Iceland Day 12

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August 7th 2014
Published: August 7th 2014
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Yesterday evening we were treated to a fantastic sunset behind the mountains but the saying about red sky at night did not hold true as today was rainy, not fully but for much of the day. As the forecast was for the wind building during the course of the day we decided to start off by taking route 222, which leaves the main route 1 not too far from Skógar where we are staying. It is shown as only 10k long to the foot of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier with a tourist hut/shelter at the end and sounded ideal. Unfortunately what is shown on the map as a brown road, meaning it is gravel but well graded, turned out to be worse than most of the tracks we have been on, full of large rocks and very steep sections so we decided to turn back after going what was probably about half way. I chose to leave the car for a while and could easily keep up with the vehicle going downhill!

We then continued to see some basalt caves which are not far from Vik and round the coast from Dyrhólaey. The weather worsened before we arrived –to be honest I think it is always bad in that area – and when we got out of the car we had trouble shutting the doors because of the force of the wind. The caves are off the beach and parts are reminiscent of the Giants Causeway. Of course we nearly got blown away getting down there and back but there are three redeeming features: the cafe by the car park is lovely; once you are round the first headland it is much more sheltered and it is even possible to keep dry in some of the caves; finally our little friends the puffins were there, although quite high up the cliffs it was lovely to watch them flying around.

A spot of lunch in Vik, where the weather was still pretty rubbish and then we came back to Skógar. Sure enough as we approached the area the weather was vastly improved and so we stopped en route to take the other road to a glacier which is 221. This was a far better road and was very busy. However, after 4k it was closed to vehicles and you could see why: it was no longer possible to see the road as where it had once gone there was now a lake, as the glacier had been breaking up. From that point we continued on foot to the glacier’s edge. It was possible to take hikes onto the glacier with an official guide but otherwise this was advised against because of the dangers of sections coming away and causing a tidal wave.

Once back in Skógar we decided to go and see the waterfall. It was very busy but well worthwhile seeing. At the base there is a long drop down to a black pebbly beach, where you get soaked with spray (so best to leave it until last as we did), but metal steps take you up to several other viewing platforms. From there it is possible to hike and follow the river and there are many other falls of different types on the way. We followed the trail further than most, up to a point where you can see the next hills; however keen hikers can do the full route of 26k which takes you up to the craters formed by the 2010 eruption.

We are back at our hotel now where we have one last night before heading to Reykjavik.

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