Another big breakfast to sustain us on the way south to the land of spectacular scenery and legendary stories/sagas. It’s dark (of course) at 9am, but we have about a two hour drive to get to the area around Vik. Fortunately the rain lets up a bit and the growing dawn reveals the spectacular landscapes of the southern coast.
Before we start, I promised that I would post the Aurora Borealis shot with the iPhone last night. Not as spectacular as they can get, but this will give you some idea what it could be. Besides the green of excited oxygen molecules, I was lucky to get some of the red nitrogen molecules that often aren’t captured.
As the sun rises, though the rain keeps falling, we start to marvel in the wide plains formed by glacial rivers and the sea cliffs of Dryholaey. We get to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall just as a teeming rain starts. It doesn’t seem too windy so we decide to take our umbrellas….
Mistake. You can take the really slippery trail right behind the falls, and we do. However, the little wind gets magnified by the parabolic rock formation behind the falls and blows our umbrellas to smithereens…and soaks us to the bone as you add the reflected mist. But worth it.
The rain lets up just in time to take a portrait with Mary Ellen and Bill.
As we drive away from the falls there is an exhibit of some of the early homes built by Icelanders. The one on the right was heated by sheep dung, but the smell was so bad that the residents slept in an unheated dwelling nearby.
Speaking of the people, in the 900s, Vikings settled Iceland just as they were expanding Europe. Some Irish hermits/monks had settled here first. Eric the Red led the charge and lived in Iceland until he got in trouble and moved west to Greenland. He eventually came back to promote (he was also an entrepreneur) Greenland to get people to move. Eric’s son, Lief went further to Canada, etc. in N. America.
We also stop at some really rugged beaches, primarily of volcanic black sand. The hotel cleaners are probably not too happy with us as our shoes deposited mounds of the fine sand on the floor.
There are many very clear instances of the geological concept of the wild water ripping caves into the rock, then cutting through to create arches before the arches collapse to form towers…that we’ll see very clearly tomorrow.
This is not man-made. The octagonal basalt towers loom above the beautiful black sand.
I mentioned the Concert hall in Reykjavik being inspired by these formations. I think it’s pretty clear to see….
We make or way into the quaint, middle of nowhere, village of Vik and take a quick ride around as the dusk dramatically closes us in. Hotel Kayla is a great place (no ambient light near) to see the Northern Lights. They automatically wake you up if there is a sighting. We don’t get our hopes up and the rain and wind begin so hard it keeps us awake. At 3am I notice the moon shining in between our curtains and the sky is clear as a bell…but there is no solar activity. Anyway it bodes well for clear skies as we travel inland, to and through Iceland’s Golden Circle tomorrow.