Day 4 - Sunday 7/11 - The South Coast
Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel ($0)
Lunch: Strondin Pub in Vik ($48 for fish stew, beef stew)
Dinner: we spend a lot of time at Dyrholaey and miss dinner. Again, Cathy is not pleased.
Hotel: Grand Guesthouse Gardakot near Vik ($216)
Walk: 18.5k steps, 7.2 miles
Extras: Katla Ice Cave Tour ($150 each)
Weather: after a cloudy morning, it cleared up nicely for the rest of the day, including the best sunset of the trip.
Things we missed: Gjáin, Keldur Turf House, Seljavallalaug, The Fimmvörðuháls Trail, Kvernufoss, Sólheimajökull, Upper Dyrhólaey(didn't realize we needed a 4x4)
Wish we could have spent more time at: Vik
A. Hotel Geysir
After breakfast, Cathy goes back to the hotel to rest. I go out to the the geysers again. I leave when a busload of teenage boys arrives.
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Seljalandsfoss isn't a particularly spectacular waterfall (by Iceland standards) but its claim to fame is the fact that you can walk behind it. A short walk away is Glifrabui, a waterfall that has carved a tight circular canyon. It's the most unique waterfall we've seen, but both are really really wet.
Drive: 110 km / 1.5 hours from Geysir
Time spent: 45 minutes (10:45-11:30)
We have to get to Vik to get to our tour of the Katla Ice Cave . It's about a hour drive in a Super Jeep (technically, a super van) across vast black sand from the outwash of a volcanic eruption 120 years ago. Our guide tells us the volcano usually erupts every 80 years...
The cave is beautiful but we can't enter since it's melting too much. A winter visit would be better. As a consolation, we stop by a cave with an entrance shaped like Yoda before we head back to Viik for lunch.
Drive: 60 km / 47 minutes from Seljalandsfoss
Time spent: 5 hours including lunch (12:30-5:30)
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After checking in to our hotel, we head to Skogafoss, one of Iceland's largest waterfalls at 60m high and 25m across. You can walk up 370 steps to get a view from the top, but we were too exhausted. And the view (and noise) from the bottom were stunning enough.
Drive: 15 km / 15 minutes to Grand Guesthouse Gardakot
23 km / 22 minutes from the Guesthouse
Time spent: 30 minutes (7:00-7:30)
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Reynisfjara is a black sand (mostly pebbles) beach with sea stacks off the coast and a cliff of basalt columns. There are lots of signs warning of the danger (and some deaths) from sneaker waves. We do see one tourist get knocked over by a rogue wave. In the photo below, you can see Dyrhólaey in the distance.
Drive: 35 km / 30 minutes from Skógafoss
Time spent: 30 minutes (8:00-8:30)
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Dyrhólaey is a high outcropping looking over the ocean and Reynisfjara Beach. (In the photo to the left, you can see the sea stacks of Reynisfjara in the distance.) There's a lighthouse and view of a rock arch at the top. I never saw this in my research, but you need a 4wd vehicle to drive to the top. So we settle on a lower viewpoint. We hear that it's possible to see puffins in the area. We don't see any, but come face to face with a flock of sheep as we try to walk to the top of Dyrholaey (we turn around about half way up). For the only time on the entire trip, it's clear enough at sunset to get some great light and colors in the sky.
18 km / 18 minutes from Reynisfjara
Time spent: 1.5 hours (8:45 - 10:15)
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