Day 1, Iceland

Dan and I boarded our flight from Toronto to Keflavik at 9 pm and arrived just 5 1/2 hours (too short!!!, but too long as well… but that’s another story) later. Our bags arrived, and we breezed through customs and were ready to get our car and hit the road.

An hour and a half later, Dan got us a car and we headed towards the Blue Lagoon. (I’ll let Dan tell you about the rental car saga!). This wondrous spot is only about 1/2 an hour from the airport, and a must stop…even if just to see and not immerse yourself. (Actually taking in the bath experience will run you upwards of $120 USD PP. It probably would have been lovely, but so was the walk around the area and soaking in the alien beauty of this place. By the way, there are a number of other hot springs that are available , some being free!

You know you’re approaching a geothermal hotspot when a) you can see the steam rising miles away, and b) when you open your car window to take a photo and you need to immediately defrost the inside windows!
I swear, I could have spent the day here!!

After our walk about (including buying an extra strong coffee!) we decided to continue our trip towards our hotel. We drove along the southern coast for a while to more spectacularly alien views!

The rocks (lava sourced) are covered in moss for the most part and it is verboten to walk on any moss! In other words, stick to the walking paths only!

Given our early start, we arrived at the hotel by 11:30 am in spite of us taking the longer route and stopping at the Blue Lagoon.

We drove through a number of small villages and farms and then turned north toward Hella where our hotel lay only 15 minutes further.

Our reception at the Hotel Laekur was fabulous. A woman greeted us at reception and told us that our room wasn’t quite ready, but that she could have it ready in 15 minutes. In the meantime she brewed me a fresh americano coffee and served Dan and I a plate of homemade squares that she had baked that morning. Yum!

She was back in 10 and showed us around the hotel and then to our room. Dan was ready for a bit of a nap, but I wanted to get walking to try and work through the jet lag. She showed me a lovely walking path across a quaint farm bridge and I was off for an hour while Dan adjusted his clock with a rest.

Here’s a pic of our hotel from the bridge with our corner room circled and our little Toyota hybrid there as well.
We also discovered that our hotel has a terrific view of Mt Hekla, a volcanic mountain that is still very active. Hekla, meaning “hooded one” was dubbed by the Vikings as the gateway to hell!

Once I got back to the room, Dan was up and raring to go. Our hotel had several days trips that they recommended, and we decided we would do the “Southern Shore” of the circle route where we visited several beautiful waterfalls, one that even gushed into a hidden canyon; a old Icelandic settlement; Iceland’s version of Pearce rock and the black sand beach and basalt columns at Reynisfjara.

Our first rainbow at Seljalandsfosss (that means a) we’re lucky cause b) it was sunny!). Unfortunately it was closed off to venture-into behind the falls due to ice, and rock falls! Again, perhaps we were lucky!
Water canyon at Gljufurarbul I was able to climb into the canyon about 20 ft…amazing and a bit wet!
Another rainbow at Skogafoss
A lesser traveled falls at Kvermufoss required a bit of a hike, but well worth the intimate viewing
We almost felt like we wee in Hobbiton with these homes buried into the side of a hill…can be seen at the Skogar museum

Next we drove further south along the coast until we arrived at this breath taking promitory. There is a lighthouse in between the sea rock bearing 2 arches from the lashing seas and a glacier to the north. Not much to look at at all!

Sea arch at Dyrholaey
Black sand beach at Dyrholaey
Lighthouse overlooking it all with the glacier as a backdrop!

Just a short way along the No. 1 from there we came to yet another breathtaking black beach. This one had basalt columns rising out of the ground looking much like a pipe organ!

Reynisfjara, black beaches, basalt columns rising out of the beach and rock statues standing guard!
More incredible rock formations just hanging in that hostile weather.
Stunning beach looking back on the rock arches. Interesting how the sun sits low in the sky even a few hours before sunset, given everything a golden hue!

Well, we had reached the end of our trek for today. It was homeward bound. With lots of walking and a little sleep we were ready for our supper! Tonight, the hotel was serving fresh arctic char, and it was yum!

After dinner we took a brief stroll to try and wake us up a bit. I’ve been watching the Aurora Borealis forecasts and tonight will be our best chance over the next few days where activity is said to be moderate rather than light. (Iceland, as you may know is on the Arctic Circle making winter sighting of the northern lights commonplace. It’s a clear sky, and we’ll push to stay up until midnight if possible. You’ll be the first to know if we had any success! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this calming scene that is right outside our back door! Until Tomorrow!

The farm sheep are ready for shearing, and looking at the size of their bellies they are ready for another spring activity!
And a bonus! These Icelandic horses are everywhere it seems!
Categories: Hiking in Iceland and the UK

1 comment

  1. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.



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