15th Nov 2016 - Iceland
The south coast of Iceland is a mix of waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and volcanoes, including the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Back in 2010, the volcano erupted but released ash of such fine particles that the IATA were worried the ash would get into the airplane engines and cause havoc and so a large part of European airspace was shut at various points during April.
My trip that morning left when it was even earlier and even darker than the previous day. We drove for some 150km before our first stop at Skogafoss, a 62m high waterfall that is towered over by Eyjafjallajökull. Local legend states that one of the first settlers Þrasi hid a chest of gold in the waterfall but despite attempts to recover the gold, it remains hidden. As we were leaving the waterfall, it began to hail. Large, chunks of hail. Although, this being Iceland, it had passed within 5 minutes.
We continued to drive around the coast, under the shadow of Eyjafjallajökull, with a brief stop for lunch, before arriving at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Here, right beside the main road, is a beautiful blue lagoon, full of icebergs opposite a beach, also covered in icebergs. The lake used to be part of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, but the edge of the glacier is now some 1.5km away from the ocean and covers an area of about 18km2. The sun had shown its face and reflected off the icebergs as we made our way to our amphibious boat, which took us along the edge of the lake before heading into the water and floated around the icebergs, from a safe distance as only 10% of the iceberg is seen above water. Whilst out on the boat we were shown a freshly cut piece of 1000 year old ice, then cut into even smaller chunks which we were able to eat. Best tasting ice I’ve had! Once back on shore, we were able to walk round the lagoon and down to the beach to see the icebergs getting battered by the waves from the Atlantic Ocean.
We then had a long drive back to Reykjavik, punctuated by a stop just outside Vik so that driver could have a break and then another stop at Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The water here drops 60m and originates in a glacier on Eyjafjallajökull. Behind the waterfall is a small cave that visitors can walk to. However, by the time we got there it was after dark and although the waterfall is floodlit, walking behind it was out of the question. We finally arrived back in Reykjavik after a long, but beautiful day.