Iceland Day 3: Vatnajökull

Iceland Day 3: Vatnajökull

I was terrified all through breakfast that the innkeeper would ask us about our plans for the day. If he did, we’d have to confess that we were planning to drive four hours one way to see a waterfall, then back again the same four hours. I have no issue with people assuming I’m crazy. I just don’t like it when I confirm those suspicions. Luckily he was too tired from getting up to have our breakfast ready at 8:30am to ask us anything, so we left the house unembarrassed. I slept for the first hour as Yen drove in the dark, and when I woke, I discovered we’d come to a truly alien place.

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This is basically a cairn field. There was a long board explaining the historical significance of the site – something about a house with 20-something iron locks and how people brought the owner stones for luck on a journey. I dunno. The cairns were terrific.

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We got back in the road and within just a few miles, the landscape changed again. Now we were in a rolling sea of moss-covered rocks.

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Just as suddenly, it all changed again and now we might have been on the High Plains of the US.

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And finally, the hills began to rise next to us and we saw the steady march of random waterfalls again.

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A lot of structures are built right into the ground. It’s rather hobbitlike.

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It’s so beautiful. These photos are beautiful, but even they don’t capture the scale, and how carefully you have to keep your eyes open. It all changes in just a moment and becomes something more dramatic. We decided quickly that we want to come back and drive the entire ring road. Only let’s do it during a midnight sun, shall we?

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This is just… random waterfall. No name, just something along the side of the road (usually there’s a big sign letting you know that Somethingorotherfoss is coming up; foss is the ending meaning “waterfall”). If this was back home, it would be on a preserve and we’d drive forever to see it. But here, it’s just something along the side of the road that most people wouldn’t slow down for. Incredible.

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Here’s our heavenly car again!

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After all that driving, we finally came to Vatnajökull National Park. Here’s the (small) glacier there. You’ll see more of it later.

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Without further ado, we donned all our layers and set out on the 5k walk up up up the hill to our waterfall.

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Oh, you know. Just a glorious mountain the background. Not a big deal.

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There it is! Hang on – I can get you closer.

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And here we are at last. Remember the church from Day 1? The design of it was inspired by this waterfall. Can you see it? Those straight, stark, heavy pillars of basalt?

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See how tiny I am next to it? And I’m not even that close to it.

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Whoa, who the heck is that? Yen came out from behind the camera for a moment.

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We’d seen the waterfall, but it was only 2pm, so we had a full hour until the sun would go down. So off we went to check out this glacier. It looked so close…

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It’s an hour later, and see how far that little pink spot is from the glacier still?

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I’m in all three of the following photos – just squint. For a small glacier, that thing is huge!

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This is as close as we went. When you get to this point, you see a rather terrifying sign about crevasses, quicksand, and water so cold you’ll immediately cramp if you fall in. No thank you, I was raised by a risk manager.

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My god, I have a handsome husband! Have I mentioned that this is our little honeymoon? We called it a “minimoon.”

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At last we were back on the road again as the sun began to set. I fell asleep quickly, and again Yen had to make the drive with only Icelandic opera on the radio for company.

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