After another hearty breakfast at Julia’s, Trevor bid farewell to his new friend and we charted our course to Vik, the southern most town in Iceland. We assumed that since it was only about 170 miles away, taking a day to get there would be more than enough time to take in the sites. But now on day four, we are realizing we could spend months in this beautiful land and still not see everything. It’s because with every turn of the road there is some unbelievable scene to take in, which makes paying about $150 for a tank of gas while worth the price!
Each day we have set out with a rough idea of the things we wish to see while journeying around the Ring Road. Our list comes from guidebooks, online research, and talking with locals. But it doesn’t include all the wondrous little gems we happen upon because we have our own car and can go where we want. For example, minutes from Julia’s is Urrigafoss, the falls I wrote about yesterday that is not listed in any of our guidebooks. While not as breathtaking as Gullfoss, both Trevor and Kelly were as impressed as I with this quick stop off.
About fifteen minutes down the road we turned off in the direction of Iceland’s most ominous volcano, Helka. While you can see it clearly in the distance, much closer was our first museum of the trip, Sagnagardur Visitor Center. The place is dedicated to teaching visitors about the importance of soil conservation in Iceland, and after a twenty-minute video, we were experts!
On the way back to the main road, we took a side trip down a gravel road so I could snap a few shots of a brilliant yellow field. I must say both Kelly and Trevor have been wonderfully patient with my spontaneous detours, which I have so much appreciated.
Further down the Ring Road we came to Seljalandsfoss, another amazing falls that tumbles over a rocky scarp with enough room to walk behind it. While we all enjoyed the view, getting soaked was not so much fun! Just a short hike away was another falls, Gljufurarbui (who comes up with these names and spellings?) that was just as cool.
Our next stop was a visitor center dedicated to the volcano Eyiafjallajokull. For those who remember, this was the one that in 2010 shut down air traffic for weeks all over Europe. We managed to arrive just in time for a 20-minute film highlighting the devastating impact of the eruption, which was so reminiscent of Mt. St. Helens.
By late afternoon we arrived at Skogafoss, a 200ft waterfall even more impressive than those we had witnessed earlier in the day. Set back in a mountain of green, legend has it that a settler named Prasi hid a chest of gold behind the falls. But unlike Seljalandfoss, I’m not sure how anyone could get back there!
Instead of trying, we climbed a steep staircase leading to the top of the falls for unbelievable views of the water drop. A short path from the view took us to another amazing falls that is the photo of the day, and where we took our first family photo.
By the time we descended it was 5:30pm and we still had two more sites left on our list. As we arrived at the entrance of Solheimajokull, a viewing point for the Myradalsjokull glacier, we realized it would have to wait until tomorrow. We needed to find our hotel and eat dinner since we had skipped lunch. Dyrholaey, a dramatic ocean viewing p
oint also had to wait.
Guesthouse Reynir was newly built and quite utilitarian. Kelly and Trevor were not impressed, but I didn’t mind the industrial feel. We dumped our stuff and headed down the road to Reynisfjara, or the black beach. There we ate at a newly opened restaurant looking out over the water. While our waiter was very nice, the food needed some serious work.
It was another very full day to say the least.