Saturday, 21 July 2018

Land of Ice

The last two days we spent on the east coast of Iceland, driving along continiously changing landscapes while visiting as much as possible in this short time. In contrast to the colourful highlands of Iceland, the east coast relies on simplicity.

First stop was the black beach in front of Vik, also known as the most dangerous beach of Iceland with many warning signs not to swim here (seriously, who does that?). Thd spectacular thing was not the black colour of the beach. Actually, all the beaches we have been to in Iceland are black and I guess that's because the whole island was created by volcanos. The first thing that caught our eye were the rock formations all around which were truly unique.

But my highlight were not the colours nor the rocks. Because when going a little further from the tourists, suddenly a sea lion appeared in the water just in front of us! And even a little further from there, puffins were flying around, sitting in the cliffs behind us or diving in the water for food. I never imagined they would be so small. Of course, we couldn't take any photos of them.  Again, it was totally worth it just to go a little further than the first photospot all the tourists stopped at.

Afterwards, after a long drive up north we did a short stop at nationalpark Skaftafell to visit the waterfall Svatifoss which was said to be impressing. It was completely foggy up there but the moment we reached the waterfall it suddenly cleared a bit so we could watch it in all its beauty.

Afterwards, with some circumstances leading to a almost 2 hour detour (always fill up the tank when you can!) we decided to leave the next highlight for today: Jökulsarlon, the ice lagoon. It is mostly a big lake next to the glacier where parts of the glacier break away and drift as icebergs through the lagoon and afterwards into the sea.

The colours of this whole spectacle were impressing. I never knew ice could be so blue. And it was so cold even if it was a sunny day. If you got closer to the ice you could almost feel the degrees drop to an icy coldness surrounding you.

Some icebergs that drifted away into the sea were stuck at the beach due to the currents. This lead to ice lying around everywhere at the beach. That's why they call it "diamond beach". With the black beach, the contrast was even more intense.

After this and a long drive through the fjords of east Iceland, we decided to take it easy in the evening and take some time to relax as our days are all packed with stuff we want to see. For me this is really hard because I always have this voice in my mind that says I can relax at home and only have limited time to explore this country that is so full of beautiful and extraordinary things to explore. I always want to see more, get out the most of it, use the time most efficiently. Also I take my time to relax in the car or while the others eat - efficiently. But somehow most people can't keep up with that and also seem to have different priorities. I really hope we don't have to miss out on anything in the end.

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