Chance encounters and driving into clouds

Jokulsarlon Travel Blog

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Ring Road

So sleeping in my car didn't end up being that great after all.  While there was plenty of room, it became incredibly cold during the night despite the number of layers I was wearing.  I kept digging in my bag every few hours and pulling out some other article of clothing to put on or turning on the car for a bit with the heater on high.  I finally gave up around 5am and went into the little shelter to take a shower.

I quickly noticed that due to the setup of this little building, I would be completely visible from the road as I got into the shower.  Luckily it was so early no one was around, but I am glad I didn't sleep in until others were awake!  I couldn't figure out the shower for awhile as all I saw was this little square box on the wall with a hole in the middle.

Ring Road
  I tried pushing on the hole until I realized it was a switch and after pushing the bottom half the shower sprang to life.  When you turn on a tap or shower in Iceland, hot water comes out first due to all the hot springs.  You actually have to wait awhile if you want cold water and if you don't want to get burned.  .

After a quick shower, I packed up and headed out to the beach in Vik.  Vik is known for its black sand beaches due to the volcanoes and it was very eerie so early in the morning in the fog.  The waves were huge and the wind was so fierce it nearly knocked me over and it took all my strength to stay upright.  By the time I got back to the car, the wind had whipped my hair around so hard it was almost completely dry from my shower twenty minutes before.

Vatnajökull glacier
 

Then I was on the Ring Road again.  It was a foggy morning and it made the landscapes look surreal and spooky.  I passed by black lava fields, green cliffs dotted with sheep, and glimpses of the huge waves from the ocean as I drove along.  There were countless little nameless waterfalls tucked into the cliffs as I cruised along.

I came over a hill and suddenly became completely disoriented.  Ahead of me I could see mountain peaks but they were embedded in this white glacier that for a moment looked like it was floating on a cloud and I was driving right into it.  It truly looked like I was about to drive into the clouds and just then a huge rainbow appeared over the glacier.  The scene was indescribable and the pictures do not do it justice.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  I couldn't have imagined a more incredible landscape.

Driving down the hill, I came to Jökulsárlón the glacier lagoon.  Here the glacier has broken off into large chunks that float off to the sea.  It was used in several movies like Tomb Raider and James Bond and it is easy to see why.  The glacier chunks have a blue hue emanating from deep within the ice and you can hear them cracking and see their movements out to sea. 

After taking in the view, I headed back on the Ring Road towards Vik.  The driver I had on the first day to the Blue Lagoon had recommended I stopped at this place right next to Vik called Reynisfjara.  I had forgotten about it before, so I decided to look for it now.  I had seen few cars all day, but as I drove past Vik I was behind a car that was going very slowly on the road and then made a left turn onto a small gravel side road.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  The sign didn't say Reynisfjara exactly, but there was a map once you turned onto it that showed this was the road I needed.  So I ended up following this car down this small side road.  I was worried I might be freaking out the driver as there are so few cars out and here I was following him down this little gravel road for miles out to the sea.  I purposely parked away from him when I reached the parking lot, but he then moved his car over by me and waved me over.  I was a bit apprehensive, until I saw one of my coworkers (Bruce) from back home pop out of the car!

I had known he was going to be in Iceland at the same time, but when we compared schedules it seemed there was no overlap to meet up.  It was the oddest thing that we would meet up at this little beach which isn't even mentioned in most of the guidebooks I've seen and wasn't even on my map.

Reynisfjara
  He was here with his wife, so the three of us walked out onto the black sand beach together towards the tall basalt columns.  These were almost identical to those I saw at the Giant's Causeway, except they created cave structures instead of large structures you could climb on.  This beach is just on the other side of a cliff from the Vik beach I had been at earlier that morning and had the same fierce wind.  Bruce's hat blew off twice down the beach and we had to run to catch it each time.  The waves were very strong and at least ten feet high as they rolled onto the beach, it looked like something a surfer would love.  In the distance you could see tall rocks coming straight up from the water in the mist.  According to a sign the legend is these rocks were created by two giants and their boat that were turned to stone.
Reynisfjara
  The greyness of the day just added to the atmosphere which seemed the perfect setting for a vampire movie or something along those lines. 

As we walked back to the parking lot, it suddenly began pouring rain.  We were now walking into the wind which meant our progress was so slow it seemed we were standing still.  It was very difficult just to take a single step against the tremendous force of the wind, but we eventually got back to our cars, though I was completely soaked.  We then read a sign which stated that due to the force of the wind and falling rocks you should not walk onto the beach!  Oops.

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Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Vatnajökull glacier
Vatnajökull glacier
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Ring Road
Ring Road
Vatnajökull glacier
Vatnajökull glacier
Vik
Vik
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Vik
Vik
Viks black beach
Vik's black beach
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Viks black beach
Vik's black beach
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Ring Road- lava field
Ring Road- lava field
Vatnajökull glacier
Vatnajökull glacier
Vatnajökull glacier
Vatnajökull glacier
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell National Park
Waterfall along Ring Road
Waterfall along Ring Road
Mossy volcanic rock along Ring Road
Mossy volcanic rock along Ring Road
Surprise meeting at Reynisfjara
Surprise meeting at Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara
Jokulsarlon
photo by: maka77