Monday, March 27, 2017

Four go to Iceland – Day 2: Heading South

The focus today is to explore more of Iceland, but further afield than Reykjavik. Obviously, the key ‘event’ whilst we’re here will be to experience The Northern Lights but according to all the checks we’ve made, tomorrow and Wednesday are the two evenings where the chance of experiencing this phenomena are the highest. I just read Rhiannon’s post on Facebook (from last night) and she and Jake managed to see them before they flew home – so we’re cautiously optimistic!
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Back to today though: as has become the routine, our first task was to head down to breakfast for a quick nibble, but after yesterday morning’s experience of a ‘rugby scrum’ at 9.15, we were about an hour earlier today. Our earlier visit paid-off and breakfast was much more relaxing!

Suitably stuffed, by 8.45 we were on the road in our trusty Hyundai Tucson hire-car, ready for today’s mission - we’re heading south to explore the country – some 400 kilometres round-trip. Ralph drove today with me navigating.
 
With our more traditional map as well as Google Maps, we were ready to go, and by 9am, we were on the road heading for the southern-most populated village of Iceland – Vik, by way of (mostly) Highway 1.

 
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After a hour-or-so, it was a quick pitstop at KFC!

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No sign of the Colonel!

Once we were back in the car, one thing we immediately noticed, was that the weather was a vast improvement on yesterday. No sign of rain and those biting winds – instead, a very pleasant 3 degrees C (and rising). Even the view from the car whilst we drove along the (mostly deserted roads) looked inviting
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(Click on the individual pics for a larger version)

Our first major stop was the first of a number of waterfalls – Seljalandsfoss

Spectacular, doesn’t even begin to describe it! Wow!
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Back in the car to our next waterfall, we passed a field of Icelandic Horses – they’re like larger versions of Shetland Ponies!


Horsing around in Iceland

Another day, another waterfall! our next visit was Skogafoss This was much larger than the one at Seljalandsfoss, and if the previous was spectacular, this was even more-so! The temperature was now up to a very pleasant 7 degrees!

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Err, ‘Wow!’

I guess we were all ‘waterfalled-out’ now, and if we had been wowed by those watery scenes, nothing could have prepared us for our next stop – scenes at Dyrholaey.

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Err, ‘Wow!’ (again!)

Next stop was the Lighthouse at Dyrholaey
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On the short walk there we passed the spectacular view of The Black Beach

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The Black Beach in Vik

I refuse to overuse the word: ‘Wow!’ (nope, couldn’t resist it!!!)

Wow!

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Authentic local Icelandic ‘Greasy Spoon’

After blowing our senses with the scenery, we gave them a good rest and retreated to a local greasy-spoon in Vik for a quick nibble before heading for a restaurant that Ann had found in her local Guide Book in the town of Eyrarbakki – The Rauoa Husio (translates to ‘Red House).

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The Rauoa Husio Restaurant

This was a quiet unhurried affair and a family-owned business. The food and service was second-to-none and we were made to feel very welcome. As is normal with eating-out here, it costs way more than in England, but it really felt like it was worth every penny krona!
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Two hours later, content that we’d sampled the local fish and we headed for a quiet and dark spot to dress-rehearse our plans for seeing the Northern Lights later this week. Helpfully, our Server had pointed us in the right direction for a suitable location, and after a short drive, we were in position (and so was a coach-load of demented Japanese on tour). What they lacked in photography skills (no use using a flash in these conditions), they made up for in noise – and lying on the ground to get the best view of the sky. Equally though, my photography skills weren’t up to the mark either, as although we saw a brief display of the Lights, I wasn’t able to capture anything on film.
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By 10pm, we decided to head back to the Hotel and Ralph took the wheel for the 50 minute journey.

Phew! What a day. I think our senses had been on overload for most of it due to the stunning scenery – and consequently Ann and I were shattered.

Weather permitting, we’re heading West tomorrow for more exploring.

Nighty-night!