Waterfalls, Churches, Black Beaches, Lava Fields, Plane Crash
What an exciting day ahead!
My funny girl was practicing being a solo traveler - not sure why. At most stops, she set up her phone, on a rock or a bench or whatever was handy, and started shooting action shots - jumps, poses, facials....... Just fun to watch:)
Day 3 started out with a beautiful half moon sitting right above the lake that our room looked out over. It looked so cold outside that I did not bother to step out onto the deck even for just a quick picture. We were up early for sunrise. Once we got outside, I realized that it wasn't that cold today. I still layered up - same as yesterday.
Our stay at The Garage was very nice. Large, spacious, comfortable room and very nice accommodating guest house.
Our room was well equipped including a nice cozy bed for these little mice!
The Garage is just off of the Ring Road in between the two iconic waterfalls about 30 minutes west of Vik. This is the view of their property from the guest house lobby. They have waterfalls flowing from the mountains behind them and overlook the beautiful lake in the front. Anna, our hostess, made fresh apple bread for our arrival. YUM!
Sunrise from the Ring Road.
Several photographers posted about Skógafoss Waterfall being a great location for sunrise and our hostess even said the same, so that's where we were headed at 7am.
Stopped for some birds on the pond.
Even some swans.
It was about a 10 minute drive and once we arrived, it was COLD! Nothing like the short journey to get here. Very bizarre!
It's big, it's beautiful, it's powerful, it's moist! Our camera gear was coated in a heavy mist instantly.
We set up our equipment, took a few photos and were frozen! Well, at least I was.
Me after just 5 minutes!
Abby said she wasn't cold, but she looks cold.
I LOVE this one!
This is one of her selfies - practicing to be a solo-traveler.....her word.
The wind was brutal and my hands were frozen within minutes. I took just a few shots, practiced with my new filters, and had to hit the road. We warmed up quickly in the car. Not sure where the wind was coming from. We were at the same elevation as the open road next to the ocean just minutes ago, with no wind.....The weather in Iceland is a mystery to me. Always changing; Very unpredictable!
Such a poser.
She set up her phone and started posing and jumping.
They're two different pictures. Look again. I found the last 3 photos on her phone - nice job, girlfriend!
Notice her make-shift tripod. BTW.....Al was shooting while I was warming up in the car.
Oh, and by the way, this waterfall was set back in a cove that faced south. It had absolutely nothing to do with the sunrise in the east. Maybe summer is different, but don't go there for sunrise in March! Also, the steps that lead up for a different vantage point were closed and access to behind the falls was off limits due to the recent snowfall. BUMMER!
On the way back to The Garage we made a few stops for some interesting photo ops - like sod houses.
This one, well two, looked interesting, built right into the rock, and even had a sign that we thought might give some info about it, but it was a plea for donations to keep it in such fine shape and also warning not to cross the fence line. Only view it from the road. Okay.....Got It.
We almost missed this one.
From the back side, this building looks like just a wall.
But it is dimensional. Not sure what it is/was, but I liked its look.
Another little sod house.
Just as I thought I should get a closer look, I found these steps inviting me across the fence. OK
I read about these steps around the island, but never envisioned them being so nice.
But I'll check it out.
Another cute sodie....with a bird. Is that a word?
Okay, just one more. This one sort of looks like it says OHIO, right?
As we were driving the Ring Road, we noticed a little town out by the water and one of our finds was this cute seaside church with a really red roof and bright green stained glass.
We had no idea at this time, but this style of church with the red roof and steeple could be found in every town in this country.
Oh, of course there's a cemetery.
The open gate looks like an invitation.
The cemetery had both old and new graves.
These residents overlook the mighty Atlantic to the south. RIP
Maybe this is the oddest thing we saw in Iceland....an underwear fence.....right along the Ring Road in southern Iceland somewhere west of Vik in Brekkukot - seven years in the making.
Guess what I left on the fence?
Not far from Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is this mountain with cool basalt stacks about three-quarters of the way up.
It was still early, so we decided to check out Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, hopefully before too many tour buses arrived from Reyjkavik.
We saw this falls from the Ring Road last night as we drove east in search of The Garage.
It's tall too and very nice, but like Skógafoss, access to walk behind the falls was closed. So sad. I had really hoped to view both of these famous falls through the waterfall. Maybe next time......
More jumping! No wonder she needs so much sleep!
