Trip Start Nov 10, 2007
134Trip End Nov 15, 2009
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We drove west along the south coast and stopped at Skaftafell National Park which is Europe's largest park. We hiked to the waterfall called Svartifoss which is flanked by black basalt columns. It was reportedly the inspiration for the famous church in Reykjavik but the church was being renovated and covered in scaffolding so I didn't get a look at it. Anyway, the falls are beautiful although by now I was sort of overloaded by amazing waterfalls! We had a nice walk there and it was a beautiful day so I found a comfy spot along the trail and took a nap while Jack spent some time photographing.
After the walk we were both ready for a cup of coffee so we headed to the park visitor center. However, it was soooo busy! So we started towards the road when I saw this strawbale building under construction.
I introduced myself to the builder and explained that I had built a strawbale house in Colorado so I had to stop in a see what he was doing. He said this was the first strawbale building in Iceland and that he had lived in one in Canada. Apparently, Iceland is focusing efforts on increasing tourism and this means bringing in workers. Of course these folks need housing so the parks department is bringing in cargo containers and converting them into ugly, soul-less dwellings. This young man was building this as an inspiration to a low cost, energy efficient, quick and esthetically pleasing alternative. He used old telephone poles for posts, salvaged lumber from a renovated bridge, turf roof...very cool! It's taken a mere two weeks to get it to this stage and when it's done it will serve as the office of a tour company. I wished him well with his project and we headed on our way once again.
We left the Ring Road at Hella and wound our way through lush green valleys and farmland. We passed lots of sheds and barns like this one bermed with soil and covered with turf.
We also passed through more moss covered lava - what a sight!
We pitched our tent at the Geysir Center...hotel, restaurant, souvenir shop, etc.. We could hear the geysir erupt from our tent! Very cool! We hiked over there and spent a few hours marvelling and trying to take a decent picture. Great fun. There is steaming water trickling everywhere so you have to watch where you walk...This geysir is actually not the original one that would erupt up to 80 meters in the air...that one was clogged in the 1950's by tourists who threw rocks into the spring. An earthquake in 2000 shifted things so now it does erupt occasionally, but I didn't see that one... Fortunately there is Stokkur in this same area and it erupts every 6 or 7 minutes...up to 30 meters. It's very cool to stand there and wait and watch for the small telltale signs of impending eruption...The geysirs are surrounded by colorful springs, bubbling milky springs, and mudpots - awesome stuff!
Not too far from Geysir is Gullfoss - another of Iceland's "must see" waterfalls. We went in the morning but Jack realized that the light would be better in the afternoon for seeing the famous rainbow...so we went back in the afternoon and sure enough there was a fabulous rainbow! Another amazing waterfall!!!
Where I stayed