Waterfalls, Glaciers, Puffins… The Day That Had It All
And I thought Thursday was busy. Not sure it had anything on Friday. So let me start from the start shall I?
We left our digs in Skogar nice and early, and before running out of town stopped by yet another glorious waterfall only 100’s of metres from where we had stayed. This was a beauty too. More understated than the two from the previous day, but gorgeous in its size and simplicity. There is something just awesome about seeing that much water crashing down only metres away from you.
While it lacked the scale of Gullfoss, and the novelty of going behind like Seljalandsfoss, this was still absolutely gorgeous.
From there, we set out in earnest on our action packed day. One of the best things about David our guide was his ability to throw something else into the itinerary on a whim. He had snuck a few things in, but he had a bit of an ace up his sleeve today. “Do you guys want to visit the glacier properly?” he asked. What kind of question is that?!
So off we went to visit the glacier known as Mýrdalsjökull. David was able to take us right to the base of it, but unable to go on it unfortunately due to safety concerns, which was fair enough.
When we got there we were all amazed. Rather than a pristine white glacier, this was black and grey thanks to the nearby Eyjafjallajökull volcano, that was the source of all the shenanigans back in 2010. So it was quite incredible to see, the blackened icy landscape. Again, something like from another planet. Sadly, the glacier has been receding, so hopefully it is not a sign of more to come.
It was back into the bus, with our next stop an amazing black sand beach, just out of the seaside town of Vik. This beach was incredible for a number of reasons. Firstly the basalt columns that lined the shore…
Then there is the dramatic scenery…
Next the black sand…
But most importantly… the Puffins! Yep, more of the little fellas. We took some relaxing time to chill out on this beach and I could have laid there for hours. We just sat down on the beach, listening to the waves crashing in, watching the little devils flying around and getting up to mischief.
It really was one of the best places to visit, but also being able to just take time out and soak it all in.
We did a bit of a whistle stop for some coffee and cake in Vik. Vik is a quaint little town, with not too much to see. But we did pop in and visit the famous Vik Wool store, where I got myself another nice hand knitted beanie. My head is going to be toasty warm this winter back home. Oh, and there was a Puffin Hotel.
From Vik we backtracked to the base of Eyjafjallajökull, where we visited a small visitors centre run by a local farming family.
Their focus is on the impact of Eyjafjallajökull, and showed a short film about their experiences. Holy moly. The Icelandic volcano was one of those things back home that was a news story that seemed pretty bad, but probably couldn’t get a full appreciation for the enormity of it. To see their story was insane, to see the devastation it caused, covering everything in site with inches of ash, and melted glacial waters destroying roads everywhere. The footage in the film was amazing, both exhilarating and scary all at once.
David had one last surprise visit up his sleeve for the day. Knowing how much we loved our other hot spring pool experience earlier, he invited us swimming again. This time, we parked the bus and proceeded to walk into a valley for 15 minutes. We came across the most basic of pool, secluded from almost everyone except for a handful of those in the know. In we jumped and oh boy, it was bliss. Beautiful warm water to soak in and let the busy day just melt away.
It was a similar experience to some hot springs in Japan in picturesque locations, and this one was right up there. Another experience where words are pointless, and I will just close my eyes and thinks of soaking in that warm water again.
With that done, we then hit the road back to Reykjavik. On the way we did a small stop at some hot mud fields, with pots of hot mud bubbling away. We couldn’t really see much as they had roped off the main area. Seems the area is getting a little unstable presently. Oh dear.
Getting close to dinnertime we arrived back in Reykjavik, just 5 days after leaving. Seemed like both yesterday and forever ago.
To wind up the formal part of the tour, the 5 of us on the tour went out with David for one last dinner together to bring it to a close. Good times. VERY good times.