Greinasafni: Icelandic Times
Prepare to be Impressed!
Iceland Excursion's South Coast/Glacial Lagoon Tour
I met up with Iceland Excursion’s Tour Bus at the N1 petrol station in Hvolsvöllur, the little service community that sits right at the doorstep of Eyafjallajökull volcano. Our destination - the South Coast and Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon. It had just snowed lightly the night before, so a new coat of white graced the foothills under Eyafjalljökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, while patches of sunshine and blue broke through the clouds and wisps of steam skirted the volcano’s summit.

We travelled past the farms and fields that just one year ago, had been threatened with the prospect of being submerged under a thick carpet of ash - the evidence of which was still apparent in places. The craggy peaks on the way to Vik were even more hauntingly beautiful shrouded, as they were, in mist and rain. Behind us, a dazzling strip of silver ocean glistened in the bright sunlight. Ahead of us, distant dark clouds told of a passing spring downpour of freezing rain which was moving in to greet us from the coast. The weather was perfect the whole trip... and by that I don't mean blue skies and sunshine all the way, for no trip to Iceland would be truly complete without the complete range of ever-changing weather conditions to set the mood. This was my first proper tour in Iceland. I had read somewhere that seeing Iceland without a tour guide was like leaving your glasses at home —and I would have to say that I wholeheartedly agree! It was wonderful to be able to leave the driving to someone else, so I could just relax and enjoy the constantly changing weather and landscape as it unfolded before us. Our driver/tour guide was full of interesting knowledge about the area, not only about what we were seeing, but a whole lot of insider information that the guidebook writers know little about. Having thrown in some geology and history notes, our driver then told us some fascinating stories about why Icelanders believe in elves, how long it takes to learn Icelandic, stories about a few famous Icelanders whose farms we were passing, where the best place to see puffins is on the South Coast and even bits about the present day economic situation. Clearly he knew his stuff!

After a stop for lunch at Kirkjubæjarklaustur, we eventually reached Jökulsárlón. This is the place where a massive glacial tongue from Vatnajökull stops abruptly to deposit huge chunks of 1,000 year-old ice into the lagoon. The startlingly beautiful blues and brilliant whites of the icebergs suddenly come into view from behind several hills of ancient lava which had been obscuring the lagoon from the road. The lagoon itself was packed with icebergs and the view from the left bank was incredible - a 28 square km lagoon choc-a-block with icebergs of all sizes as far as the eye could see. On the return journey, the clouds started to disperse just in time to give us a good view of the immensity of the Skaftafell National Park. A full-on sunny afternoon replete with clear blue skies accompanied us throughout the rest of the trip until our dinner stop at Vík, where the waning rays of sunlight crept across the village. The driver kept us entertained with stories about the chest of gold that was once at the bottom of Skogafoss and my favourite, which I will call ‘Katla and her magical skin trousers’. Seljalandsfoss awaited us in the twilight and soon it was time for me to say goodbye at the little town of Hvolsvöllur, where my journey began. The Iceland Excursions Bus sped on its way back to Reykjavik, in high hopes of catching the northern lights that were due to appear, thus perfecting an already perfect day on Iceland's south coast.

Would I do it all over again any time soon? In a heartbeat!
Iceland Excursions

Hafnarstraeti 20 • 101 Reykjavík
+354 540 1313
iceland@grayline.is
www.grayline.is


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