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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

My travels on Iceland's South Coast

ICELAND | Monday, 18 June 2007 | Views [1033] | Comments [1]

I had another adventurous day in Iceland on my 6th day. I woke up in my tent at 6:30 and I had to hurry. I packed up all my stuff and my camping gear. I can take down my tent fairly quickly now because I practiced at home before leaving. I started walking to the Salvation Army because I forgot my shorts last night. The walk takes about 45 minutes and I got there at 7:45. I didn’t have time to get breakfast, but the lady at the desk let me have a cup of tea. I saw Caroline again; a young lady I met here yesterday. At five of eight, I hurried down to the bus station. Yesterday I was told that the bus ticket was 5,400, but the attendant told me it was 8,600. I tried to explain that it was 5,400, but she told me to just buy a ticket on the bus. So, I went outside and waited for the Skaftafell bus. There were other people waiting, so I hung out with them. The bus showed up and then we all got on. The ticket was actually 5,700 kronur (about $95). After all that, we were off into the country. The landscape right outside Reykjavik is very lunar-like and is filled with that moss that I stepped in last week. For awhile I thought they were lichens. About a half hour into the bus ride, we stopped in Hveragerði to pick up some more travelers. I had enough time to grab a soda before we were off to our next destination. We then stopped at a gas station in Selfoss and I got a muffin. We had a half hour to burn. I was beginning to wonder if all the stops were at gas stations. We kept going and then stopped in Hvolsvöllur for a little while. We passed some unusual mountains before I noticed a beautiful waterfall. I tried to snap a picture out the window, but the girl told me that we were stopping there. We had a half hour to explore Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The area was so green and simply magical! It looked like a waterfall that’s in the middle of a tropical rainforest. I couldn’t stop snapping pictures and I then took the trail behind the falls. I was worried about my camera getting wet for a moment. I was freezing and I was getting wet, but I was enjoying the experience. This type of experience is what I live for! We then kept going. On the way to our next stop, I saw more waterfalls and then caught a glimpse of Mýrdalsjökull. This really reminded me of New Zealand! Also right after leaving Seljalandsfoss, I got a photo of Vestmannaeyjar; a volcanic island chain just off of Iceland’s south coast. Only in 1963, the island of Surtsey was born, and it is part of this island group. Our next stop was another beautiful waterfall called Skógarfoss. This waterfall is even larger than the first one. I got some photos where I’m waving my arms at the base of the waterfall. At that stop, I took like 30 pictures. I’ve been averaging about 100 photos per day, but that’s OK because I have room for about 4,000. We then drove about 1 km up the road and we had an hour to relax. I walked around the outdoor Skógar museum. There are several of those turf houses that I’ve seen in my books about Iceland. I checked them out and got a photo of me in the doorway of one of them. I then checked out the tiny church and schoolhouse. I got photos of me in the doorway of the church and sitting at a desk in the schoolhouse. One thing that impressed me was that, as tiny as the schoolhouse was, there are a lot of maps. I learned yesterday at the geothermal pool that students must have at least a few years of geography here, compared to no geography requirements in the U.S. I then checked out this little tiny house that’s right near the schoolhouse and church. It is really compact! Afterward, I went over to the café and got some bread and a bowl of tomato soup for 750 kronur (about $12). I knew Iceland would be expensive, but I didn’t know it would be THIS expensive! I mean, Iceland is a lovely country, but EVERYTHING is priced so ridiculously high! The tomato soup though, was very good. Afterward, we were on our way. One the bus ride, I’ve been talking with this lady named Lee. She’s from China and lives in Australia. At the beginning of the ride, she gave me some macadamia nuts, and they were really good. As we were driving, we had the mountains on the left and the ocean on the right. I once had a dream (or a nightmare, I should say) that everyone in Iceland was rioting and melting down the land, but Iceland in reality is so peaceful! It is a country like no other! The driver stopped so I could get some photos of Mýrdalsjökull. The next stop on our journey was Vík. We had an hour to burn. I got a blueberry smoothie and a soda and then walked down to the black sand beach. If it were a bit warmer, I would have taken off my shoes and felt the sand between my toes. I was so happy, that