This area was fairly protected from any wind and still had a little intermittent sunshine so we decided to hike to another falls. Not too much to see, just a few little waterfalls coming out of the rocks and an interesting little building along the way.
Abby got a head start. I'm guessing so she could get all her jumps in. Looks like the bench is her tripod. We were at least 100 yards behind her.
YAY! We found a puffin!
Gljufrabui Waterfall - glad we made the hike. This is a very cool waterfall. I'm going to try my new filters again. We lugged the big tripod all the way here, better use it.
This is absolutely amazing! I wish our alone time could last, but as we know, all good things must come to an end.
Al and Abby went into the cave but the rocks were very slippery and they got pretty wet from the mist. I wanted to go back too but people starting showing up and crowded in and were slipping on the rocks and falling in the water. The thrill was ruined for me.
A close-up from the phone.
I was definitely glad we made the hike. Not everyone could. Some were afraid to cross the flowing stream. We saw a couple of people wipe out trying to step gingerly on the slippery rocks. We stepped in the water and made it easily across.
To get down to the creek level of Gljufrabui Falls, someone had set up a rope to help us lower ourselves down and pull ourselves back up. Thanks! It Helped!
Taken from the bridge. I really wish some of the other trails, especially the one that goes behind the falls, were open. Oh, well, we enjoyed what we could.
Just a few more before we go.
P.S. A note to the photographer (I know he's reading)......Please make sure your subject is actually in front of the background:)
So happy I looked back one more time. This perspective really shows just how big this falls really is.
Our plan was to run out, shoot the sunrise waterfall, Skógafoss, and go back to The Garage for breakfast. They had lots of food available for us to prepare....eggs, bacon, bread, juice...... Well that didn't happen. We started shooting and the next thing we knew it was 11:00. We needed to check out by noon. No time for breakfast.
Next up.....a hike to Solheimasandur Plane Wreck on the beach. There is a road, but it has been closed to visitor vehicles because those who came before us did not respect the area and therefore ruined it for all of us.
So we made the 2+ mile hike on snow and ice and even found a few things to shoot along the way.
And when I say a few things, I really mean, Abby wanted me to shoot her.
We took a practice shot for our newspaper competition. Notice the picture on the back page.....it's Abby with her llama, Tokyo from last year.
We did find some pretty cool crystals to shoot too.
We really liked this section.
Some were huge sheets...
.....while other treasures could be held in your hand.
We're getting close.
Once we arrived, we found lots of people all around the plane and even sitting on it even though you aren't supposed to climb on it, but you can go inside.
Now that I've said that, I found this picture on Abby's phone. Where did the people go???
It certainly seemed like a lot more people.
It's amazing to think that this plane has been sitting here on the beach for almost 50 years!
Especially once you've experienced the Icelandic winds!
The nice sunny skies we had earlier have been replaced with heavy clouds. It seems like snow is in the air and definitely in our near future. Hopefully not 2 feet again.
So on our hike out to the plane, we were passed by a giant Super People Mover....good to know for our return trip - just in case we NEED it.
The plane crash isn't really a crash at all. It is documented at an unexpected landing. Everyone survived!
We felt like it was really hard to get many good shots, with all the tourist crawling all over the place, so we took a few shots for memories, and then decided to head back. It took us a long time to walk out and we thought we walked at a pretty good pace, and we had other things to do today.
Well, how about that? The Super People Mover is back and waiting for riders. We're On! It's $10 per person to ride 2 miles, but it's worth it. It's gotten pretty cloudy and much colder and we were walking into the wind.
When we returned to the car park aka to us Americans, the parking lot, we were greeted by a friendly pooch.
He seemed so sad and so old. He was quite charming and such a chow hound. If we had any extra room in our tiny car, we would have squeezed him in and took him along for the journey. We looked around trying to find who he might belong to, but with no luck. We did eventually learn that he lives at a nearby farm and visits this car park nearly every day in hopes of scoring a few snacks. It worked on us. We gave him a pretzel, with peanut butter, of course.
Our next stop was Dyrhólaey Beach, known for it's pure black sand, cliffs, natural arch, and castle like lighthouse.
We hiked part of it but didn't have time to hike to the top of the plateau to see the lighthouse and arch. We were expecting to drive up, but the road is closed due to weather, I guess. Our next hotel is a long drive and we would like to get there before dark.
The beach is beautiful with the lava black sand, white crashing waves, and mountain backdrop, and just like that some blue sky had returned. Welcome to Iceland!
