On the fourth day of our holiday we embarked on a 14 hour day trip along the South Coast of Iceland to the glacier lagoon at Jokulsarlon.
Our first stop was at Skogafoss.
The spray hit you before you were anywhere near the waterfall so we got pretty wet!
The landscape is incredible.
I found the sight of the glacier incredible-to me it almost seemed like a living thing. (Apologies for the photo- taken through the coach window)
We passed vast lava fields.
At Jokulsarlon, an amphibious vehicle took us out onto the lagoon and among the icebergs.
I took many pictures of the icebergs, which appear blue because the ice is so dense and are striped with layers of volcanic ash. They are such beautiful shapes and shades. I'm sure I will be using them as inspiration for my textile art in the future.
This is the edge of the glacier that the icebergs break off from before floating through the lagoon and out to sea.
On the far side of this bridge, some of the bergs get washed up onto the beach.
On the boat we got to taste ice that is thousands of years old. To be honest, it tasted just like ice from a freezer- tray!
The final stop of the day was at Seljalandsfoss. I was so excited as I have always wanted to be able to walk behind a waterfall. The spray was really cold and fresh.
Leifur Eiriksson statue. The Viking who was the first European to discover America.
Gift shop window.
Loo stop! I am always scared that the door will swing open before I have finished or that the loo will start its rinse cycle while I am still inside!
The view while waiting for the loo! (I'm pleased to say I got out in one piece!!)
Coffee break- one of many!
A statue that I nicknamed "Woman with Kettle-bells". She looks really tired, bless her! Actually, she probably was very tired. The statue, by Asmundur Sveinsson, depicts a woman who carried water to every household in town, year round. Boy, must she have been strong!
If you have followed my blog for a while, you will know of my long lasting love affair with the Isle of Skye. Well, Iceland is like Skye on steroids, only more volcanic and with fewer trees! We only saw a small fraction of the country, but it had the majesty of Skye. It is mountainous, bleak in places with vast stretches of volcanic ash deserts.
On the second full day of our holiday, we took a coach trip- which turned out to be a minibus- along one of the tourist trails to see some of the natural phenomena in the area.
Part of me struggles with doing the touristy stuff along with a load of other people, but the bus driver was quite funny and interesting and I guess it was the easiest way we were going to see some of Iceland's amazing places.
At Pingvellir National Park we walked through a rift where the Eurasian and North American continental plates are separating. (I was a bit bamboozled about what we were actually walking on in that case and what was underneath :S. I didn't take Geography as an option at school!!)
We drove on to where a natural hot spring feeds into this lake. You can see in the picture below that the water at the edge of the lake was actually boiling, which again was a bit mind- boggling!. The chef from a nearby restaurant wraps and buries food in the hot sand and leaves it to cook.
This whole area is a geothermal region where heat from the earth's core is close to the surface. We went to the original hot water spout, Geysir which has been active for around 800 years. It spouts water up to 80 metres in the air.
I have to confess to being a little disappointed when we first arrived here. It felt a bit "theme- parky" with restaurants and a gift shop. There is a paved pathway leading up to the Geysir, which is roped off so that visitors form a circle around it, "oohing" and "ahhing" as it spouts and it felt as though the awesomeness of this as a naturally occurring wonder was a bit lost. However, from a particular view point, you can see the water broiling away, then bubbling up into a pressurized bubble before whooshing up in a huge spout. The deep depression in the ground then sucks the water back in. That really IS awesome!
(Sorry, my daughter's arm kept photobombing my pictures!)
These pools are HOT and the blue colour is due to dissolved silica.
The next stop was Gullfoss, a raging, powerful waterfall with rainbows forming in the spray. It was chilly here in spite of the sunshine and we quickly became soaked by the spray, but it was refreshing!
On the return journey we stopped at a much smaller waterfall which was interesting as a fish ladder had been created on the left to help the salmon return upriver to their spawning grounds.
Our final stop was at the edge of a dual carriageway (!) where thick (and I mean THICK) moss grows on the lava fields. It is like walking on a sheep's fleece. We were very careful to tread lightly as the moss takes hundreds of years to grow and the landscape can be scarred if it is damaged. The bus driver pointed out areas where people had picked out their names from the moss over forty years ago and they are still very visible.