16 to 22 september 2022
Eleven years after ou first trip to Iceland, we are back for a short stay in the country of ice and fire and its wonderful, varied and contrasted landscapes. With Etienne and Stephane, we have planned this trip when the volcano Fagradalsfjall Meradalir erupted. Unfortunately, a few days after we reserved the trip, the volcano get back to sleep. Nevertheless, we go anyway, there is so much to see in Iceland…
Friday september 16 : after work, we leave home for Orly. We leave the car to Parkineo and the shuttle drops us at Orly airport at 7 pm. We find Etienne and Stephane. We eat a sandwich « Chez Paul ». We take off at 10:50 pm with a few minutes of delay (we feared more delay because of the announced strikes). We arrive at Keflavik at 1:20 am (local time, -2h of time difference compared to France). We join by foot the Aurora hotel just next to the airport.
Saturday september 17 : up at 7 am. Breakfast at the hotel. We go to recover the car at Sixt just next door. We had decided to take it only today and not yesterday evening in order to save one day of rent. It's a Toyota Corolla hybrid. We leave the area of the airport at 9:30 am. The sky is veiled and it's 10°C, there is no wind. We will dedicate the day to the Reykjanes Peninsula, in the Southwest, before joining Reykjavik and our apartment this evening. We begin with a short walk to Stora-Sandvik in an old lava field covered with greenery until a black sand beach. The green mosses almost flashy are pretty.
We see 2 seals in the ocean. Back to the car at 11:15 am. 14°C. On the road, we see a lot of parked cars. We go to see. The place is called Bru Milli Heimsalfa. It's a bridge which has one leg on the north america plate and the other on the european plate.
We then go to see the geothermal area of Gunnuhver. It's rather smal but that « glougloute » quite a bit !
We leave at 12:30 pm and stop at Brimketill and its pool by the ocean.
That lacks a bit of sun all this. We picnic at 1:50 pm at Grindavik with a view on the ocean. We are alone, it's not bad !
After an hour of break, we go to see the nice orange lighthouse of Hopsnes, under the sun. The colors burst !
A few meters further, there is a boat wreck, here since 1988.
We leave at 3:20 pm. On the road we see, a little far, a small black church isolated in the middle of nowhere. We make a small detour to see. It's Krysuvikurkirkja. It's cute !
We then join Seltun, a geothermal zone rather known where we had already been in 2011 and where the sky was grey. Today, the sun delights us and offers us beautiful lights.
On the way back we stop at the Kleifarvatn lake. It looks very big.
We leave the peninsula at 5:20 pm, toward Reykjavik. As we have time and that the temperature is still fair, we go to see the Kermoafoss cascade near Reykjavik. There is a short walk to do on a side of the river and back on the other side of the river. The cascade is nice.
We go back to the car at 6:50 pm. During the day we walked 11 km. We finally go to the apartment that we rented in the east part of Reykjavik : the Blue Mountain. No need of check-in, we enter with a code that was sent to us by e-mail. We go to dine in front of the apartment at the pizzeria Pur Deli around 7:30 pm. Then at 8:30 pm we go to do some shopping in Netto.
Sunday september 18 : up at 6 am because the weather forecasts are not bad. Departure at 7:15 am. It's nevertheless fresh and windy. We are heading towards the north of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. First photo stop on the road on the sunrise.
It's 11°C. Stephane locates Selvallafoss waterfall on google maps. Not scheduled in the program but to wake up the "babies" who sleep at the back of the car (Etienne and me), we stop. The waterfall is superb.
Then, around 10:15 am, we take a part of the Berserkjahraun track to go to see a lava flow with sight on craters. The lava is covered with mosses, yellow and red shrubs which look like blueberry trees. It is very colored.
It is bucolic as some would say ! We take some height by going up a hill. It starts to rain a few drops. We take back the car at 11:15 am and we continue towards the famous viewpoint on Kirkjufell. It starts to fall a thin rain. But finally, what a luck ! That offers us a pretty rainbow on the Kirkjufell mountain. Short stops along the road :
Then we park on the other side of the road to go to the famous viewpoint on the Kirkjufell and the waterfalls of Kirkjufellsfoss at the foreground. There is a fee for the parking (700 isk for the day, 5€) and it is a little crowdy. We take a lot of photos.
The rainbow lasts very long.
We are wet but happy ! We leave at 12:30 pm. Only 5 minutes farther on the road, we find a sunny place for picnic with sight on the ocean. It allows us to dry at the same time ! Departure at 1:30 pm. Stephane has located an other waterfall : Stevefoss. But it is a bit far for the photos and we can hardly get closer.
We then stop to see the funny church of Olafsvik. Apart its modern form, the road that leads to it has the colors of a rainbow.
Farther, we go to see the waterfall of Svodufoss. It's very nice.
We take the road again at 3 pm. A small white church with a red roof in the middle of nowhere attracts the eye. Hop, a small photo stop ! It's the church of Ingjaldsholl.
