This is the seventh day of our Road trip across the South-Central Iceland and would literally cover a drive back from Hofn in the eastern end of the island to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland lying towards the western end of the country, a distance of over 450 kms. Now that is a lot of driving in a country where the speed limit maxes out at 90 at the highway stretches and touches 50 in and around local villages and towns. This is the sevenh part of my Travelogue about our Road Trip across southern Iceland, titled ” Streams and Rainbows: Iceland Part 7″. Iceland Travelogue begins here !! . During this tour, we had been to a lot of different spectacular locations in the last 6 days which included Gulfoss and Geyser, Thingvellir National Park, Kerid Crater Lake and the incredible Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, Reynesfjara -the Black beach and Solheimjokull Glacier walk and yesterday to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lake. You can read about it by clicking the links above.
It was tough getting over the beauty of Jokulsarlon which we covered yesterday, and the night was cozy at Milk Factory , where we also had a hearty breakfast before we began. It consisted of boiled eggs, fruits, cereals, milk, cheese, muffins, croissant, bread,juices and hot beverages.
Early morning, me and one of my friend had gone for a quick tour around this fishing harbour town. it was before 8 in the morning, the air felt fresh and the city clean. The early workers around the harbour were coming to work, the school children crossing the narrow lanes in a line with their teachers in the lead. Soon we filled up our car fuel tanks from the local gas station and were on our way.
The first stop is the Viking Village. Built as a set for a movie which never got released, the village stood as before and was changed into a tourist attraction. Though I would have loved to spend an hour here at the Viking Village, time was short today as we need to make the long trip back to Reykjavik before sunset. The weather is always unpredictable here in Iceland, as we have seen earlier, and we wanted to make it all, safe and sound into the capital.
The Viking village makes a good spot for an hour or two. This is one of the few places which charge you to visit. Now all of Iceland has been a free visit for us, except of Kerid Crater lake which charged us around 5 Euros a head. Here the ticket price was Euro 10 for a head if I remember correctly. But the sad thing was that we didn’t have any hour or two to spend here, with the long journey bothering me , since we had to reach Reykjavik this evening. Thus we spent about 15 minutes near the gate of the Viking village, which also hosts a small cafe/bar and you can view the wide plains from this place which is a little higher than sea level.
We started back on the road, sad that this is literally ending the six days of unhindered natural beauty that we had experienced out in the country. We thumbed the long back road, the beauty staying with us. A quick look at Jokulsarlon from th bridge afar and we hit route No #1 on our way to Reykjavik. About an hour and a half The Vatnajokull Glacier kept us company, this time on the right hand side while the left expanse gave us glimpses of swamps, rocky terrains and the Atlantic ocean. And then we crossed Vatnajokull, the table top mountaisn still beckoning us, asking us not to leave them standing stil with all the snow and ice around Then came a short burst of rains and I slowed down the car to about 70kmph, fine flakes of ice colouring the black tarmac gre in front of us. And then we saw the sun , and along with it an impeccable rainbow, about 5 kms away. We chased the rainbow till we found a spot where we could park at a side of the Icelandic Route #1. It rose in an arch, the mountains towards its back and a small village shone behind it.
Rainbow: Iceland Road Trip
The rainbow looked just the ones that we find in our nursery books, and the whole team was joyful at the sight of it. We quickly parked our cars to a side and came out to rejoice at such a wonderful sight. The rainbow arched large over the plains and rocky scrubby land, the mountains huddled together to give it just the right backdrop and we marveled at the sight. The cold air, still heavy with the weight of the water vapour felt nice on our cheeks. It was a breather after about 2 hours of driving and basically everyone needed to stretch their legs a bit . I started my car-coffee mug and had a few sips in between.
Time to move on and again the road lay ahead stretching miles and miles over the wilderness. The beauty was everywhere, strange shapes and colours, playing with the sporadic sunshine and partially grey dull skies accompanied us as we drove back to the city. About another hour later we stopped at a running stream, its heavenly sparkling water gushing into a river bed making a small waterfall at its end. We filled our bottle with the streams water and tasted it. Chilled and sweet it tasted and everyone had some fun jumping along the river beds and ridges of the stream.
We soon had our lunch, at an eatery close to VIk and some quick shopping at the local store right next to the gas station. The store had Icelandic woollen gears, miniature artifacts, pashminas and hiking shoes. It also had armbands and keychains, caps and ponchos and ladies found many of them alluring.
We filled our cars at the gas station, by then had become adept at the self filling, billing process practiced here in Iceland. It is always good to do a full tank filling, the machine adjusts the payment from the credit card and reverses the right amount shortly.
We started back on our road, it was close to five in the afternoon. This time gave another wistful look towards the iconic falls which we had visited a couple of times earlier. Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Google maps had been accurate and the most help in our tours. Another two hours to Reykjavik, and it was time for the sun to set in front of us as we moved westwards.
The sunset was the leading event for the day. It took about 45 minutes to set and those were the most colourful sky I have ever seen. You just need to look all around you, the soft light turning a golden shade and the slowly bursting with red. The icy plains took on an orange-ish reddish hue, the mountain stops glistened with the falling light, the snow refracting the light from all different angles. The clouds, tufts of them, tinged at their edges reflected the mayhem of colour below and driving on the road with miles and miles of open wilderness of desolate beauty brings out the philosopher in you. You feel the divine.
Around 7 pm we entered the capital, Reykjavik, and being a busy hour it took about half an hour to reach our hotel. It was a really long drive today, and was time to sit back and reflect on this wonderful 7 days of nature that we had experienced. One regret was we were not able to experience the northern lights which had been one of the key attractions in coming to Iceland.
We soon settled at “Hotel Orkin”, where we were booked for three nights through Booking.com. During our tour, we had done most of our booking for Hotels, BnBs, lodges and farmhouses through BOOKING.COM. Below link is a little gift for you.
Use this link and save 10% with Booking.com! The young woman who managed the reception was cordial and communicative.After settling in, once I checked the Vedur website I saw that there again was another strong indication of an Aurora that evening. So I came down to the reception to get a lead on where to go in order to search for the Aurora, the direction.
So she tried to explain, and then to help started to walk out towards the parking lot of the hotel to point me the direction. And then we both looked up and she shouted, ” Its already forming . Look there it is” . I looked up, and could see the slow magnetic dance of a greensih shad eof light across the sky, getting ready for the show.
I ran up the stairs and hollered , “Hey guys !! Its started .. Lets go out “. After the day long drive, a long night awaited us .
To be Continued
If you would like to read a summarized version of my Iceland Road Trip, with more emphasis on how to plan it out, CLICK HERE !!