Category Archives: Culture

Snaefellsnes 

I arrived at the Snaefellsnes peninsula yesterday, the final leg of my tour. The sky was clear yesterday and that meant some great photos but since the sun is so low in the sky all day it was quite challenging to drive.

I didn’t complain about clear skies last night since the northern lights were out in their full glory! I saw several shooting stars and while a little cool outside, I was quite warm in my new Icelandic wool sweater.

Awesome photography last night! I can’t wait to edit my photos!!

   
    
 

Skyr and little spoons

I have been eating a lot of Skyr. Iceland’s yoghurt. Damn it’s good.

What is quite interesting is the fact that it comes with a fold out spoon that packs inside the lid. I wonder why we don’t have that in Canada or perhaps we do and I’ve never noticed it.

   
 

Winter, hot tubes, and Europe’s most powerful waterfall

Wow! What a day!

I left Egilstader right after breakfast this morning ready for the long drive to the North. The landscape changed rapidly and snow covered the ground. The sun was out and as I went inland, the chill of the humid sea air was no more. 

The mountains were phenomenal! I made good time once I crossed the mountain range that was covered with snow. As I reached the flatter land I opened my car up and blasted an old Bruce Sprinsteen album.

  
Since I made such good time I diverted to Dettifoss first rather than Lake Myvatn right away. Since it was a nice day I wanted to take advantage! The route to Dettifoss was an unpaved road that was closed, meaning it wasn’t plowed. I blazed the trail and after an hour, and the car in front of me giving up, I hit snow that threatened to swallow the truck. It was wet and fresh and covering the massive pot holes underneath. I didn’t think I would make it but, as usual for Iceland, just when you don’t think you’ll make it, there it is!

Dettifoss is massive and incredibly powerful. I could hear it’s roar from where I parked my car. At 45 meters (you’re welcome MVH) it isn’t the tallest but boy is it powerful! 

Here I am at Dettifoss: 

  
Wait… That’s from the movie Prometheus 

I continued up route 862 but the snow got much deeper so I decided not to tempt fate. I hadn’t seen another vehicle for hours and that was the last place I wanted to be stranded!

I turned the car around and headed to Myvatn. The next stop was Hverir, an active thermal plane. The turquoise ground was eerie and the mud will be stuck to my boots forever. The sulphur smell is pungent and, like the mud, going to be with me for a while.  

I arrived at my farm stay and am now busy downloading my photos. I’m here for two days and tomorrow wil be hiking and more hiking around the lake and around an inactive volcano!

A long drive to Lake Myvatn

One of the places I have really been looking forward to visiting is the Lake Myvatn area. I’m there for two days for my birthday and the highlights include hot springs and Europe’s most powerful waterfall: Dettifoss. I haven’t seen the northern lights yet due to cloud cover but, fingers crossed, the weather looks clear for the next few days.

From there another really long driving day to the northwest region, then to the Snaefellsnes region, diving at Silfra, overnight in Reykjavik, then I leave.

I feel like I just got to Iceland. There is still so much to see and places to explore. I’m going to consider this a scouting trip for my next visit!

French sailors and Viking settlements

I have had a busy few days, driving four to five hours each day in order to cover more ground. I’m in Egilsstader, in the north. The eastern fjords were very difficult driving not only because the roads were hundreds of feet in the air but the views were spectacular making it tough to keep my eyes on the road! 

I was in Fáskrúdsfjördur last night, a French fishing settlement from the early 1600s. My hotel was the former French hospital that had a fantastic collection of fishing gear and a recreation of a French fishing gallery hold! I was mesmerized by the old French maps and the importance of French fisheries in Iceland was unknown to me. From the number of vessels it may be true that French fisheries in Iceland was greater than that in Atlantic Canada during the 16th century.

I’m quite tired so I’ll just post images but suffice to say that I have seen sights in the last few days that I will never forget. One was the rising of the full moon over the eastern ocean. I didn’t get a chance to take a photo before it disappeared behind a cloud but it was impressive. The second you can see below is Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland covering 8% of the island!

Oh… And I visited an early Viking settlement! 

   
  
    
    
 

White snowstorm, black waterfall, crystal ice

What a day. I awoke in Vik to a blistering wet snowfall. I knew that I had a 3.5 hour drive north in front of me and when I checked vedur.is I saw that it was just going to get worse in Vik until at least 2pm meaning that if I didn’t leave early, I would essentially lose the entire day. 

I brushed off the car in complete darkness and knew that the big difficulty was going to be driving the high pass into Vik but once past Vik, at least the road was flat. I pulled out to the road and, just then, the snow plow came around the bend. Someone up there likes me. 

I cranked up the heat and Led Zepplin 4 to get my heart rate up. The incline to the Vik pass is about 15% and with the wet snow it was tough, even with the plough. Seeing the town of Vik was a relief but as I passed the town the wind began to pick up. Driving in Iceland can be challenging!

The weather turned as the sun rose and I knew that the storm covered the southern tip of Iceland but not the east coast where I was heading. 

I passed some amazing landscapes as you can see below. The sun hardly rises so the light is beautiful and the shadows are long, as you can see below. That photo with my shadow was taken at 11:38 am!  My first stop was the Black waterfall, Svartifoss, that is accessible only after a long hike. My friends SL in Switzerland and MVH from the office would have loved the hike. The view from the trail was fantastic!

The weather started to cool and I could feel the weather beginning to turn. I grabbed my gear and headed back down the mountain. I got to the car and as I began to drive away, the rain started.

The next stop was Jökulsárlón, the glacier lake that is fed by the Vatnajökull glacier. While beautiful, the tour buses swarmed the parking lot. Iceland is a land of extremes. I can be alone for hours and then surrounded by hundreds.

   
    
   

Black sand beach at Vik

I’m packing up now. It’s early morning here on my last day in Vik. There is a raging snow squall outside and I’m heading north to escape it. Vik (meaning “bay” as in Reykjavik and Viking) is the southernmost town in Iceland and gets the most precipitation in all of Iceland. I have all day to reach Hofn on the east coast so once I get over the high pass leading to Vik, the driving will be flat and much easier.

Here is a wood carving at the black sand beach of Vik showing the three trolls in the background who were caught by the sunrise and turned to stone as they attempted to bring to shore a stranded ship. To eat the crew, I imagine.