Strange Lands

The sun was shining this morning but the winds were extremely strong – so strong we could barely stand as we explored the Vik area.

Iceland Southern Shores

Iceland Southern Shores

Driving to the highest point along the shores we found it very difficult to walk the cliff edge let alone keep the camera steady but the views were definitely worth the effort.

Vik Gates

Vik Gates

After being blown about for  awhile we headed out enjoy some more waterfalls in the area. It’s really very hard to go anywhere in Iceland without seeing a waterfall somewhere – be it a roadside or in a park that one has to hike into. Skogafoss, a very popular stop for those exploring Iceland was one of those roadside stops. We found the parking lot behind some restaurants and walked the few hundred feet to its base. We are lucky as we have chosen a not so busy season so the crowds are minimal.

Mighty Skogafoss

Mighty Skogafoss

I patiently waited for that window of opportunity when no one was right at the base directly in my shot to get some photos while at other times I took photos with other tourists in them.

Our final stop before we headed to Reykjavik to find a place to lie our heads is Seljalandsfoss. This waterfall allows one to walk behind it and get completely soaked. At certain times I’m told you can walk behind and not get that wet. I decided against going there as I watched person after person come out dripping from head to toe. Today was not the day to venture there.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

It was very impressive from the front so I spent quite a bit of time photographing it before exploring some smaller waterfalls not too far away from it before we headed to the big city and our final leg of our trip.

Icebergs and Big Heads

Our plan this morning had us backtracking to check out a Viking village my friend Nick had told me about. It was an old movie set that someone had on their property. I have to say it looked pretty cool from a distance but up close you can see the wear and tear mother nature has doled out.

Village

Village

I explored the area inside the fence before wandering around to the back near the foothills where I found this little guy (or girl, I didn’t really check).

Well Hello There

Well Hello There

He was mostly uncooperative munching away at the grass but as soon as I started to give up he raised his head and I was able to get this great shot. I love the distorted view.

Our next stop was one of the more anticipated locations – the Glacier lagoon. I was super excited to visit here and we were told that we picked one of the best days with quite a lot of icebergs in the lagoon. Yay us!

Glacier Lagoon

Glacier Lagoon

The lagoon is not the only place to see these lovely beauties. On the opposite side of the road lies the ocean and stranded icebergs along its shores. With black sand beaches as far as you can see and crystal blue and white icebergs dotting its beach its no wonder that most people look forward to visiting this surreal place.

The Wave

The Wave

From small pieces of ice to ones taller than me stuck on the shoreline it is incomprehensible that you are looking at ice that quite possibly is thousands of years old. We spent quite a bit of time here but eventually we had to move on. We had to reach the town of Vik to get settled in for the night and enjoy some hot springs before dinner.

We had just one more stop to make along the way. I had found a photo online of a turf church whose grave mounds were also covered in turf. It looked pretty neat and so we made the stop.

Turf Church

Turf Church

And I’m glad we did. Although it was a short 10 or 15 minute stop it was well worth seeing this church and its graveyard. A recommended stop along this route and not too far off the ring road for a quick look.

A Clown Coloured Bird

Today was the day. We were finally going to see puffins!! At least that was the hope when we left our guesthouse this morning. Fuelled up on breakfast we were all anxious to get to the place that was supposed to be crawling with puffins. As with every other day the drive started with scenic views. It has been non-stop jaw-dropping scenery here.

Borgarfjörður Eystri

Borgarfjörður Eystri

All one has to do to get a great photo is pull over and shoot. There is nothing here that isn’t worthwhile to point your camera at. I still feel in a daze even though we’ve been here over a week – it’s surreal. We followed the road that would takes us out to a fjord and all we had to do to find puffins is drive until the road didn’t go any further. Simple enough. At the end of the road we found a parking lot got our gear together and explored a little hill that stood there. There were staircases to help us climb up to the top to get some good views of the ocean.

Overlook

Overlook

From our views we saw a lot of yellow grass, some birds in the water and way in the distance, looking like little tiny specks of nothing were the puffins. Disappointment went through me as we attempted to get some shots of these little guys with our long lenses. After awhile our cohort Kathy ask used if the birds we were looking for were the ones behind us. Turning around we saw them!! Oh my god there they were. And as we stood there taking our shots more and more started showing up along the cliffs. It was amazing!

The Sentry

The Sentry

Seems that they only come in to land in the early to mid afternoon. Lesson learned – we did not fully do our research on the puffins and so we were very lucky to see them just because we happened to get there at the right time. Researching pays off kids – don’t forget to do it before you travel a long distance away from home.

Entering Mordor

We have situated ourselves for the next couple of nights at Grundarfjörður Hostel with astonishing views of Kirkjufell mountain from our bedroom and kitchen windows. In speaking with the lovely lady at the reception desk when we arrived she told us a few good spots we could explore while we were here. After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast we got the car packed up with our gear and headed west. It was a drizzly kind of morning and at our first stop near the town of Ólafsvík we took a few photos but unfortunately most of mine had rain droplets on them. I just couldn’t keep up with the rain on the lens. Driving around the west side of the peninsula heading south we turned onto a little road that took us to a hiking trail. The trail headed to the ruins of a home (?) on the shore. We wandered the shoreline getting shots of the waves crashing and just taking a breather. Of course the drizzly rain still giving me issues but ah well, it is Iceland after all.

North of Saxholl

North of Saxholl

Walking the trail back to the car I stopped to take the shot above. There were a few of these pools of water in the field at random points along the trail. I passed three of them on the walk back to the car but I’m sure there were many more. It made me wonder if they were fed underground or if at one point the ocean reached out its long fingers this far in from where it crashes now.

As we continued our drive along the southern part of the peninsula we noticed a strange rock sticking out in the distance so we turned at the nearest road to find out what it was. We had found Malarrif, a coastal hiking trail part of the Snæfellsjökull National Park. The magnificently shaped rock that drew us in stood in the distance and we knew we had to get closer.

Crown Jewel

Poseidon’s Crown

Depending on your angle and what side you were on it took on different shapes. I got up around the massive rock to the other side; from here it looked like Poseidon’s Crown as he emerges from the water. We spent a good deal of time here exploring. As the daylight starts to fade a little and the skies clear slightly we head over to the famous black church in the town of Búðir.

The Black Church

The Black Church

The small church can be seen from the main road – it is kind of hard to miss. It’s not very often you find an all black church. Although the gates to the church were locked we wandered the perimeter taking our photos, trying to get a different view of this often photographed structure. With our stomachs grumbling we knew it was time to head to our temporary digs to make some dinner and download the days photos.

Room with a View

Room with a View

As we sat eating we noticed we had a front row seat to the sunset behind Kirkjufell. Grabbing the camera I took a few shots by sticking my camera out the window as I ate my dinner. I also ran back to the bedroom to get some shots from there. Yup, that’s right folks I was too damn lazy to get myself into a car and find a spot to photograph the sunset. It happens to us all. After the long day I was happy to stay warm and dry. There are still 11 more days to go and so much more to see.