South Coast - Seljalandfoss, Solheimsjokull, Skogafoss, Vik, Dyrhoaley, Puffins!, Rutshellir

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August 18th 2015
Published: August 25th 2015
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With no other ideas of what to do, and the desire to see puffins, we all set off for the South Coast – in a single car this time as we had no luggage. We went straight to Seljalandfoss, a long drive, because no one wanted to go to the Njal’s Saga museum again. We did get gasoline in Hverdagerdi, but didn’t visit the lovely bakery again.

At Seljalandfoss, we made an effort to do something new. Of course we walked behind the waterfall again, but it didn’t have the same magic the second time. On the other hand, Kai did it – bravely – for the first time. This time, we walked along a pathway to the left, which I hadn’t remembered from last time, and found the hidden waterfall. Several waterfalls must be passed, and then you come to a cliff area. You can walk behind a big rock and find several caves. Some time ago, a hermitess lived there. However, now it appeared people were using these caves as toilets, which angers me. You can only tell because of the toilet paper. Pack out people! Also, you’re supposed to dig a six inch deep hole, and not near any water, but I guess people go camping without learning the protocols. Gross. However, moving RIGHT along, we did find the entrance to the waterfall. You had to go into a cave, which had the water running out of it, and it was quite a few hops & jumps across rocks to get to the interior. There were almost two caves, one inside another. Inside, another magical place, mossy-green, with the light from above shining down as the water poured down the wall. There were a lot of people checking it out, no doubt due to the signage that had been added to point the way. Of course, we probably wouldn’t have found it without the signs either. I don’t begrudge people seeing beautiful things- just hope they all take care of it. I get angry when I see people walk off the path, despoiling the wilderness and creating new trails, or leaving trash around.

On the way to Skogafoss, we stopped at Solheimsjokull. It's a tongue of a glacier coming out from a much larger one. Wow, it was cool to see a glacier. It felt powerful in a way I can't describe. We could actually reach it this time, with our 4x4 vehicle. Unfortunately a number of unfortunate events occurred here. K. lost his camera, and all the pictures on that memory card. We also lost A. She had gone down the hill to photograph a glacial lake, and then climbed back up – but didn’t see us. She started hiking quickly AWAY from us – towards the glacier. Due to the strong winds, I couldn’t catch up to her and she couldn’t hear me. K. was exhausted, and I worried that she would just walk into the glacier and become part of it like Bárðar Snaefell. Irrational, but that’s how things go sometimes. She eventually got to the glacier, touched it, and not finding us, walked back to the car.

Skogafoss – it was raining hard and we only made a brief stop. I didn’t have it in me to climb to the top for the hike, or to go to other waterfalls in the area I’d read about. Someday I’d like to hike the trail there, that goes from Skogafoss, and between two glaciers and ends in Thorsmork. Not this rainy, windy day however.

In Vik, we ate at Halldorskaffi. We had to wait a long time to get a table, and it was so busy. We found it wasn’t as friendly as the last time. That happens when you get millions of tourists in a year. We mostly ate there to wait out the rain. That didn’t work, so we left anyway. ON the way home, we made one last ditch effort to see Dyrhoaley. This is a black cliff with great rock formations and often birds. There was a chance we’d see puffins.

We saw puffins! We were so close to them, as they had come in to nest (pelting hail probably wasn’t good for their flying either). They were so cute when they walked, or flew, or gathered together. K. was overjoyed, and the whole family just found it to be totally magical. It also felt like we had spent our entire week looking for puffins and finally, here they were.

On the way home, I had marked a spot on the map of a turfhouse that I had wanted to see. The year before, we had seen it – driven by – vowed to return and couldn’t find it. This time, I circled it as we passed, and on the return trip, we slowed down and parked. Turned out to be “Rutshellir”, a man-made cave. These are only found in south Iceland and farmers would make them as part of their farm buildings. This one was made to store hay. A fence had been put up around it, and that’s because there were horses and sheep there! Two of the horses approached the fence and were very friendly. So, it was another magical stop for us, for the cave/turf-house and the horses.

K. sums up the trip:

“It was a really fun vacation but it was kinda like sometimes – it was like an adventure. But it was not really hard, but sometimes it was hard. The hardness was not as hard as Mount Everest though, because Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. But on Mars there is a taller mountain than mount Everest, but mount Everest we definitely won’t go there because we haven’t been to where it is, but Mt. Everest was so far away because we were only in Amsterdam and Iceland.”


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