🙁
Day 13: Glacier day the previous evening visiting skaftafell visitors center and the skaftafellsjokull which is one of the many tongues coming down from the vast Vatnajokull. The Skaftafell vicinity has experienced considerable volcanic activity, with the 1362 Öræfajökull eruption producing the most ash of any Icelandic volcano since the settlement and another, smaller Öræfajökull eruption occurring in 1727. As shown once again in 2011, the subglacial volcano Grímsvötn is the country’s most active volcano, and is also famous for the huge jökulhlaups or glacial floods that originate from it.
Starting the morning with an amazing view of glaciers. First stop Svínafellsjökull glacier tongue in Skaftafell National Park. Svínafellsjökull is a breathtaking outlet of the Vatnajökull glacier, and the scenery is simply stunning.
Fjallsárlón is a glacier lake at the south end of the Icelandic glacier Vatnajökull. Fjallsjökull which is part of the bigger glacier reaches down to the water of the lake and some ice-bergs are drifting by on its surface.
Jökulsárlón has been a setting for four Hollywood movies: A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Batman Begins, as well as the “reality TV” series Amazing Race.
Further lagoons and glaciers along our route to our destination of Hofn.
Day 12: Interesting day heading back into the interior, towards Laki and Lakagigar. Laki or Lakagígar (Craters of Laki) is a volcanic fissure Lakagígar is the correct name, as Laki mountain itself did not erupt, but fissures opened up on each side of it. The eruption started on 8 June 1783, a fissure with 130 craters.
Day 11: Today is a bit about on the bus off the bus sight seeing. First stop the Eyjafjallajökull center that is run by the family whose farm was seen on all of the news reports. They have a short film showing what they went through during the eruption.
Then on to Skogafoss waterfall width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable.
The glacier snout Solheimajokull is the southwestern outlet of the Myrdalsjokullicecap. It is about 8 km long and 1-2 km wide. River Jokulsa discharges it, and is sometimes called “The Stinking River” because of its emission of sulphuric acid from sub-glacial high temperature areas.
On the Saturday of Nov 24, 1973 a United States Navy airplane (C-47 SkyTrain also known as “Dakota”) was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sandy beach in the south of Iceland. The crew survived the landing and the airplane’s remains are still standing at the crash site.
The small peninsula, or promontory, Dyrhólaey (120m) (formerly known as Cape Portland by English seamen) not far from the village Vík.
Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall near the village Vík í Mýrdal. Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock.
Then we cover an interesting off-road route to our campsite.
Day 10: Another day of many many water crossings. Interesting drive through the interior to our campsite in the south at Seljalandsfoss, which is on the route into Porsmork nature reserve.
Covering lava deserts, fantastic views of Mýrdalsjökull glacier which covers an active volcano called Katla. The caldera of the volcano has a diameter of 10 km (6 mi) and the volcano erupts usually every 40–80 years. The last eruption took place in 1918.
Evening visit into Porsmork – Gigjokull where the flood water from Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010. Seljalandsfoss you can walk behind and the waterfall Gljúfrafoss we can walk into.
Day 9: Back into the interior – beautiful sunny day, stopping along the route to take in the view of Hekla a stratovolcano, with a height of 1,491 metres (4,892 ft). Hekla is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. First stop for a break is Hjálparfoss is one of several waterfalls situated in the lava fields north of Hekla near the point where the rivers Fossá and Þjórsá join.
We head into Landmannalaugar stopping at 2 craters along the route Bláhylur Crater Lake and Ljótipollur crater lake (“Ugly Puddle”). Landmannalaugar is a beautiful area with colourful ryolite mountains. We choose not to stay at the campsite at Landmannalaugar as it is a little waterlogged – we generally try not to stay there as it is not a pleasant site to stay in. This is the 1st of August as we travel along we see clouds developing ahead, as we come over the rise we see that snow has fallen on half of the landscape, within a couple of miles we are driving in snow. A couple of miles later we arrive at our campsite for the night no snow to be found very strange.
Day 8: An easier day in and around the golden circle, visiting Þingvellir lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is at the northern end of Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. Parliament or Alþingi was established at Þingvellir in 930 and remained there until 1798.
Kerid crater and an earth quake experience then spending an afternoon walk up to the hot river for a bathe, then an evening at the steak house. Restful day before back into the interior tomorrow.
Day 7: Starting the day with a trip up to the geothermal area Kerlingarfjöll (1,477 m (4,846 ft)) is a mountain range in Iceland situated in the Highlands of Iceland near the Kjölur highland road. The volcanic origin of these mountains is evidenced by the numerous hot springs and rivulets in the area. And indeed, they are part of a large volcano system of 100 km2 (39 sq mi). The volcanoes of the range are tuyas.
We then travel the 50 mile route through to Gullfoss golden falls here we meet lots of tourists within the golden circle. Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The wide Hvítá rushes southward. About a kilometre above the falls it turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step “staircase” and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m) into a crevice 32 m (105 ft) deep.
Then on to Geysir, Strokkur (Icelandic for “churn”) is a fountain geyser in the geothermal area erupting about every 4–8 minutes 15 – 20 m high, sometimes up to 40 m high.