Day Four, Iceland’s Ring Road
I’m running out of superlatives!
Our ‘to do’ list is long for today, so, in the chariot and saddled up by 8:30. We head back into Vik to catch the view across the bay and the Vik i Myrdal Church. There was a blanket of mist covering it yesterday, although drizzle was still hanging in the air this morning.
Today’s planned route should be a distance of around 172miles/278km. Which is predominately along the Ring Road, with regular spurs branching off to see the magnificent scenery.
Not a bad idea
We went distinctly low tech with a traditional foldout paper map for our Icelandic adventure.
Sure we'd mapped our route out beforehand, and we're using 'Etta's' inbuilt GPS. But somehow there's nothing better than checking your plans out the old fashioned way the night before your next adventure.
Cave to ourselves
No sooner we had departed Vik, and we were at our first planned stop at Hjörleifshöfði Cave (I can’t even attempt to pronounce that), just 9miles/15km along the road.
We headed about 2.5km along a gravel track, parked up and continued the last km on foot, across what appeared to be a lava track. It was certainly worth the walk, and we were the only ones there.
It felt quite eerie being on our own there, in silence as water dripped from the cave roof on to what only can be described as lunar landscape below.
Next stop along we detour off to visit the Fjaðrárgljúfur Gorge. Slightly boggier and damper than I’d hoped, but there is nothing you can do about the weather.
To appreciate the gorge’s full potential, you need to head up the hill (boots are needed here), peer over the crevice and you’ll be rewarded a with a stunning view of the gorge below and the river running along the bottom of the valley.
Foss a Sidu
With the rain beginning to worsen we jump back in the car and continue our journey. Weaving our way along the Ring Road, we are keeping our eyes peeled for ‘Foss a Sidu’ a roadside waterfall. We are treated to another couple of waterfalls en-route, but we held out. Even though you couldn’t get too close, it was still beautiful.
Then just around the bend, we are greeted with a raging river and waterfall, we couldn’t resist jumping out again.
Pièce de résistance
The next spectacle which was to emerge into our view was a glacier. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing, as we drove closer the ice blue vision was becoming large and almost appeared to swallow up the landscape in front of it.
Only a handful of occasions have I ever seen such a natural sight, so incredibly jaw-dropping.
As we continued further it crept closer, there was a viewpoint we headed along, and you were able to drive along a gravel track to the end.
However, it wasn’t until we got out that Gary noticed we could drive over the top of an incline and head closer to the glacier. Needless to say, that is what we did & it was stunning.
Continuing our drive along the side of the mountains we see ice caps encroaching from between the mountain tops.
How far will this tongue of the glacier shift within the next 1,000 years, I wonder?
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better.
Back on the Ring Road and we headed closer and closer towards one of the ice cap’s tongues. Turning off onto a very bumpy gravel track (not even deterring a motorhome), we arrived at the edge of the Svínafellsjökull glacier.
It was almost touching distance. I’ll say it again, but, it was breath-taking.
Gary and I very reluctantly left as “time waits for no man”, and diamonds were gathering for me on a black beach, or so I was told!!!
Diamonds are Forever
Even though the weather had turned to heavy rain it had not stopped us; we were on a high after the glacier, next stop Diamond Beach.
Well that put another smile on my face, although I had seen images of Jökulsárlón ice beach, I somehow really didn’t expect to see the crystal-clear jewels for myself, I didn’t think we would be that lucky.
How wrong was I, incredible once again, however a little bit too big for my gin & tonic?
Die Another Day
Has anyone spotted the Bond theme?
Across the road from Jökulsárlón ice beach is Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, here is where part of James Bond’s film Die Another Day was shot.
As huge parts of the glacier break away into the blue waters of the lagoon, icebergs are then seen floating in the peaceful waters. The Glacier Lagoon flows through into the Atlantic Ocean and washes up the huge chunks of ice that appear on the black sandy beach.
A short journey then onto Höfn where we refuelled and our base for the night.
The route that we took today was once again pretty straightforward along the Ring Road, with a few detours and stops along the way. So, in total, our journey was about 289km (180 miles) and with all the stops took us about 8 hours.
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Where we stayed
For the one night, we were based in Höfn; we stayed at the Milk Factory (yes it was an old milk factory).
The hotel was comfortable, it was just on the edge of town and did not have on-site restaurant facilities, so you needed to pop into Höfn to eat or pick up supplies.
It is in an incredibly peaceful location, and from our room, we could see the edge of a glacier.
Highlight of the Day
Every trip Gary and I go on, whether it’s a mini-break near or far or a road trip we chose a ‘Highlight of the Day’, here they are for day 4.
Janis; The glaciers without a doubt, there’s not much that can leave me standing in absolute awe.
Gary; Yep, it's the glacier for me too. To see the edge of a wall of ice that is flowing so slowly you can't see it, and is shaping the landscape - amazing.
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