Starting Location: Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
Ending Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
SPECIAL NOTE: I originally wrote this post 10 days ago. I posted it, and about 8 hours later I accidentally deleted it. So, this is a rewrite – it was important to me to cover each day for posterity.
Today we started with three ambitions – 1. Don’t kill each other – car cabin fever was beginning to set in. 2. Get back to Reykjavik (we had a very early flight the next morning) 3. See the volcano as close as possible.
Stop 0 – During the night it had rained. We took advantage of the rainy start to take our time at the breakfast buffet. I have become a fan of herring for breakfast. At this particular hotel they had herring three ways – mustard, pickled and with clove. Ummm – lekker!
As we went out to the car we had realized that either the wind had switched, the rain had brought more ash or the rain had attempted to clean our car. Our car was covered in rain blotched ash. Thankfully, the local gas stations all had free hoses with which you could clean your car.
As we heading out of town and down the road towards where we had met the ash cloud on Day 8, we were lucky to see the ash cloud much earlier than the day before. The wind had shifted and we had a good view. The ash is starting at the far right middle.
Stop 1: Beach at Vik, Iceland
A beautiful beach on an ugly day. The wind was blowing and it was a bit cold. The beach is interesting in that it has some stark volcanic basalt columns. The wind is holding Tim up in this picture (check out the wind whipping his pant legs).
Stop 2 – Skógafoss Waterfall
One of the most often photographed waterfalls in Iceland. It is extremely easy to see from the island’s ring road, it is only about 2 hours from the capital. The waterfall has a width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters. My son sprinted to the top of the falls in 4 minutes, something I could have never done in my life.
There are two interesting things to note in our picture:
- The water appears to be dirty – it is from all the ash that is flowing down stream.
- Above the waterfall, in the break in the clouds is a darker patch. That is actually the ash cloud of the volcano about 30 miles away.
Stop 3 – The volcano
Well, we had been waiting nearly a month. Our goal was to get as close to the volcano as was legally possible. We wanted to live life on the edge.
We headed towards the volcano. Its ash cloud at been peeking at us from time to time from behind the clouds, so our hope is high.
We arrive at our desired location to see this…
We go away for a few hours with hope of the clouds clearing. We have yet another gas station lunch, play a game of Risk on the computer, have a cup of coffee and head back to the volcano.
We find our desired observation place, join a few locals and head out walking down the road to get closer. There we waited for 1 1/2 hours for the clouds to clear. Every 10 minutes or so we would get a glimpse of the top of the ash cloud, then the middle, then the bottom. But never all three at once. We could see the glacier that melted, flooded and washed out roads a few weeks ago. We could see steam where the glacier was being melted. But we could not see the whole volcano.
Then the clouds cleared some, then some more, then we got the picture we were hoping to get. We were only 5 miles from the volcano.
To give you an idea of what you are looking at, I took the liberty to add some text to the picture.
So after 11 days (9 full days on the island) we got to see our volcano close up and personal. We had succeeded in walking on glaciers, driving fjords, crossing barren plains, counting innumerable waterfalls, taking pictures of birds aplenty. We had see bud pots and steam spouts, geysers and sulfur springs. We had even drove on top of a pending volcanic eruption.
It was a great trip – we never killed each other or even got close. We survived way too many gas station meals. We listened to our music. We had fun with a 4×4. We had a great time.
Now we are planning our next trip. Any suggestions?
SIDE NOTE: My son and I made it out of the airport on time the next day. Unfortunately for my brother it took him another two days as our dear volcano shifted its plume to west and it shut down the airport for a couple days. Well, near perfect trip.