I took a rock and wrote “Iceland” in the sand. I then got a photo with the ocean and a series of sea stacks in the background. I was freezing, and I walked back up to the gas station where we stopped. The rock formations were breathtaking, the sea birds were flying wild, and I took notice of another interesting church up on the hill. I warmed up inside the convenience store and looked at brochures for glacier walks on Vatnajökull. I then went next door to the souvenir shop. I checked out the Icelandic wool sweaters. Mom wants me to get her one, but I’m not sure if I’m going to have the money. This place has run down my bank account as it is. At 3:00, we all packed up and headed to the unpronounceable Kirkjubæjarklaustur, which was the next stop. I was focused on getting a photo of Kirkugólf, which are these hexagon-shaped rocks that were once believed to be the floor of an old church. However, they are natural formations. We pulled into the gas station a half hour after leaving Vík. I asked the bus driver where those rocks were, but he didn’t know. I asked a guy inside the gas station, and he didn’t know either but the girl working there overheard me asking and she knew. She took me outside and pointed in the distance. I didn’t think I had time and I ordered some fish & chips for 1,635 kronur (about $26), by far the most expensive fish & chips I’ve ever bought. I literally got fish & chips in New Zealand for NZ$5 (about $3.50). As I waited for my food, I realized I had time to see Kirkugólf, and I ran with all my heart! I got there in only about two minutes and I snapped away with my camera and had a minute or so to admire. I then ran back to the gas station and got my fish & chips. I told everyone else about those rocks and like five of them went up there. Lee (the lady I’ve been talking to) told me I’m like a geologist because I seem to know where everything is, but I did my homework before I came here. I ate my fish & chips while we waited but they weren’t as good as some of the others I’ve had before. At about 4:15, we left Kirkjubæjarklaustur, headed to our final destination: Skaftafell National Park. As we were driving, I could see Vatnajökull begin to tower over the mountains. At one point, it looked like it was so close that I could reach out and touch it. At that time, I asked the driver for a photo stop, and he agreed. I got out and kept taking pictures. I felt like I was dreaming because I’m seeing a glacier that I used to always look at on a map. After that, we went up the road and the driver stopped at the monument that’s a piece from a bridge that was destroyed. In 1996, a volcano erupted beneath Vatnajökull, and the heat from the eruption melted a large part of the ice cap and sent 3 billion tons of water down into the valley below. I climbed up on the bridge piece for a photo and then slide down it like a slide. Skaftafell was only a few minutes up the road. The driver dropped us off at 5:15, and I could see the glacier from the campsite. I went into the information center and paid 750 kronur for a site. I picked a spot and pitched my tent next to Emil, from Norway. He rode the bus with me here. I really wanted to hike up to the terminal of the glacier, so that was next for me. I stopped at the information center to charge my camera battery, but they charge 200 kronur; ridiculous! I then walked with Emil out toward the glacier. The hike was about 1 km, and the scenery is breathtaking! At the terminal of the glacier, there was a lagoon and black sand. The rocks are also very smooth and some of them have shattered due to frost-wedging. It felt so special seeing scenery like this, especially in a place where few have been. We started walking back after about an hour. Emil offered me something to eat when we got back. On the way back I photographed a small waterfall. I stopped at the information center to check my email and find out about flights from Höfn to Reykjavik. The driver found out that the road will be closed on the 21st and 22nd so I may have to either have to fly back or leave on the 20th. It would likely cost more to fly back. I then went back to my campsite and had dinner with Emil and this young man from France. I had a beef and potato casserole; it was one of those freeze-dried camping dinners, but it was actually quite good. It is really special to camp in the view of two glaciers. I’m trying to decide if I’ll do the glacier walk or a trip to Jökulsárlón tomorrow. I was talking with the man in charge of the glacier hike, and he told me there’s no heli-hike here like there is in New Zealand. At 9:30 I went and lay down. I have to get up early. See you after another exciting day tomorrow.

Tags: on the road

Comments

1

hey...could you please give me some info about iceland?
i'd like to contact you by email if possible, or msn.

regards,
dani.

  Dani Feb 4, 2008 10:16 PM

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