Iceland, Day 4, July 24–Skaftafell on the South Ring Road

We spent the day hiking and exploring the mountain above the glacier…the Vatnajokull National Park is very popular camping area and colorful tents blossomed everywhere.  

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We had gray skies and drizzle, but that didn’t stop our exploration of several waterfalls above the glacier.  You’ve probably noticed, “foss” means waterfall…

 Hundafoss was our first stop.

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At Svartifoss we had a great example of the basalt rock formation common in Iceland.  

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This ancient molten stone is crystalized in a honeycomb formation.  

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We saw a modern interpretation of this at the Harpa Performing Arts Theater in Reykjavik.  More to come on that…

We hiked across the mountain,

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Found an interesting sculture.

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Another waterfall at Magnusarfoss

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With an interesting pattern in the stream feeding the falls

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Before finally reaching the glacier…

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and the great overlook of the ice field from the top of the mountain.

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In the rain, we had a slippery trip down the mountain

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And came to a boardwalk path near the bottom.

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From the hotel, we headed to a final exploration before dinner.

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We found a hidden glacial lagoon with ice bergs…a teaser of what we hope to find tomorrow!

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Plus the wild glacial flowers were beautiful.

The giant Hogweed was everywhere and grew from an interesting bulb on the stem.  Like the Bradford pear, its scented like carrion to attract pollenators…

Flowers-weed_at_waterfall

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Puple gentian amd yellow Alpine Cinquefoil

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Bluebells

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Tiny orchid

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We haven’t talked about the cost of traveling in Iceland…the Kronur exchage rate is better than before the economy collapsed, but purchases were still expensive.  Gas was about $8 a gallon but as I mentioned, we loved driving our own car and setting our own pace.

Our meals were interesting too… a breakfast buffet was included with our rooms.  It was pretty standard throughout the trip, but Skaftafell outdid themselves.

We went to the local grocery and bought fruit and the makings for a light lunch for most days.  We bought a trusty little cooler and used it to keep our beer and wine chilled, too. Dinner most often was at the hotel, since we often were in remote areas with few options. Although we were really off the beaten path, the lamb and Arctic Char were fantastic. The whole trip, we had the best fish ever!  One cost-saver: there is no tipping in Iceland.

Icelandic wool sweaters were sold everywhere, in varying qualities.  Prices never varied across the Island…we didn’t buy any.

Next day we’re off to more icebergs and the Eastern Fjords!

 

 

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