Then, we go up on foot on the crater of Saxholl, at the end of the peninsula.
David has counted the steps, there are 384. The inside is not deep ans covered with vegetation.
The panoramic view from up there is great.
The rain comes back at 4:15 pm and the sky is very covered. Because of the weather we don't make anymore stop for photos on the south of the peninsula. Around 5:30 pm we stop to drink a good hot chocolate in the small bar-hotel Rjukandi. That makes good ! Then we take the road towards the apartement in Reykjavik where we arrive at 7:30 pm. On the menu tonight, it's croziflette.
Monday september 19 : up at 7:45. Rotten weather today. We leave at 8:30 am, it's 11°C. So we are going to soak in the natural hot water pool of Secret Lagoon in Fludir where we arrive at 11 am (advance reservation). The water is at 38-40°C. We are not bad !
We go out around 12:45 pm. We have to go quickly to join the changing rooms because it's cold outside ! We are well cooked. It starts to rain when we go out of the building. Then we go to the geothermal area of Geysir. We have a lunch made of paninis, fries at the restaurant of the site. Then we go to see the geyser under the rain. One explosion and hop we leave, we are wet. We leave the place at 2:45 pm. We shorten the day because it rains a lot and we go back to the apartment at 3:40 pm. We take advantage of a lull of rain at 6pm to go to see the ''green boulders'' on the beach of Hvaleyrarfjara near Reykjavik. But we will not have a nice light despite the small ray of sun.
Back to the car at 7:40 pm. We dine of crepes with bluberry and strawberry jam.
Tuesday september 20 : up at 7:30 am. We will again juggle with the weather today. Departure at 8:30 am. For the moment no rain but it's overcast.
We go towards the gorges of the Hvita, at the northeast of Reykjavik. We arrive at 10:30 am. The sun makes its appearance on the waterfalls of Hraunfossar. With the fall colors of the vegetation, it's wonderful. We take advantage of the sun to take a lot of pictures.
We follow the path and we go to the Barnafoss waterfall.
The car indicates 17°C. Around 12:15 am, We continue to drive along the river, on route 518, and we stop in a small village with a church : Veidihus.
There are a lot of small churches in Iceland, more or less lost in the middle of nowhere. Most are opened and we have the impression that the funitures come from Ikea ! We make a stop in Husafell to buy sandwiches for lunch. Still on route 518, close to Vidgelmir, we stop in a lava field covered with vegetation : green mosses, red and yellow shrubs and the black of the lava, it's beautiful but it is a pity that the sun is hidden.
After the picnic at 2pm along a river, it begins to rain. We make a hot chocolate break at the Hverinn Bar in Kleppjarnsreykir. As we are next door, we make a quick stop, between to drops at the geothermal area of Deildartunguhver. It's very small and not worth the detour.
The weather being now completely covered and the rain heavy, we head back to Reykjavik. For the dinner, we go to the restaurant Skalli, next to the apartment : burger for the guys, fish & chips for me. It's very good. The sky has cleared, so we try to go to see northern lights. We go out of the city and we see light green gleams in the sky on the photos. But it's not crazy !
Wednesday september 21 : up at 7:30 am. We pack our bagages. Departure at 9:15 am. The weather is not great when leaving Reykjavik (covered, drizzle, 9°C) but it improves then. We take the road 1 to the south and we chain the waterfalls. We start with Urridafoss. The river is wide and the falls impressive. We can see fishes trying to go up the waterfalls.
Then we go to Gluggafoss. It is superb with its three falls and the biggest one above.
There is a second one next to it but less pretty : Thordarfoss.
Then we go to Seljalandsfoss. Here, there is a lot of people, it's very touristy. By the way, there is a fee for the parking (700 isk for the day, 5€). A nice man offers us his parking ticket. Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. We can go behind if we are not afraid to be wet !
Next to it, there is Gljufrabui but it is not easy to take picture of it because it is in a narrow canyon and it's wet !
We buy sandwiches at the shop next to the parking and we picnic in front of the waterfall. At 2:20 pm, we join Skogafoss, very famous too. We don't stay long because it rains.
We go to take a hot chocolate at the restaurant of the falls. While the rain has stopped, we go to see its less famous but superb neighbor Kvernufoss in its small green canyon.
Around 4:30 pm we head back to Keflavik and the airport. As often at this hour, the sky is covering. At 7:30 pm, we go to dine at the restaurant Fernando’s in Keflavik : pastas and pizzas. We leave at 8:45 pm to return the car to Sixt. We deposit the keys in a box and we join the airport on foot.
Thursday september 22 : we take off at 0:45 am. We land at Orly at 6:30 am. We phone Parkineo so that they come to look for us. We struggle a little to find the meeting point. We recover ou car and after some traffic jam, we arrive at home at 9:30 am.
Copyright Magali and David BELLEC