The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
Friday 27 October
Jokulsarlon - Skaftafell - Svartifoss - Kirkjubaejarklaustur - Vik - Reynisdrangar
Svartifoss. [Photos below the journal. Take me straight to the photos!]

Awoke having slept badly, which wasn't helped when Mike managed to hit me in the eye during the night - don't think he slept well either. So I began the day tired and aching, with the plan to go hiking to Svartifoss - not a good start!

By midday we'd reached Skaftafell again, and I tried the alternative path but it was too steep for me, and I didn't like the proximity to water and the sheer drops next to the path! So I left Mike to it, and returned to the car. He took some great photos of Svartifoss, one of which is at the top of this page, and I wished I'd gone, but it really would not have been sensible. My knees just aren't up to the job. While I was waiting, there was a hail storm, and all I could see was mist - very cold and isolating.

We drove on to Vik where we were staying. It was rainy again, so the drive was quite dull. We'd looked at food on the way, but the service station food looked very greasy and not very vegetarian, so we went back to Vik's cafe to try "pitta with delicious vegetables". This turned out to be lettuce, and about half a pot of dried herbs! Not at all "delicious". Then back onto the beach in the rain and hail, messing around at the water's edge and hopping out the way as the waves came in.

Vik beach really is beautiful - black sand, and white froth. Unfortunately it was choppy with a lot of mist and spray, and my camera got a bit wet in the rain, so the photos don't do it justice. Even in the cold weather it was lovely to visit.

Then to dry off - we brought a change of trousers and a towel this time - and then we went to our accommodation, a "country hotel" 2km out of Vik. It had hot tubs (which stank of sulphur) but no other comforts and their advertised restaurant was closed for the winter, so we had to go back to the petrol station cafe for dinner. (I rang other nearby hotels, but they all said the same thing and recommended the cafe. "You can get meat and fish there"... not ideal for a vegetarian!) In the end I had a vegetable soup, which was too salty and tasted like a cheap canned soup that had been heated. It probably was. We didn't stay long.

I had a shower, which was lovely and warm... and made the bathroom stink of sulphur. I don't know how the Icelandic cope, I don't think I could ever get used to the smell! However, we'd completed our gift shopping in Vik, with an "Island" paperweight for my dad - "Hand made in Czech Republic", oops! - to go with everything else we'd bought along the way, including Christmas glass decorations, Blue Lagoon smellies, a wooden troll and some rocks.

We went to bed at half seven - you get used to early bed in Iceland, especially if the only food is from a petrol station which shuts at 8pm. At least we had more wine and DVDs! Plus the TV showed BBC2 for some reason, so we enjoyed QI. It was funnier than I remembered!

Reasons to visit Vik: Beach is stunning, town is pretty, large souvenir shop.
Reasons not to actually stay there: Wet and windy, only food is from petrol station, hot water stinks.

So with hindsight we would have stayed elsewhere, but not to worry. If this is the worst thing that happened all week, we got off very lightly!

The full set of today's photos are here.

The road to Geysir

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View of the glaciers between each range of hills.

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Native Icelandic horses - all colours, quite a stocky shaggy pony.

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The beach at Jokulsarlon - black sand, choppy waves in front, icebergs behind us.

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Our hire car overlooking the bay of icebergs. This is where Top Gear challenged a jet-powered canoeist to beat their Tomcat car.

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The suspension bridge by Jokulsarlon, which was undergoing repair.

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A "single lane bridge" sign.

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The view where I left Mike at Skaftafell, and returned to the car while he continued to Svartifoss.

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A hill near Klaustur that I had failed to photograph well on the way up - I wanted to get a good shot on the way back. This is where the coastline used to be, but it's now several hundred metres inland.

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The naked man towering over Vik beach, again.

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Back to Vik beach. Raining this time, not snowing.

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Reynisdrangar, the 66 metre high lava shapes off the coast of Vik.

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Mike, getting lashed by the rain but this time in his coat!

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Standing analysing the beach.

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Running to escape the water!

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As you can see, it was pretty choppy - a windy day.

Continue to Saturday...

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