Day 5 – 387 km – 7+ hour drive
I think it’s safe to say that this day was…a rollercoaster? Had its ups and downs? Stress inducing? Nerve-wracking? Well, at least the middle of it was. Full of surprises, Iceland really showed us its middle finger on this day. I mean, you can’t just be teary-eyed from the perfect vacation all the time, right? The day started off with a good breakfast at the hotel, and then we headed to our first super touristy location. Our goal was to get back across close to Reykjavik since our flight back was on Wednesday and we wanted to have an extra chill day on Tuesday. Thank god this is what we decided to do.
Masses of elderly tourists with numbered stickers on their chests, countless selfie sticks, and a full parking lot – we had reached the “Good Waterfall”. And yeah, it’s pretty good. Beautiful as it is, it’s definitely touristy.
Wow. The most powerful, violent waterfall we had seen so far. Surrounded by basalt formations, this waterfall comes crashing down at a strength that gave me vertigo. I didn’t dare to climb down, but Mike went down to take in the roaring of the water (and to snap the best pic we have of the waterfall).
The opposite of Goðafoss, we had this waterfall all to ourselves. There wasn’t really a path to the waterfall, just masses of volcanic rock with small puddles made for exploring.
4. Hell on Earth which is route F26
After visiting the most impressive waterfalls so far, we took off the on bumpy, moonscape dirt road called F26. They tell you to not take this road because you get sick of the view pretty quickly. There’s just sand, sand, sand, rocks, and French tourists with car trouble. We had been on the road for about 30 minutes when we got waved down by an older couple. They had a flat tire and weren’t able to get the wheel off, it was really stuck. Of course, it was the middle of nowhere. Was there reception? No. Mike climbed up a hill to be able to call their insurance company. And of course, their English was comme ci comme ca. I managed to get some internet for a second and looked up tips for how to remove it. We loosened the nuts and drove the car back and forth. Eventually, after an hour, we got the wheel off. Mike kicked it from the back while we rotated the wheel. We talked about the rest of the road, and the lady said that there is a wide river. She said to not be afraid, and just to drive slowly and carefully. Great, now we left with sweaty palms, googling how to cross a river. If I had known that there would be rivers, I wouldn’t have gone on this route, but Mike knew and wasn’t worried…sick of the sand and shitting our pants, we got to the first wide river. We crossed it and barely made it, driving straight into a deep part that splashed everywhere. We celebrated (too early) and drove on, only to find that there was a second river. Deeper. Scarier. Bigger. And well…I would like to summarize this experience using the following photo. And then I will never mention it again, as it brings back the terror and heart palpitations.
5. Race to the Domino’s
After the river ordeal we still had at least 2 hours of the hell road to go. And yes, there was more water. Luckily just little rivers, but you could cut the tension in the car with a knife. The rattling could only be heard when we drove slow, but there were no error messages etc. The next stress inducing factor was whether or not we would have to pay for some kind of damages. We booked a slightly more expensive hotel, just needing a chill shower and a nice room. We drove towards Selfoss, in need of comfort food and beer. Being the pizza lovers that we are, we quickly figured out there was a Domino’s. The GPS said that we would arrive 10 minutes before closing time. With no time to lose we drove on, stopped to take a picture of an aqua-blue lake, pissed off and sick of the landscape. The only view warming our hearts was a massive glacier that enveloped the mountains. It was so large that you couldn’t tell it apart from the sky – one of the many amazing views of our trip. When we got on the paved road again it was pedal to the metal – Mike drove so fast he sped up the arrival time by 30 minutes. We pre-ordered the pizzas, picked them up, got to the hotel and pigged out. Didn’t take long for us to pass out.
Day 6 – 186 km – 2.5 hour drive
Given the traumas from the previous day, we weren’t looking forward to doing too much on our last day. We wanted to see a few places and then check-in to a nice hotel and relax. We decided to do go around the Golden Circle, a touristic route that isn’t actually a circle, just a made up name because it contains all the places that people from cruises and travel agency trips go by. The number of people was actually nauseating, so we went by these spots quickly.
This is a crater filled with sapphire blue water. At first, we thought it was a volcanic crater, but after reading up we found out that was caused by a chamber underneath collapsing during a volcanic eruption. The crater is 55 m deep, the water itself is 17m deep. They say that the water in this crater is in synch with another one – that when one fills up the other one empties, and vicaversa. You can walk completely around the crater, above the water and down at the shore.
After taking 10 minutes to park our car, we headed up towards the geyser with the masses. It really is impressive, the geyser erupts every 6-10 minutes. Sometimes the eruption is small, and sometimes very high. You can easily tell by the oohs and aahs of the crowd. We watched the eruption about 3 times, and while walking around we saw it another two times. There isn’t really a point of getting a picture – there are two many people and you will always miss the wonder itself when you try and react quick enough to snap a pic.
This was the last waterfall we visited during our stay, which came with mixed feelings. The waterfall was amazing, with many different views. This is a multi-layered waterfall, and I understand why everyone wants to see it.
4. Road to Reykjavik
Mike booked a really nice hotel for us for our last night, one with a nice spa (indoor and outdoor hot-tub and sauna). After checking in we packed our bags in preparation for our early morning check out and headed for the spa. We were the only people there! We ordered some beers and chilled – Mike did some work calls and I read my Icelandic folktale book that I had bought on the first day of our trip. It was so relaxing, exactly what we needed on our last day. As a surprise, Mike had booked us massages, both for 30 minutes. The cherry on top was dinner at the restaurant, we had soup and salmon with white wine topped off with a lava cake. Perfect for our last night in Iceland.
We had an early morning, enjoying breakfast with 100 other early birds. We had eaten breakfast alone every time until now – of course every tour bus would leave before we were even awake. We returned the car with our fingers crossed…and no one said anything about the rescue team call. No problems whatsoever. We got to the airport, ate one more pizza and headed home. Mike’s parents picked us up at the airport and brought us home to Coco, who was happy to have us back.
See you again sometime Iceland! Next time we know exactly what to see and what to do differently; visit the West Fjords and take more time for certain hikes.
Ps. I finished this blog while sipping on one of the beers we brought back with us: Ulfrun Session IPA Nr. 34.