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Cramponing

Vik Travel Blog

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Reykjavik

I got up before sunrise to see a bit more of Reykjavik.  The only place that was open was a 10/11 (like a 7/11 open 24 hours) where I bought some Skyr for breakfast.  Skyr is an Icelandic dairy product that tastes a lot like yogurt without the sour aftertaste and is very low in calories and fat.  It's incredibly creamy and delicious, I am really surprised they haven't started selling it in the US yet actually.

I wandered up to the docks and then through the main part of town, but not even a coffee shop was open.  I ended up going back to 10/11 to buy a sandwich for lunch later and a pair of gloves.

The tour bus picked me up on time at my guesthouse and I was the first one on.

Ring Road
  Then it literally drove ten feet and stopped.  I was confused at first, but then I realized it was in front of the next hotel and two more people got on.  The door to the shuttle was broken, and the driver had to eventually get out and yank it after trying to kick it open a few times.  He stopped twice more and it happened everytime.  I found it amusing that the driver made four stops on a fifty foot long block.  Why the people didn't walk over to where he was parked a few feet away I couldn't understand.  Instead they each waited right in front of their hotels until he pulled up right in front of them. 

We were then taken to the bus station where all the tour buses for the day were lined up.  I found the one for the glacier and got on.

Sólheimajökull glacier
  I think our driver may have been from Scotland and it sounded like Sean Connery was our guide as we drove out towards Sólheimajökull glacier.  He was very good at pointing out the sights along the way and improvised as need be.  We took the Ring Road which is the main highway (and only highway in some places) in Iceland that makes a complete ring around the entire island.  It kept raining on and off on the way, pouring one second and bright sunshine the next.  We made a rest stop and I bought a hat and some hot chocolate.  Everyone else in the group had come in pairs, except for myself and one guy.  His name was Toby and he was from Germany.  We ended up talking the rest of the day about politics and our home countries since none of the other tourists seemed interested in interacting with us.
Sólheimajökull glacier
 

We drove up the heavily potholed black road to the glacier and the driver dropped us off before heading out with the other half of the group who were going snowmobiling on a different glacier nearby.  We were fitted for carmpons (spikes for our shoes) and axe and they evaluated our attire.  I was one of the few who passed without having to borrow their gear, but most people had to put wind pants on over jeans and change shoes.  We walked over to the beginning of the ice and they taught us how to put on the crampons over our shoes.

Then we began our walk on the glacier.  The first part was the toughest as I was getting used to the crampons and it was all uphill.  Also, it was pouring rain.  We stopped frequently and they would tell us about the glacier, pointing out different features that we may not have noticed.

Toby and I on the glacier
  The glacier was incredibly pretty.  In parts you could see the bluish hue to the pure ice where the water poured through in small streams and waterfalls.  I drank some of the cold water out of one of the little water pockets that was incredibly pure tasting.  There was also this fine black ash in layers on the glacier which they explained was from different volcanic eruptions.  Alongside the glacier were tall cliffs of volcanic rock with thick moss growing on it and a huge waterfall in one part.  The rain switched to more of a drizzle as we kept on, but I was completely soaked already anyway.  As we walked over to the waterfall, there was a loud crack like thunder and a small avalanche of rocks fell thirty feet to the right of where we were standing.
Skógafoss
  Since we were on the glacier we weren't in any danger, but if we had walked down closer to the edge of the glacier it would have been a problem. 

We ate out lunch standing on the top of the glacier where the ice was more flat and you could see the valley stretching out below.  Then we made the long trek back down to the waiting shuttle.  The rain finally stopped and the sun came out, reflecting off the ice.  You could see that the surface was melting slightly under the sunlight and could hear the water gurgling beneath our feet.

After changing out of our gear, we took off down the Ring Road to Skógafoss waterfall.  The rain stopped just as we arrived and the sun began shining, creating a beautiful rainbow over the waterfall.  Just incredible.

Seljalandsfoss

Next we stopped at Seljalandsfoss which I remembered from The Amazing Race.  This waterfall is also huge and you can walk behind it by climbing up these incredibly slippery rocks.  But it was worth it once you got there and not as wet as I imagined. 

Then it was back to Reykjavik.  I was one of the last ones dropped off again and I didn't have to wait long for the rental car driver to pick me up.  He drove me over to a very shady looking little office where he got me into a 4x4 Ford Escape.  Apparently a free upgrade as I was supposed to get a Mazda 6 wagon.  I then drove out on the Ring Road past where we went climbing this afternoon.  I wanted to get as far as possible heading west, but began getting very tired so I stopped at Vik.  At Vik I drove around before finding a campground area.  It was complete with a little building with toilets and hot showers.  Two RVs were parked there already and as far as I could tell it was a public campground so I just pulled up as well.  I was hoping to maybe see the northern lights, but then it began raining again so I quickly figured out they wouldn't be visible this evening.

ejames01 says:
They are still working on the church downtown? The waterfalls are so beautiful.
Posted on: Sep 28, 2009
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Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Ring Road
Ring Road
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Toby and I on the glacier
Toby and I on the glacier
Skógafoss
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Skyr
Skyr
The art museum in Reykjavik
The art museum in Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Reminded me of last nights dinner…
Reminded me of last night's dinne…
This is an Icelandic joke apparent…
This is an Icelandic joke apparen…
Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Reykjavik
I was trying to figure out this pi…
I was trying to figure out this p…
Ring Road
Ring Road
Hot springs along ring road
Hot springs along ring road
Ring Road
Ring Road
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull glacier
Skógafoss
Skógafoss
Skógafoss
Skógafoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss
Vik
photo by: Vikram