From Dyrhólaey you can see all the way to Reynisfjara Beach. Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks in the water near the Reynisfjall Mountain. Behind the mountain is the village of Vík.
We found our first pay potties and they also are wide open and have a view.
The wind was brutal. We stayed as long as we could tolerate the wind. This is the view looking west.
On to Vik. This is largest town we've seen since Reykjavik
Vik, in 500 characters or less.
This cute little church sits high atop a hill right in the center of town. We went up to take a few pics and it was so windy that we actually had to brace ourselves to keep from being blown over the edge. No Joke!
Little different view. Don't let him fool you. He has found the one place to escape most of the wind, but he's still freezing!
Just before being blown away, we got a couple pictures of the town below. Looking south. The only shopping we could find in this town was the building in the center of the picture with the circle on the roof.
Looking west. A different view of Vik and Reynisdrangar.
We got our pictures and headed down to the town where we were met with the Wool Factory. Who could resist that? Well, first we had to check out the beach. It's WOW! Its black sand plus rounded smooth black shiny stones and pebbles make it very picturesque.
Many beaches warn of creeper waves that creep up on unsuspecting tourists and take them out to sea never to be seen again, so we keep a watchful eye out.
Look Out Babe! Run Forest Run!
Love the texture of the black lava sand.
Looking at Reynisdrangar from the downtown Vik beach.
I would like to get up close and personal with these sea towers.
Check out those huge waves!
We found some pretty cool stuff at the Wool Factory, but only bought a few things including some new finger mittens for me. I hope they're warm. We have all day hiking scheduled for tomorrow.
Al reminded me that we're not in the US any more. Very True. Here is a map of the village of Vik and some highlights of this area.
The gas stations in Iceland do not have any shelter at all. They are just pumps along side the road. No attendants, no convenience store, just pump your gas and move on.
They do have outdoor sinks!
Well, we tried to fill up and move on but our car doesn't have an obvious lever to pull for the gas tank. We looked all over and even got the manual out - not that we can read any of it. Just then a car with 4 people pulled in. YAY!
The first lady came over but has no idea but does offer to help even though she is shivering because the wind is so powerful and she doesn't even have on a coat. We were warned at the car rental place to hold on to the doors as they might be damaged or even be ripped off by hurricane force winds, and they are not covered by our insurance. The doors even have a warning sign too.
The lady feels bad that we can't pump the gas so she returns again but still finds nothing. Then she sends a guy over who has a KIA and he says the handle is right here inside the door near the floor, but finds nothing. He runs his hand along the floor just inside the driver door several times for a moment or so and finally the gas door pops open. WHAT? So we still don't really know how to open it but we get gas for today. We'll worry about it another day.
After we leave Vik, we barely see another car for miles and miles. We drove through lava fields for at lease 30 to 45 minutes. If we didn't know they were there we would not have known they were there. They were completely covered with snow with just a few peaks poking through every now and then.
Then it started to get dark. We were not going to make it to our hotel before dark. Darn! It's really out in the middle of nowhere. Even though we're on Iceland's Ring Road (Route 1) it is a skinny 2 lane road, with barely any traffic, sometimes lines painted on, some signage, most of which we can't read, and a lot of one lane bridges.
We drove and drove and drove. Al and Abby doubted that there was any hotel at all. They even made me question myself as to whether I booked it in the right place or not. I knew I should have bought this shirt that I saw on the first day! I knew it!!!!
Miles and miles of absolutely no sign of life.......No phone, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury, Like Robinson Crusoe, it's primitive as can be.
Is Anybody Out There?
Oh, It's a sight for sore eyes!
My 4 Star TripAdvisor Review:
Nice Hotel; Missing Some Details
This was a nice, clean, well maintained hotel. Beds were comfy. The location was convenient to Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach but definitely feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. The room was a little crowded but fine (we had a triple room). We stayed one night and arrived late and left early. We ate at the restaurant for dinner and found the food expensive but tasty. Check-in was easy. We found the staff friendly. I gave this hotel 4 stars instead of 5 because the shower had no place to put accessories (shampoo, facial soap, razor, etc) and even though the bathroom was very spacious, the bathroom sink was very small also with nowhere to put essentials such as make-up, brush, toothbrush, etc. Also, our door was very hard to close. We went back to the front desk for assistance and she had us slam the door very hard. Good thing we weren't coming or going after bed time.
Day 3......A long day with plenty to see and we still didn't see everything on the list.