Woohoo, no closed roads today! Headed North out of Laugarvatn to work our way around the Golden Circle. Strokkur exploded for us several times, got some great photos. Gullfoss was exactly what I thought it would be, powerful impressive multilevel waterfall with hundreds of tourists around it, still a great must see experience. Stopped in to explore Hjalparfoss, we had the entire waterfall to ourselves. There were only 4 other sightseeers while we were there! Drove a gravel road with Hekla in our sights and white lava rock covering the landscape. This would have been a harrowing drive in blizzard conditions. Made it to Vik and found the last room at the Einarsstadir Homestead for a reasonable price. The innkeeper, Andrew, was extremely friendly and directed us to a good restaurant and pointed us to the trail to the beach for some introspection and stargazing.
It was dfficult getting to sleep after seeing such an amazing Aurora Borealis last night. This morning we left Hotel Hafnarfjall and headed into Borgarbygga to fuel up the 4wd and stock up on snacks at the Bonus. The plan was basically to head mostly East and end up somewhere on the Golden Circle. Well, after checking out Deildartunguhver (hot springs,) Hraunfossar (waterfall,) and Barnafoss (waterfall,) we found that the road ahead of us was listed as an “F” road and closed until the summertime, so we backtracked. The paper map we had listed an alternate route that was NOT an “F” road so we took that. After at least 50km of both brand new paved road and gravel roads we were greeted by a road closed sign and were forced to backtrack once again. After about 6 hours later we passed our departure point and began making forward progress. Driving through the Thingvellir National Park from the North American to the Eurasian tectonic plates we finally reached our destination of Laugarvatn. Found a great room at the Galleri Laugarvatn, and are now preparing for a solid sleep!
Got off to a late start this morning, headed East on 54 from Stykkisholmur and circled the peninsula before ending up at the Hotel Hafnarfjall outside of Borgarnes. Wonderful day of exploring black beaches, forests (a thicket of pine trees,) lava caves, and insanely rugged terrain. It rained on us off an on all day long, showing us several rainbows. Stopped at the black beach at Djupalonssandur before our caving adventure, and decided that 1 hour just wasn’t enough time at the beach, so we went back for a much more detailed inspection! After a quick dinner at the Grill House, we hit made out way back to the hotel, immediately upon hopping in the hottub the Northern Lights began a fantastic show, dancing across the skies in reds and greens! Trying to get some sleep to prepare for another exciting day tomorrow.
Did some morning shopping then spent the day driving from Reykjavik to Stykkisholmur. Lots of great things to see along the way. Waterfalls, ice lakes, volcanoes, glaciers, mountains and islands everywhere. Drove into Stykkisholmur and found a wonderful BnB for less than $100/night. After a great meal of scallops, cod, tusk and sole, we called it a night. Too cloudy for the northern lights, keeping our fingers crossed for the rest of the week. Heading out on one of the Western peninsulas for some lava cave exploring tomorrow.
Today was spent recovering from the flights and trying to stay awake to get acclimated to GMT. We explored in and around Reykjavik. Some of today’s highlights included Haarpa Concert Hall, Hafnin (the harbor,) and Sólfarið – Sun Voyager (a beautiful piece on the Sculpture and Shore walk.) And yes we hit “that” museum! After a wonderful, but expensive, meal at Hafnin we retired to the smallest hotel room that I have ever had to rest our weary bodies. Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.
Safe and sound here in Reykjavik! 20 hours total travel time from when I left Ripple to when we secured in our rental car. All three of yesterday’s flights were packed like sardines, but Delta delivered is AND our luggage safe and sound within 15 minutes of our expected arrival time.
Made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, somehow both of us made the TSA pre-check list! Soon we will be in the air on our way… At this point even the 15-hour upcoming flight time doesn’t hinder the excitement.
Well, Iceland is less than a week away now. ~10 hours of flight time, with a 2.5 hour layover in both Atlanta and New York for a total travel time of 15:05, NOT counting ground transportation! Could be worse, the return flight is 20:42, the things we do for $232 round trip airfare…
I’ll try to post regular updates and photos while I’m travelling depending on what kind of internet access I can find.
The Galapagos Islands were amazing in 2017, ready for Iceland and the BVI’s in 2018!