Íslandi Part III

October 6, 2016

Here it is, the final leg –  Part III.

How sad were we to be approaching our final days on this beautiful island.

Here’s the map of day 5-8 to follow along.

We are on day 5 of our journey and after our nice hearty breakfast (yes, it was another all you can eat breakfast plus some for our suppers.), we headed on the road for another long drive east, to the fjords! When I say long, I mean longer than 2.5 hours because usually everywhere is close in proximity usually not over an hour’s drive. First up, Dettifoss! The most powerful foss in all of Europe. Whilst driving it was hard to believe a waterfall was nearby since the landscape was completely flat, even the parking lot looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Once you start down the dirt path, you’ll soon hear the power of the fall.

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Along the path there is also Selfoss. Now, besides Glymur being my favorite exploration and foss, Selfoss ranks second. Hops, skips, and leaps onto to various rocks and playing hot lava (the pools of water was the lava) gets me closer to the falls.

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About an hour later, we jumped back into the car continuing east. After driving through the country side submerged it’s lush rolling hills dotted with infinite amounts of lambs, you come upon a steep windy road. At the top, a short flat road will soon snake it’s way down highway 93, and that’s when you will loose it. The flat road before hosted some gray and turbulent conditions until we started to dip down and that’s when that AWWWWWEEE moment hits as the fog disappears, the sun rays break through the clouds, and all you can gaze at are the dozens of fjords streaming down both sides of the mountain leading down to the town below. It was truly insane! I had absolutely no words except HOLY SHIT!!! It just intensified my long desire to visit the fjords in Norway even more.

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Like with everything in Iceland, there are many towns in the east we wanted to conquer. One town a bit up north is Borgarfjorður, known their hiking and small population of 20. In the end we narrowed it down to the somewhat more populated and charming town of Seyðisfjörður. The town was founded by Norwegian fishermen and is the main port to and from Denmark. It is also popular amongst growing artist hosting exhibitions in their cultural center. We spent time enjoying a cup of coffee at the inn, strolling around, then hopped in the car to drive as far east we could go. I was hoping to see puffins and reindeer here, but I missed the puffins since they already taken off to migrate elsewhere, maybe England??? It’s unfortunate that the two are far apart and we were short on time, but we’ll be back. In the meantime, it was time to make our way down south.

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Next on our list was Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. It was still daylight as we made our way over to the canyon, so we decided to check out the charming little fishing town of Höfn. It was nightfall as we reached the parking lot and we were exhausted from the long drive, so we quickly converted our car into a camper. We had that routine down pat to a mere seven minutes by now.

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Rise and shine! Well, maybe not shine with a gray overcast foggy sky. And what’s this?! A toilet and a sink with running water! Frigid, but we’ll take it! So I didn’t need to use the facilities au natural style last night. Doh. As we stroll up the canyon’s hillside, all we wished for was more time to explore it all. It’s endless green gorgeous canyon has been carved out by glaciers and it’s two millions old.

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Driving along the southern route of highway 1 brings us closer to the Ring Road, if we didn’t get lost! Not lost but mixed up. We drove a little too south where Jökulsárlón should have been our first visit that day (my map shows the correct route so you won’t make the same mistake we did). Good thing the two weren’t too far from another, so we just went back and didn’t loose any time. Plus, along the way we visited a glacier up close in Vatnajökull. It’s the largest glacier in Iceland that makes up 8% of their land. That day, just in that spot, the skies were blue and the sun made a full appearance. So standing there I couldn’t help to think is that how I got to witness hearing the glacier cracking. Beyond surreal and a quick reality check of climate change as it happens.

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After playing around at Jökulsárlón wishing we did the boat tour, we made our was towards Vík. As much as I love beaches and warm weather, it definitely wasn’t that. But the rain and wind didn’t stop us, and oh the other 6879 visitors. Here we were stoked to walk along Black Sand Beach to see the cave that once housed a troll and climb the basalt rock formation formed by lava. It’s also where you’ll see the two tall stones was once two trolls attempting to drag a ship to land, but were turned into stone once daylight broke.

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It wasn’t too late for our last sight for the day, onto the ever so tall Skogafoss. A climb up to the top gets you to see the river flows on to the steep drop. At the bottom all you can do is stare at the wondrous beauty, listen the roar of water, and be showered. Blue hour soon fell upon us as we headed to the town of Hella (it’s a Bay Area term used hella as an adverb, so naturally we were excited to find it)! We wanted to spend the night instead we drove HELLA fast through it.

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Morning wakes, and now you’re on the Ring Road along with the other 7473749792748783 tourist. There’s quite a bit to see but we narrowed it down to three main ones starting at Gullfoss. A short shuffle over brings us to our second site of Geysir. I’ve been dying to see a geyser since I was a kid, so this was a real treat to see one up close. And yes, it’s like the geyser they have at Yellowstone park, but it’s different! IT’S ICELAND! Just as I felt at Namafjall Hverir geothermal area (written in my part II), there’s no words for the wonders of the earth we stand on.
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Soon after we headed to our third destination to be two places at one time – to dive between the continental divide among North America and Europe! It’s worth it! There isn’t any sea life except these tiny silvery fish, which I didn’t see, but my friend did. So the snorkel is more than enough versus the dive. It’s 2-3 hours since it’s mainly everyone getting geared up. It’s amazing how you don’t get wet and it wasn’t even cold since you’re wearing a wet and dry suit. By the time we were done, I was hot from moving around in those suits.
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After we started to head back to Reykjavik (the park about 40 minutes away) and tried to see a wool factory, but we missed the closing time by 7 minutes. (Which was the running theme of our trip. The worst is when we missed the Vínbúðin closing time. We were devastated that night. Actually, we just went to a restaurant and drank.) Now we had time to stroll around downtown Reykjavik and peek around and try and souvenir shop, mainly me! Oh and of course, Braud & Co., but they were already closed. Oh the agony! After we went to check out the dome. It was free and it gave an over view of Reykjavik, but don’t feel you’re missing out if you can’t fit it in. Then we headed over to my friend’s place to hang out and of course a hot traditional Icelandic supper, hot shower, and b-e-d! I can’t tell you how great it is to have friends to show and tell you all the local ways. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love learning all about their history, cultural ways, and language. Maybe not in this case since Icelandic is hard!
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It’s our last day. *WAHHHHHHHH!!! Crying a river* But at least it’s Blue Lagoon day! We started off at early at 5:30am, to head out to of course – Braud & Co! Tellin’ ya this place. My friend ended buying a whole thing of whatever that butter hazelnut goodness was on a flaky croissant breading (it’s shown on their homepage), and then some food for the plane ride back home. We found this 10-11 in downtown Reykjavik that is open 24 hours. It’s their version of a 7-11. Around 8am, we arrived to check-in at the Blue Lagoon. We initially thought it was way too early, but upon our exit and seeing the line back all the way into the parking lot (think it’s over a city block long), and then bus after bus drop off more people, we were realized early was worth it. After a couple of hours soaking at the Blue Lagoon, sadly, it was time to head to the airport.
Pro tip: You need to make reservations before you go. We got the premium package that came with both the silica and algae masks and complimentary drink. Before you dip in, make sure to condition your hair. The water contains a blue that makes will make your hair course.
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When we first booked this trip, seven full days sounded like plenty of time to see Iceland in it’s entirety. But it’s not. I cannot wait for my next trip here to visit my friends and explore more!

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