Flash
The Gorge - Flash Bristow's Website
Thursday 26 October
Kirkjubaejarklaustur - Skeidararsandur - Skaftafell - Jokulsarlon - Thorbergssetur - Myrar - Hofn
Iceberg at Jokulsarlon
Iceberg at Jokulsarlon. [Photos below the journal. Take me straight to the photos!]

Up at 9am for breakfast. We saw the Kirkjugolf ("Church Floor") on our way out of Klaustur - this is an area where the tops of basalt columns can be seen, so it looks like a hexagonally paved floor. A bit like a mini Giant's Causeway.

On the journey, we drove over the bridge at Skeidararsandur, and then saw in a picnic spot, next to a table, some girders from the old bridge there. They were destroyed and left all over the landscape ten years ago, when lots of glacial meltwater flooded the area. It's a very geologically active area, and the same is likely to happen again in the near future.

Then we drove to Skaftafell National Park, with the intention of seeing Svartifoss, a waterfall surrounded by pendulous basalt columns. We followed signs and walked to a lesser waterfall, Hundafoss, but by now I was fed up. I was aware that for every metre I walked forward I would have to come back, so I had to look after my knees. Also, the path was marked as wheelchair accessible and it absolutely was not, being a stony dirt track up a hillside - quite hard going for me on sticks. So we left, vowing to return tomorrow and try an alternative path to Svartifoss.

The scenery was fantastic, with glaciers at every turn, although the weather varied from mist to rain to snow!

We decided to stop for lunch after passing Skaftafell petrol station, but the next one (in Fagurholsmyri) was card only with no people or shop. The first place that was open was a cafe in Thorbergssetur, a small village - in fact, we thought the cafe was a library because it was decorated to look like a row of books, but when we entered we found it served delicious toasties and hot drinks (even at 3pm), and it was also a museum of sorts, with a display of photos from World War II around the walls. Definitely more pleasant than a petrol station cafe!

Onward, to Jokulsarlon, where we saw a group of icebergs, on their way from the glacier to the sea. Their colours were amazing, bright blues with black streaks, like antifreeze and tarmac.

Then finally to Hofn for painkillers, and to size it up for dinner later, before driving back 30km to our farmhouse in Myrar. This one was more sparse and less friendly - and too cold! However, you could see glaciers between the hills from the window.

After relaxing, we went back to Hofn to a bar called Vikin, where Mike had a burger and I had a pizza (onion, pineapple and garlic - great!) It was cheap - 950 kronur for my pizza - but still tasty. I had more of the Icelandic beer, Gull - luckily I asked for a small one, as a "small" turned out to be 500ml - nearly a pint!

Back to bed for more wine and some games of cards, having tried watching Corpse Bride on DVD before rejecting it.

It was hard to believe we only had two full days left, and from now on we would be going back west, so no new sights unless we took a detour.

The full set of today's photos are here.


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The waterfall near our accommodation. This is not Klaustur's Systrafoss, it has no name but it's on the Stjorn river.

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Follow the bird prints...

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...to the Kirkjugolf, or Church Floor.

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Here it is, the tops of basalt columns.

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View of the Kirkjugolf with scenery in the background.

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You can see where we stayed - the left hand of the huts with green roofs.

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The main road, Route 1, still had snow on it. Although Mike insisted it was just a hard frost(!)

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Rock formations as you leave Klaustur. You'll see the other side of this tomorrow!

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Our first clear view of a glacier - I'd expected something shiny and solid like a mint, but it looked as if a sea had been paused.

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The moss growing around the gravel and on the lava. This, and grass, are the main things that grow in Iceland.

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Girders from the old bridge at Skeidararsandur - which you see just before (or in our case just after) driving over the new bridge. It makes you think. Nice place for a picnic?

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A better view of a glacier filling the gap between mountains - forcing the gap, probably.

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View from Skaftafell National Park.

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Up a slope, waterfall hunting. The landscape smelt like a good whisky, mixtures of honey and peat.

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Hundafoss, as far as I got before turning back.

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View across the vegetation to the glacier and hills. Nice to see shrubs at last!

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View along the river...

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And the other way.

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Mike, next to a sign for Svartifoss... which we missed.

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The view across Skaftafell Park to the car park.

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Wonderful views of glaciers, emerging between each range of hills.

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A rainbow in the mist, in front of a mammary shaped hill.

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The mountain rescue centre behind a petrol station we saw.

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My favourite iceberg at Jokulsarlon. Also made me sad as my friend Reshad, known as "Iceberg", died in October 8 years ago.

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Mike frames my favourite iceberg.

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Panorama of Jokulsarlon.

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The icebergs flow from the glacier to the sea.

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Thorbergssetur - the cafe that looked like a library.

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View from our room in Myrar.

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Panorama of the hill opposite the cafe in Thorbergssetur.

Continue to Friday...




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