01st July 2023 (Day 48): the land of ice

After a short night sleep, we take a stroll along the stunning Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, culminating with – you guessed it, a waterfall. We continue our drive along the Vatnajökull ice cap, the 2nd largest ice cover in Europe and home to several glaciers. The road is stunning. In the fields, Icelandic horses sweep their long hair in a l'Oreal manner. Above our heads, the puffed clouds dance energetically, ever changing the light and shadows on the volcanic mountains. We stop at the Skatafell National Park and it would be ludicrous to think there wouldn’t be a waterfall here, they are decidedly everywhere in Iceland. Under heavy rain we set out for a 2 hour hike hoping to get away from the herds of tourists. Used to travel off the beaten path and out of season, we struggle to adjust to this excessive tourism. The view on the way to Sjónarnípa view point is quite spectacular with the Skatafell glacier lying below us as we gain altitude. Unfortunaly, by the time we get to the top, thick fog has rolled in and the view is barely an arm’s length. The poor weather must have put off at least some of the tourists and it feels good to hike alone in nature and get the blood flowing in the legs. Great for the body and soul! At the end of the track, we reunite with the masses to what is claimed to be the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, Svartifoss or Black waterfall. Nestled amongst geometrical basalt columns, the water cascade down into a pool of amassed hexagonal fallen stones.

Putting the heater on full blast in the car, we dry our wet bones. We decide to push along to a campground a couple of hours away to put us in a good position to see the famous Jökulsárlón lagoon first thing in the morning. Driving along the glacier in the extended sunset, we sponteanously stop the car and climb over the little hill for a better view of the glacier face. An incredible sight unfolds before our eye: below us lies the lagoon, superbly offering an abundance of berg bits of all sizes, spat out by the Skepopeor glacier and glittering in the golden light. In front of the setting sun reflecting perfectly in the still water, a seal has made a home on a small floe. With the serenity of a windless evening and the softness of the declining light, my watery eyes are overwhelmed by this exquisite beauty and I am filled with humble gratitude and profound  contentment that only the splendour of raw nature can fashion.


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