Day 5 - Monday 7/12 - Vatnajökull

Day 5 Itinerary

Breakfast: an amazing spread prepared by the caretaker of the guesthouse. We ate with the other guests: a family of 4 from Germany, and a father/son traveling all the way from the suburbs of Boston. ($0)

Lunch: snacks from Bonus in Vik

Dinner: we arrive at the Hotel Skaftafell just before the restaurant closes for the night (fish, lamb; $94)

Drive: 258 km / 160 miles / gas #2 in Vik ($54)

Walk: 12,200 steps / 4.5 miles

Weather: after two great days, the day starts out cloudy with the most rain we've seen. The day ends with a break in the clouds over Fjallsjökull.

Things we missed: Dverghamrar, Foss a Sidu, Foss midway li la lo, Svínafellsjökull, Svartifoss

Wish we could have spent more time at: Fjallsárlón

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A. Laufskálavarða

Laufskálavarða is a lava ridge just off the main Ring Road #1. Traditionally, first-time travelers trekking across the black sands of Mýrdalssandur would leave little stacks of stones for good luck. Over time as more and more people began their trips, the amount of cairns grew to form the sweeping display that stands today. In reality, we were stopped here to use the really cool bathroom with a viewing platform on top.

Drive: 53 km / 40 minutes from Grand Guesthouse Gardakot

Time spent: 15 minutes (10:45-11:00)

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B. Fjaðrárgljúfur and C. Rauðárfoss

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon that, like most landscapes in Iceland, feels like you're in another world (especially in fog). Unfortunately, the walk along the rim is too short and you can't walk in the valley ever since Justin Bieber filmed a video there and too many people came.

A short drive away, we parked and walked to the rust colored Rauðárfoss. 

Drive; 30 km / 25 minutes from Laufskálavarða

12 km / 18 minutes to Raudarfoss

Time spent: 2 hours (12:00-2:00)

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D. Jökulsárlón

If I was forced to pick only one place to go in Iceland this would be it.

Drive: 124 km / 1 hour 35 minutes from Raudarfoss

Time spent: 2 hours (4:00-6:00))

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E. Breiðamerkursandur (Diamond Beach)

The icebergs that break up and float out from the Jokulsarlon lagoon get pushed back to shore by the ocean waves. Ice that was at the bottom of the glacier are devoid of air bubbles, making them perfectly clear like diamonds.

Drive: 500 m from Jokulsarlon

Time spent; 1 hour (6:00-7:00)

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F. Fjallsárlón

As we drive to the hotel, we spot a clearing in the clouds illuminating a glacier in the distance (see below). As we keep driving, we realize the at the end of the glacier is another lagoon filled with icebergs. This one is much smaller with the end of the glacier much closer than Jokulsarlon. And the next time we come, we'll definitely have to do the zodiac boats here.

We check in to the Hotel Skaftafell, chosen because it's a short hike to the another glacier. We get the last dinner reservation of the night (to Cathy's relief). Unfortunately, it's too dark and rainy to hike to the glacier after dinner.

Drive: 10 km / 10 minutes  from Diamond Beach

42 km / 35 minutes to Hotel Skaftafell

Time spent: 30 minutes (7:15-7:45 / dinner at 9:00)

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