Reynisfjara Beach, Dyrhólaey, Lava Fields, & Northern Lights
We woke up early in Hof and started driving west. Our destination for tonight was The Garage. We stayed here earlier in the trip and will be returning. It's a great place and nice location. We are planning on several stops along the way.
We drove for miles through vast lava fields on both sides of the road. Some of the formations were quite interesting and unique.
I hiked through unchartered snow to get a closer look.
We drove in and out of rain, ice, clouds and sun. I had read from many people that Iceland's weather changes very quickly and often. TRUE TRUE TRUE
We spotted a tall waterfall on the side of the road, so we stopped to grab a few pics and just as we got set up it started to rain.
Here's me trying to stay warm waiting for my slow shutter and Abby trying to get just the right angle.
We climbed the fence for a closer look and that's actually when it started to rain. We grabbed our gear and ran, but by the time we climbed the fence and got back to our car, we were pretty wet and cold!
On to Vik now. We were here a few days ago and it pretty much looks the same except that there is a lot less snow.
Vik, in 500 characters or less.
Onto the Wool Factory.......Abby likes my new mitten/gloves so much that she wants some too. They are very warm! Plus she's been dying for the sheep in a blanket. I think he should be called Lambchop but she thinks that's too harsh.
He is pretty cute:)
I love the puffin sweater, but we live in Florida, and will hopefully be able to return once Coronavirus is contained, and she thinks it's too itchy. So we'll remember it with this picture.
We saw several penguin and polar bear souvenirs, including nesting dolls of both, which Abby collects, and she considered getting them until I pointed out that Iceland does not have polar bears or penguins. She bought nesting puffins, which are very cute.
I did ask a couple of locals about the polar bear souvenirs and discovered that polar bears ocassionally arive on the island on icebergs from Greenland! WOW! How Awesome would that be to see?
What are the odds? Since we haven't seen any yet, I found this picture on Guide to Iceland - so much valuable information if you're traveling here. Thanks so Much!!!
I would like to say that it was an iceberg miracle, but........I'm pretty sure I took these about 10 years ago and defintely not in Iceland. We will be heading toward the Westfjords tomorrow, so we'll cross our fingers and keep our eyes open again.
As for the penguin souvenirs, I guess it's just wishful thinking. I don't know of any species found in the wild in the northern hemisphere.
Well.....Back to reality. The Wool Factory sits just at the edge of town as you're heading east. The town is small with part of it sitting on top of the hill and the rest in the valley by the water.
If you haven't figured out by now, I am a very N E S W person. I can ususally read any map, except those crazy fun amusement park maps. I'm always lost in those parks unless I can determine North right away. This does not explain why we have been lost in Iceland every day.
These little bird houses were right along route 1.
Overview map of Vik to help you put things in perspective.
We've come to our first touristy stop for today, Reynisfjara Beach. It is a very popular black sand beach, one of the most well known in the entire world. From Vik, it's about a 10 - 15 minute drive unless the road number is unmarked and you drive right on by.
The rock formation, Reynisdrangar sea stacks, sits at the end of the beach and sort of looks like a natural amphitheater.
I read at some point that several movies were filmed here - Game of Thrones and Star Wars - not sure what else.
A closer look.
This wall is really pretty BIG!
Get ready to run!
Reynisfjara has also appeared on the top ten list of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. It is definitely pretty amazing.
BEWARE of the powerful waves on this beach. They are known as sneaker waves and we saw several people, including us, run to escape these enormous waves crashing in. Some people got wet way past their knees - not fun on such a cold day.
$5000 camera mounted on a tripod and he's shooting with his phone. I completely understand.
The amphitheater is much larger and deeper than it appears.
DANGER DANGER WARNING WARNING
Love the basalt columns.
She almost got washed off of this wall.
A view of Dyrhólaey from quite a distance.
We wanted to hike to the large arch from the plateau but it was a long walk and up pretty high which meant super cold and extra windy. The arch is so large that a plane actually flew through it! Notice the lighthouse on top of the plateau. It is built to resemble a castle.
We made a quick stop by Dyrhólaey Lookout again. This is such a beautiful area. I love it here!
Way off in the background, you can see Reynisdrangar sea stacks and the basalt columns.
More lava fields on the way back to the Ring Road. I hiked all over these huge rocks. Looking south to the Dyrhólaey Plateau.
Looking southeast toward Reynisfjara Beach
The lake in the lava fields was still half frozen with a clear line defining open water and ice.
Lots of colorful farms along the way.
We finally found some sheep to take a picture of. They usually are in the barns or are too far off the road. These are some BIG sheep, especially the one walking away.
We arrived back at the Garage - same room as before #5 and this time Anna has baked almond bread for us - YUM!
She recommended a restaurant just down the road for dinner, so we checked it out. When we arrived, a friendly pooch greeted us on the road.
He sat on the road and stared at us all the way to the restaurant door.
Initially, we were the only ones there. The chef came out and explained all the dishes to us. I chose Salmon, Abby picked Lamb, and Al ordered Wild Duck.
Today's teenagers do not know how to be bored. They must always be entertained. They can probably never imagine sitting in the grass for hours looking for 4 leaf clovers or making animals out of the clouds passing by. It is fun to watch their creativity though.
Shortly after we ordered, the other guests who are also staying at The Garage came in. Even though they sat across the room from us, we spoke about our travels in Iceland and where we're all from. Germany for them. We've seen very few Americans on this trip. Many from Germany and Asia.
Entertaining ourselves while waiting for our food.
When our food arrived, the chef explained what was on each plate and let Abby know that her lamb came from their neighbor, and told Al to watch out for bullets in the duck. NOT kidding!
All of our food was good!
Just a little potty humor.
Meanwhile back at The Garage.......we were watching the Northern Lights apps and graphs in hopes of seeing the Auroras.
What are Northern Lights? Maybe Abby's explanation will help.
We couldn't see anything from our guest-house, so we decided to venture out. We didn't know the area, but we did know that there was a side road near Seljalandsfoss Falls that should give us open sky to the north.
It worked out nice for us.
The glow was low and close to the horizon, so it's good that we sought out a flat area.
We tried to take a few pictures from roadside stops but had the best success right in the Seljalandsfoss parking lot - even though they have big lights lighting the falls.
This was shot at the end of the night and from a long distance. It was very cold and dark. The sidewalks and parking lot were still not completely cleared so we didn't venture too far from our car.
So glad we ventured out! I'm so amazed by the number of stars in the sky!!! WOW WOW ; WOW
Day 6......It's a Wrap!