After breakfast this morning, where there were many delicious fresh baked breads to choose from, we set out to go to the glacier lagoon. It was still dark at 9am, and the idea was to be at the lagoon as the sun rose. We are now at the south of Iceland, so the sun rises a lil bit earlier, 10:45am! The lagoon is formed from melting ice, which flows into a river and then into the ocean. There are floating little ice bergs, that have broken off the glacier itself, and the color is this opaque bluey-white. I'm doing a terrible job describing it, so here are pictures - and you can see the change as the sun rose:
Then we stopped at what has been my absolute favorite thing so far (and will probably continue to be!): the beach at the end of the river where the ice from the glacier goes into the ocean. Chunks of ice wash up on the black sand...and it is just absolutely beautiful. Clear ice and white ice on the black sand...yeah I love it!
On our drive to the part of the glacier we would walk on - which is the largest glacier in Europe - Ingo drove us through a village, or rather settlement; I'm not sure these little towns are even large enough to be villages, they are more a cluster of farm houses. He pointed out the school, which has 13 students currently. And this church built in a traditional Icelandic style with turf and stone, from the early 19th century:
Finally the glacier walk! So I'm a bit scared of walking on ice...I always worry about falling, which is something that I did just a few weeks ago walking to work, slipping outside the Fens! Clearly I didn't think things through, otherwise I may not have wanted to walk on the glacier since you are walking on ice - its been warm (high 30s, even was supposed to be 40 today!) and there is no snow cover. We had crampons on our shoes, helmets, and an ice axe! Everything was fine, walking in a line, I was concentrating on looking down at where I was stepping, when someone behind me says "don't look down" and we were walking on a ridge that dropped off on one side! That was a bit scary, and there was one steep part we walked down. But no falling happened! I'm so glad I was able to do this tour, its been an amazing experience to see all these sights, and even though its a bit on the cold side, I think seeing it in winter makes it more stunning.
This is the part we walked on..
Each dirt line is one year; you can see which years were icier than others:
After lunch we raced to Skafatell National Park to try to see the Black Waterfall before it was fully dark, its normally a 20 minute hike to it, and we did it in 10! It was worth it to see the waterfall set among the basalt columns, especially how the ice froze up almost in a cup at the base, catching the water:
Once the sun fully set, it was time for a four hour drive back to Reykjavik...which when you are driving, it seems like you are the only one in the whole of Iceland - its a dual lane highway, but rarely were other cars near us and there was just nothing around til we got closer to the city. And while I did nap some, I kept peeking out the window, hoping to catch a sighting of the northern lights! But still nothing. I have one more night tomorrow...and since Thijs has a car...mayyybe we'll get lucky.
Tomorrow is a tour called the Golden Circle - seeing a geothermal power plant, a few waterfalls, a geysir, and other things! I'm very glad I chose to visit Iceland on the way to London, I love it so far.