Not the best start this morning, given that I woke up with a horrific sore throat, aches and a runny nose. Life goes on, a threw some pills down me and headed for the usual hotel buffet breakfast, substituting bacon for porridge, and juice for honey tea.
We were receiving a hire car for 2 days, this arrived at around 11am. The plan for the day was to drive down the ‘1’ highway round the southern coast of Iceland and stop off at some sights along the way.
We pulled over at a ‘bonus’ supermarket along the way to try and find some strepsils (sore throat medicine) but to no avail, we did however grab some drinks and snacks for the road, a bottle of juice and 3 random chocolate bars for yours truly – I thought it akin to unwrapping presents at christmas as I had no idea what type of chocolate it might be. One cool thing worth mentioning about this supermarket, instead of having aisles with fridges, they have just decided to build one giant walk in fridge and throw all of the milk, fish, meat etc in there.
First major stop, Selandjafoss, also known as the waterfall you can walk behind. True to its unoffical description, the water falls wide from the cliff it is apart of, and falls into a small pool at the bottom before going downstream. The spray from the falling water was pretty insane, especially when paired with the wind. We walked behind and around it as expected, the pathway was less concrete than we had anticipated though, with the majority of it being mud and sharp rocks, the final climb at the end being more akin to rock climbing than a staircase.
We also took a little walk further down where there were 2 other, smaller waterfalls to look at. These were still pretty, though obviously not quite on the same scale as the one we had come especially to see.
I think it’s also around this time I cracked open the first of my mystery chocolate bars, a horrific double stick of liquorice lay in the centre of the milk chocolate bar, the nuts on the outside poking through the packaging had given me false hope. I hate liquorice 🙁
Second major stop was the incredible Skogafoss, yet another waterfall, this time falling straight down and into a pool, with scale over other features. Mr Sun had decided to make a special appearance for this one, and blessed us with double rainbows through the water spray. Easily the most beautiful thing i’ve seen in Iceland thus far.
Getting close to it to take photos was rewarded with a camera lens full of water, and getting close to it to let my mum take a photo of me was greeted by a face full of water, yet so worth it for the pictures and memories. I think that picture of me in the waterfall is my favourite shot of the holiday.
We also trekked up a side path to the top of the nearby hill to see the top of the waterfall, though that turned out to be less impressive than the general view out to the mountains. I think it was around 400-500 steps or so to get up there, so pretty tiring stuff, with the wind battering us around, I was particularly worried the wind might blow my father off the side of the staircase as there are parts with no handrail and the stairs themselves were of questionable quality and coated with a reassuring layer of rust.
Next stop was the village of Vik, somewhere around the southernmost point of the island. Vik is famed for its black volcanic sands and cubic stone formations, unfortunately for us, the weather had taken a turn for the worst, and so all that was there for us at Vik was a salvo of attacks from the wind and a high tide which barred us from getting around to seeing the stone formations. bummer. Here is a picture I took of the black sands anyway though.
Desperately trying to find something to make our trip to Vik worthwhile, we searched our map for anything that looked vaguely interesting. A national park emblem was over some name I can’t even remember, vaguely west of Vik. What the hell we thought, and head off in that direction following random signposts and our sat-nav. About 3 miles into some random field we cut our losses and turned back.
Our last destination was Dyrhólaey, a small peninsula just west of Vik, supposedly you can see an elephant looking rock formation here, but once again, all we got was a face full of wind and some broken promises. The high tide and rough waves barred us from having any chance at going around the coast to admire the cliffs so we took didn’t hang around for too long before heading back to ol’ Reykjavik.
The drive back to the city felt much longer than the drive out, the icelandic speed limit being a pathetic 90km/h (56mph), the roads themselves were straight and easy to drive at least, and host to a lovely horizon full of mountains and glaciers, as well as cattle and more icelandic horses. There seems to be an odd trend of crazy farmers building small shacks at the bottom of mountains, as if they want a boulder to roll down and murder them in their sleep, I’m not sure whats up with that. The barren landscape of Iceland did remind me of Minecraft though, just huge plains with mountains, and then random summer houses and farms strewn about the place, with little concern for geography or accessibility, maybe they just want some peace and quiet.
I got to try my hand at a little bit of driving in the hire car, an automatic Toyota Yaris, the left hand drive was weird, as was driving on the right hand side of the road, but I guess you get used to it eventually. Im not sure i’d trust myself driving around the city though.
Back in Reykjavik and it’s around 9pm, we did had a small late lunch at a service station back in Vik (just a sandwich and chips, nothing special) so we figured we’d go for some conveyer belt sushi, as we wouldn’t be locked in to eating a full meal at least. The sushi wasn’t particularly amazing though, nor was it much fun to photograph. We went for another hotdog afterwards, tasted better the second time around, despite already being full from sushi.