Our second day in Iceland was quite eventful, even though we didn’t leave our charming cottage until after lunch. The weather has been pretty unpleasant and we were kind of waiting around to see if it might change. It didn’t but we decided to venture out anyway. (It did get nicer the further east we went).
The cottage where we’re staying for the first week of our Iceland adventure is on a farm called Mið-Hvoll (“Middle Hillock”) located a few miles west of the adorable little town of Vik. These are some of our neighbors on the farm and the surrounding area:
We decided to take a road trip to the east on the Hringvegur (“Ring Road”). Along the way, we stopped at a place called Laufskálavarða, which is a lava ridge that is absolutely covered with stone cairns. Adding a stone to a cairn is supposed to bring travelers good fortune on their journey. We couldn’t have added a rock if we had wanted to as there was nary a spare stone to be found.
Iceland is replete with waterfalls and it is very important to photograph every single one. We saw a waterfall off to our left and wanted to get closer to take photos. We saw a car coming onto the highway from a side road and thought surely that side road would take us closer to the waterfall. We soon came upon this scene:
Creepy, right? I’m thinking, “We have no business being here. I’m backing on outta here.” Mom says, “Let’s go have a look!” She was quite insistent. So I crept along slowly, waiting for someone to come at us with an axe or something. There were absolutely no signs of recent inhabitation, just a bunch of old vehicles and a handful of sheep.
I speculated that those were the vehicles of all of the other people who dared to approach the creepy house. Also please note the preponderance of red vehicles. Our rental car is red. Time to go. (We did survive the experience unscathed, by the way).
Next stop was Kirkjubæjarklaustur (“Church Farm Cloister”). A Benedictine convent was established here in 1186 and was in operation until the Reformation in 1550. The prominent double waterfall, Systrafoss, is a reference to the nuns of this convent.
Another nearby attraction is Kirkjugólf (“Church Floor”). This interesting geological formation is comprised of columnar basalt seen from the top. It’s not hard to imagine how Kirkjugólf got its name.
We stumbled upon this cute little waterfall, Stjórnarfoss, quite by accident as we were on our way to photograph a different but not nearly as photogenic waterfall.
After eating dinner at the local gas station and picking up a few things at the grocery store, we decided it was time to head back. On the way, we pulled off onto a couple of different side roads to try to get photos that captured just how weird the terrain was in that area. The lava is covered in a thick layer of moss and it’s pretty surreal looking.
And this here is an Icelandic forest:
We made one last stop on the way back at the town of Vik. There is a beautiful black sand beach there with cool basalt sea stacks called Reynisdrangar. I braved the wind and cold to capture some dusk photos and videos. It was spectacular.
And that’s it for Day 2. I’m not sure how many photos I’ll have for Day 3 because the weather is the worst yet and is not letting up for a second!! I really REALLY want the weather to get nice long enough for us to go horseback riding. Cross your fingers!