Iceland. Rainbows and Waterfalls
It’s day three in this stunningly beautiful country. Today is another clear, cold day, but I am not expecting it to stay like this for long. Back in the vehicle, we are on the road again.
Our first stop is at the glacier volcano of Eyjafjallajokull, (eyja = island, fjall = mountain and jökull = glacier) and please don’t ask me to pronounce this! Standing at a height of 1651 meters, this 800,000-year old powerpack of fire and fury stopped traffic in Europe when it erupted in 2010. Today, it lies dormant and docile with Iceland’s weather watch keeping a close eye on it.
Iceland is dotted with waterfalls that cascade over rugged, craggy cliffs. One of the most visited waterfalls in all of Iceland is Seljalandsfoss. Despite the chill in the air and the dampness from the waterfall’s drizzle, the place has its fair share of visitors today. Apparently this is one of the 10 most photographed natural wonders in Iceland.
The next beauty is Skógafoss. This is one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters. As is with most of Iceland’s waterfalls, the ever-present rainbow adds extra colour and pizzazz to this fabulous piece of nature.
Next door is the Skógar Folk Museum crammed with lots of unusual, quirky relics that tells a story of Iceland’s history.
Sólheimajökull resembles an alien landscape, where you would half expect to see some tiny Martian-like creature walk past you. This huge glacier or icecap is made up of ice ridges, sinkholes, lava bluffs, crevasses and escarpments from past storms and natural eruptions over centuries. We walk as close as we can get while the more adventurous don boots and gear and continue on their hikes.
Much of Iceland has been formed through volcanic activity – the reason it’s known as the Land of Fire and Ice. A great example of this is the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. The black sand and stones were remnants of basalt lava that covered most of Iceland at one time. The sea personifies the mood as the crashing waves sound a warning to anyone getting too close. And like sentinels standing in silence, basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar.
On the side is the amazing basalt rocky step pyramid, called Hálsanef which is rife with birdlife including puffins, fulmars and guillemots.
We drive up to Vik. Up from the very top of the hill is a delightful church and the surrounding panoramic view is stunning. This is definitely a must-do detour.
As we drive closer to Kirkjubæjarklaustur also called Klaustur, a village in South Iceland (pop 160), the weather changes drastically and suddenly we are in a snow storm. We are booked to stay at the Klausturhof Guesthouse. The entire place is covered in snow creating that picture-perfect look. Yes, we have a snowball fight, build a snowman and warm up with lots of wine and whisky!
Today I’ve experienced the true meaning of this Land of Fire and Ice.