Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Southern Coast of Iceland- Glacier Hiking and Vik

On our first full day in Iceland, we woke up bright and early dark enough to make you think it was early and started on our coffee-filled, 2.5 hour road trip to hike up a glacier. 

This picture is blurry because of the fog! We could barely see more than 20 feet in front of us! 
The drive was actually pretty terrifying, due to the amount of fog, ice, and darkness. Plus, we had to drive along mountains that didn't even have a railing to protect us from the depths below. Needless to say, Daniel understandably drove a good 40 Kilometers below the speed limit. With that being said, though, I need to note that we were really surprised about how well maintained the roads were in Iceland- no pot holes, freshly salted, and very smooth.

That's the sun showing its face, around 10:30

Once the sun was up and we were past the fog, the drive was actually provided some really rewarding views.

After everyone saw my blue moon, we put on these really cool helmets, spikey overshoes, grabbed on to our ice picks, and were off to climb one of the largest glaciers in Iceland! 
Watch. My helmet is lopsided in nearly every picture. And the ones where it appears straight? It's because it was taken right after Daniel made fun of me for it, forcing me to try and straighten it. 
I immediately fell before we even got to the actual glacier. I saw a patch of ice and thought it would be fun to walk on it. It wasn't.

This was all just so cool. Bucket list material. The glacier is actually melting at a mild boggling speed every year and if it keeps at this rate, it will have all but disappeared in the next couple of decades.

The black dirt that you see is from the volcano. Where it wasn't present, the ice was just so crystal clear. The basalt, clear blue ice, and frozen snow layers made it all look the luxurious marble.

We really lucked on the weather this day- it was sunny and probably in the low 50's, with little wind chill.
Me looking really cool with the lopsided helmet. 
It was actually pretty difficult climbing on the ice. I guess it's because I'm so not used to ice, snow, or sleet, but I almost fell more times than I can count. You had to walk with your heals and really pound into the ice. Terrible for the knees.

That is all ice! Looks like frozen waves- it is from the wind that was present while the water was freezing!

I kept thinking that maybe below the ice was just mountain, but it isn't! It is literally a mountain of ice (yes, I am aware that is what a glacier is, but still- mind boggling!).

We had to be very careful on the snow, as you couldn't tell how dense it was. In many areas, it's a thin layer over a huge hole in the glacier. When it was snow we had to pass, we had to lead with that long stick thing to make sure we wouldn't fall to the bottom!

Daniel fixed my helmet before taking this. That's why I look so much hipper. 

A really cool ice cave/ bridge we found

The hike ended up being our favorite thing that we did. The guides had lived in Iceland their whole lives and were so informative (not to mention hilarious!). They told us many old myths and superstitions- involving 1 nipped men, angry farmers, and of course trolls and elves. Our group was small and intimate- just us, another couple, and the two guides. I highly recommend this if you're in Iceland! 

We were only 20 minutes from the teeny little village of Vik. I really wanted to check it out, since I had read that the beach was one of the most beautiful in the world. It didn't disappoint! 

Adorable church by the beach

The beach was filled with smooth black volcanic stones instead of sand. I thought it would be more like Big Island in Hawaii, but it wasn't at all. The rocks were comfortable to walk on and I even took a "lucky" rock with me.

There were a handful of little caves on the beach, all of their walls being the same hexagonal columns. Side note- that isn't sand! Again, it is all tiny, round, smooth volcanic rock. 

The perfectly hexagonal basalt columns are all gigantic and just remarkable to stand next to.

The waves were the wildest I had ever seen! About 10 seconds after I took this picture, waves came crashing into the rocks Daniel is standing next to. I read that there is no land mass between here and Antarctica, which is why the waves are so fierce.

In the town, there are 200 inhabitants and one quaint little restaurant built in someone's house. I had the best homemade bread and freshly caught cod- best meal of the trip! Also, everyone speaks English in Iceland- even in these remote little villages, the people's English is really outstanding.
Just a waterfall we passed on the roadtrip back to the farm. 

Thankfully, there was no fog on the way back home, and we were able to admire the secluded farms and even spot several more waterfalls. We ended up getting back (totally wiped out) around 7:30 and just soaked in the hot tub for the rest of the night!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...