On to Skaftafell

From June 2009:

My third day driving around Iceland was also my first sunny day. I started off by visiting the black sand beach at Vík. It was a gorgeous day and I wandered around the beach for a bit just enjoying the sun. Here I saw my first green net washed up on the beach. I found nets much like these washed up all around iceland. I don´t remember seeing this particular colour of net before, but it seems to be fairly ubiquitous here. After buying some gas and food I was on the road for the day.

The landscapes I was driving past today were unique to me. The south coast at this point is a volcanic plain, and the character varied by how old the lava flows were, and whether there was a glacial flood plain as well. The most unique looking parts for me are also the geologically youngest parts. On these sections there are miles and miles of moss covered boulders. The moss is so thick it looks lucky an extremely lumpy lawn, and if you walk on it its as though its one huge soft mattress. I managed only one picture of this that I was happy with, here. This doesn´t give any indication of the vast sweeping landscapes covered with this exact carpet of lumpy moss though.

The next place I stopped to take pictures was a little place called Dverghamrar. This is a couple of small hills formed by columnar basalt. The name comes from norse dwarves, Dvergar. The local people believed they lived under these hills and sang there.

After this it was off to Skaftafell National park, which contains much of the largest Glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull. This was apparently a day for columnar basalt, because the main waterfall in Skaftafell is an incredibly beautiful example of this rock. It looks like organ pipes around a huge waterfall, for example here. I spent a long time here in the mist from the waterfall trying to get some interesting pictures. It was very cool. The hike to the water fall was a mile and a half or so and there were another few waterfalls to enjoy along the way so it was well worth the effort. After this it was time to head to my guest house, Frost og fire in Hof. Right nextdoor to the guesthouse was my first Icelandic (the first of many). It was also my first experience with the sod construction which was so important to Iceland through much of its history. They didn’t have many building materials so they use stacks of sod for walls. They had very good insulating qualities, but they didn’t last very long. This is one of the reasons for a lack of very old buildings in iceland despite the long history there. In this graveyard they also piled sod above each grave, and this led to a very interesting landscape.

Anyhow, after taking pictures of the church it was time for me to rest, despite the fact that there was still many hours of sunlight left. At this time of the year they only get a bit of twilight for an hour or so around 1 in the morning.

So, without further ado here is the gallery:

Iceland 2009 Day 4: Vík to Skaftafell


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