–> I have a confession to make. After yesterday’s blog post I was finished, there was nothing left in me to write the events of the day. Still getting the hang of things I guess!!
We woke up around 8:30am and headed for the complimentary breakfast at our hotel. I made fresh waffles for myself, and ate that with some fruit, OJ, and coffee to keep me awake since today it was my turn to drive. Aaron ate… some sketchy fish thing which later made him sick. But to his defence, it could have also been the hardboiled egg and yogurt he downed.
After checking out and paying the hefty fee for last night’s dinner, we piled into the car and were off. First, we got gas, then started on the 275km drive to the town of Höfn. We made an unexpected stop during the drive, to look at moss-covered rocks. The signposts told us about a volcanic eruption that caused sulfur and phosphorous to essentially poison and weaponize plants, making the environment extremely volatile and uninhabitable. Since then, this thick, springy moss has covered everything. Nature’s trampoline, I would say.
Our next stop happened almost unexpectedly. Vatnajökull National park is home to a GIANT glacier, and unbeknownst to me, Svartifoss Waterfall. A cool 8km hike later, we were at the mouth of the most breathtaking geological formation I have ever laid eyes on. Flanking Svartifoss are basalt column walls, which are a sharp geometric contrast against the green moss and flowing waters. Feast your eyes!! (p.s. check out Aaron’s blog for HD photos that really show off its beauty!!)
After scaling a few rocks and forcing Aaron to take a ton of pictures for me, we headed back down the trail and marvelled at how steep we had been climbing on the way there. The stairmaster has NOTHING on this hike. If you’re visiting Iceland and don’t make the time to come see this… I am thoroughly judging you.
As soon as we got to the car, I inhaled 2 cliff bars and a bottle of water, and we powered through to Jokulsarlon, which for those of you that don’t know, is a fucking fairytale.
This is it folks. This is what dreams are made of. It’s essentially a lagoon filled with bits and pieces of glacier that have broken and floated off. Again, my shitty iPhone pictures DON’T do this place justice. I didn’t want to lug around my GoPro, iPhone AND DSLR (especially since I’m not comfortable enough with the manual settings to use it to its full potential) so I let Aaron do the HD photos for the entire trip (again, check out his blog for better representations!!)
After parking, and breathing in some of the crispest, coolest air I have ever had the privilege to breathe, we climbed down to the beach to get up close and personal with these giant pieces of ice. I spotted a boat tour station and the curiosity was too much for me to look away. Surprisingly, the tour on the amphibian boat was a cheap 50.000 ISK (roughly $50 CAD) per person, which considering last night’s dinner, was more than a bargain. After buying tickets for the 5:40 tour, Aaron and I headed back down to the beach to snap some more photos.
With my camera strapped to my chest, and memories of my 2010 trip to Alaska fresh in my mind, the boat headed into the water. I’m SO glad we decided to splurge on the tour. We saw an iceberg flip over, seals playing around, and even got a taste of 1000 year old ice! I also feel it’s worth mentioning that the tour guides were cute af. I was definitely smitten.
By the time we got off the boat, Aaron and I were mindblown at how much the scenery had changed in the hour since we had stood there. The glaciers, and the tide from the ocean had completely transformed and pushed the icebergs closer to shore. We spotted some more seals, took some more photos, and even witnessed a huge breaking iceberg that seemed to defy the laws of physics before a theatrical fall into the water. Aaron wanted to leave after the first break, but I was determined to watch the last piece of this iceberg fall, and I’m so glad I listened to my gut, because it was magnificent!
Back in the car and on the road again, people were passing us left and right…. Don’t know why though as I was going with the speed limit. Something I don’t normally do at home, but with these Icelandic roads, it’s good to err on the side of caution… something which was proven when a family of sheep were on the road a few kilometres later! Aaron snapped some quick photos while I braked to let them pass; yay for safety!
Aaron was starving at this point, so we quickly checked in to our hotel and checked his Lonely Planet travel guide for good places to eat in Höfn. We found a cheap, diner-style restaurant called Hafnarbu∂in, and I had arguably one of the best burgers of my entire life.
Our hotel, called Milk Factory, is apparently an old Milk-Factory turned ikea-esque hotel. It’s my favourite of the trip so far. Clean, spacious, and don’t even get me started on the aesthetics of the bathroom!
I showered, which was an absolute treat and vacation in and of itself, and settled down to write yesterday’s blog post.. which took a lot out of me. After that I just messed around on social media for a little before catching up on importing my GoPro footage.
I stayed up till about 2am, which I blame on this Icelandic sun that never sets. It’s hard to get tired enough to doze off when your melatonin is all out-of-whack!
- Steps Walked: 13,114
- Flights of Stairs Climbed: 48