Day 11 – Ice Ice Baby!

Vik, Iceland

Okay, first of all… we all knew there was no way I was going to get through this trip without using that as a blog title…

I didn’t just randomly throw it in there though – today was all about ice!

We started bright and early (well, relatively for here in Iceland) in Skálafell in the south east corner of Iceland and headed west.  About an hour later, around 10am, we reached Jökulsárlón as the sun was just rising.

Jökulsárlón translates to Glacial River Lagoon and is on the border of Vatnajökull National Park.  The lake was naturally created from a glacier that has been receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

It truly is a marvel of nature – yet another of the countless we’ve seen on this trip.  You could literally stand there for hours looking over the lagoon with its’ scattered pieces of glacier ice floating within it.

The Atlantic Ocean is actually about a half-mile away across the road so I walked over there as the sun was rising out from the clouds.

Once again, a truly awe inspiring sight.  Needless to say alot of pictures and videos were taken today.

After a couple of hours hanging around at the lagoon we hopped back in the car and drove for an hour to the Skaftafell National Park which houses the Svínafellsjökull glacier.

We booked a Glacier Walk tour at 2pm.  It was just us and our guide Arni.  He suited us up in harnesses and crampons (a traction device with spikes for your shoes) and then drove us about 5 minutes to the glacier.

It took a bit to get used to because, after all, we were walking on ice and from experience that action has usually ended with me falling hard on my ass.  However, after walking on the ice for 5 minutes you feel comfortable and have a sense of confidence that your crampon covered shoes won’t let you down.

We walked along the glacier for a couple hours with Arni stopping several time for us to take photos.  He also shared his vast knowledge of glaciers and just geology in general.  He really knows his stuff.  Hearing about the glaciers was definitely an unexpected bonus.

We finished our hike around 5pm as the sun was setting and we drove into the quickly darkening night onto our hostel in Vik (about 2 hours away).

These hostels in these small towns always look so obvious where they are on the Google map but it never fails they’re never as easy to find when you actually drive into town.  Of course it doesn’t help when we’re arriving at nighttime most of the time but not much you can do about that considering there’s only about 5 hours of sunlight each day.

Our way to the hostel we stopped for gas and I had one of those unique experiences.  Every gas station we’ve stopped at sells hotdogs and hamburgers – it’s just an Icelandic thing, I guess.

Anyway, this gas station was no different.  As Dorianne pumped the gas I went inside to get something to eat.  I’ve always been reluctant to get a hamburger because of the time it takes to cook it to order.  Behind the counter was a red haired teenager who basically sold me into buying a hamburger.

He had charisma and charm and made me laugh.  The line that got me was that he made the best burger between Hofn and Vik (two towns about 5 hours apart on the south coast).  Of course, this was the only gas station in that area, so, yes, he did make the best burgers!

The burger was actually great.  It was grilled right in front of me and served with cheese, lettuce, red pepper and a 1000 island type sauce.

After snacking it down I went back to the car and we continued our trip to Vik.

After a drive around the city looking for the building, we finally found the hostel around 7pm.

After checking in, we both went our separate ways for the night.  Dorianne hung out with some of the other people in the hostel and I had a quick dinner and then headed to bed.

Unfortunately I didn’t really sleep much last night as we had a snorer in our dorm room.  I guess I can’t really complain since I was the one making all the noise the first few days what with all my coughing.

Anyway, that was the day.  I took over 100 photos and about 20 videos.

Tomorrow Dorianne is going on another glacier walk while I take it easy here in the hostel.  In the afternoon the plan is to hit the blue lagoon and then drive into Reykjavik where we’ll be staying for the last few days of the trip.

Icy Trip 2013, Trip Journal

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