Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Part V - Skogafoss, Vik, Skaftafell, Hofn

The next morning we woke up to a nicer day, and this beautiful rainbow just outside.

After a nice breakfast, we said goodbye to the Country Hotel Anna and Kongur but before we left I purchased my new favorite hand knitted hat. At the hotel there were some lovely woollen items for sale, hand knitted by a local family. The prices were actually quite good when compared to the prices I'd seen elsewhere, and I couldn't resist a really cute hat.

We continued our drive along the ring road, and soon arrived at the village of Skogar. Supposedly there's a nice folk museum here but we decided to skip that and drove to the Skogafoss waterfall instead.

Further along the Ring road we tried to get to Dyrhólaey, a strange arch rock formation by the sea, however the road was closed due to the nesting and breeding season.

Our next stop was the village of Vik. We stopped there to get supplies at the supermarket (which stocked yarn and Addi turbo needles, imagine how happy I was to find that out) and decided to explore the black sandy beach nearby. It's a beautiful spot, with dramatic cliffs and rocks where a colony of birds was nesting (see Reynisdrangar).

The plans for that day included a detour on the F206 gravel road to the Laki Vulcano area and the beautiful Fagrifoss waterfall. The "Impassable" sign at the start of the road should've told us something was up, but we decided to ignore it and continued on. The road was incredibly bumpy, and it seemed to stretch for ages since we had to drive quite slowly. After a long drive we eventually reached a river crossing that looked quite deep. A. went to check it out, and decided it would not be wise to try the crossing, so we turned back.

The weather was quite dismal by then and we were starving, so by the time we reached the Ring Road again we stopped by a farm nearby to ask for a place to lunch. They directed us to the wonderful and cosy Systra Kaffi, in nearby Kirkjubæjarklaustir . There are not many places outside of Reykjavik that serve hot and delicious food all day long, but this was one of the best.

Lunch was reinvigorating, and after that we continued on to the Skaftafell National Park, close to Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Iceland (and Europe).

During our way that day we passed through several sandur areas, the largest being the Skeiðarársandur. These are bleak desolate places, large areas of black sand that stretch for miles.

Arriving in Skaftafell we didn't have time for a lengthy hike so we decided to go for the Svartifoss waterfall, climb to the top of the mountain on the other side and come back.

On the way we saw a couple more waterfalls, including Hundafoss.

Svartifoss is an unusual waterfall because of its setting among the lava columns.

The way up the mountain is relatively easy, but the wind was going really strong. And from the top we were able to see a sand storm blowing in the sandur area nearby.

sand storm in the sandur

showing off our new hats

Leaving Skaftafell we had barely enough time to stop at the beautiful and famous Jokulsarlon glacier lake before heading out towards Hofn, where we'd be staying that night. It was raining and freezing cold by then, but I think the lake is impressive under any condition. I'll make a separate post about it next.

The guesthouse at Hofn was nice and friendly, but unremarkable. The restaurant we chose for dinner, however, was something else. The Kaffi Ornio is located in the main road, at the start of the village, and offers amazing food for reasonable prices.

And after dinner, the guys still had the energy to go out and take some photos inside a boat nearby.

Ring road to Vik, Skaftafell, Jokulsarlon and Hofn
Detour on road F206 to Laki

Systra Kaffi,Kirkjubæjarklaustir
Kaffi Ornio, Hofn

Guesthouse Asgardur, Hofn

More photos at Flickr:

1 comment:

craftoholic said...

I went to Iceland 10 years ago and visited everything you did, my friends live in Skogar just a few minutes from the waterfall. Your photos are beautiful and bring back many wonderful memories. I'm so glad to see that not much has changed. Of all the places I've ever visited, Iceland remains my favorite.