A Land of Ice

Hey guys - I just posted this entry for the Road Trip Project in order to show them some of my work from 2015 when I was travelling the world with my former partner Janis. Unfortunately, I deleted my blog after we split so the whole thing is gone. I still managed to save some entries like this one about Iceland. So, make yourselves comfortable and be prepared to be swooped away in a land beyond your wildest imagination 😆

Land Of Ice

5th July 2015

We're now at Fjlotsdalur, a youth hostel in the west of Eyjafjallajokull whose eruption caused chaos above Europe in 2010. But that isn't the only thrilling fact about this place; we are sleeping underneath a “turfroofed” house if you can say so.

But first of all I will pick you up where I've left you in the last entry.
When we left Myvatn to go for the Northeast we met this wet thing coming from the sky for the very first time since we arrived in Iceland. And the strange thing was that it didn't stop. It was as if a bowl with a radius of 10 km was turned upside down onto us und kept following us to Lauganes.
And there it stayed for the next two days. It brought severe winds with it so we had to spend most of the time with eating and reading. Fortunately we left that second day and got out of the Wet Circle.

And then we reached the Eastfjords. I don't get their difficulty to pull the tourists here. Maybe it's because there are no specific sights to visit but the fjords are so beautiful!
I can't say how surprised I was to see how different they look compared to the Westfjords. Everything is green and colourful which is not only because of the hundreds of flowers. The rocks are so different and much more interesting in their nature that the Westfjords almost seem ridiculous. Okay, now I am exaggerating, but I really was impressed. We stayed two nights at a great hostel in Reydarfjordur and did some hiking.
You would possibly say that it is easy to go for a walk at such a remote place. But most of the fields belong to the sheeps and you can't cross them so easily. From what I've seen the people made a great effort to establish several trails in this region.

At Hengifoss, a waterfall near Egilsstadir, is a forest which is a tourist attraction for the Icelandics themselves. The only reason for that is that the trees are taller than they are which isn't likely to happen in a country with strongs winds and volcanic activity.

So, lots of fun in the Eastfjords. Though we really miss home. I learned out of the sudden that my appliances for my favourite university got accepted which is absolutely awesome. But it should have reached me when I am back home because now I lost myself in thoughts about the future I should not care about right now.

We reached the south of Iceland within one day and had another chance to appreciate the diverse landscape Iceland has to offer. Glaciers lie directly near the sea and keep melting and melting. The results are greater or smaller ice lagoons with icebergs of every size. The most famous lagoon is Jokulsarlon and is located near Skaftafell Nationalpark which was our next stop.
It's hard to describe how this lagoon looked like. There was this huge glacier, right in front of everybody, vast lands surrounding it and a lake with swimming icebergs. Some of them were still clinged together and stayed where they were. Others were pulled away towards the greedy waves where they swam ashore again on the black beach.
You could watch the ice melting and get a close idea of how climate change is processing in that moment. I mean it's summer, snow and ice is supposed to melt at 15 degrees, but I always get depressed in that thought. How will this lagoon look like in let's say 10 years? Then I thought of ways not to think depressed but hopeful to get things back in control. It could be comforting to know that you are not the only one who is actually doing some little things, like saving water and energy, installing photovoltaics on the roof or rather riding the bike than the car. I'd like to collect some stories to tell the people that there is a way some time.

After being so aware of environmental issues we were relieved to arrive at our hostel in Hof. It's nicely located between the ice lagoon and the Skaftafell Nationalpark so we booked another two nights there. There we lay in the sun while our friends and family Germany had to sit out 40 degrees …

Skaftafell Nationalpark is named after the huge glacier whose tongue lies almost on the road.
The weather was great so we decided to do some hiking there. The Svartifoss is quite an attraction for everybody so that place was very crowded. No comparison to the American way of being crowded!
But it was enough to stay away from the bottom of the waterfall. It was also very impressive from the distance. We made a loop to the upper glacier and had a great view over the valley which almost looked like an African savanna. In the middle of it all was the stream of the Skaftafell glacier, reaching for the sea.

Late at night we witnessed something which is worth calling “sky theatre”. I've never seen the sky doing something like that before. Two or three clouds formed rings like Gandalf's smoky rings. The sun  made them shine red as fire, then it turned pink. The rings came together, forming a tube now, like a turnado. You'd really suspect the aliens to settle down on earth. It was stunning.

Today we made our way through the south. It took us two days to pass the southern coastal line of Iceland and we are happy to get rid of the loooooong drives (more than 2 hrs).
The south is irish-green. Grassy lands and hills everywhere, huge rocks, overgrown with even more mossy green. I like it though the weather was really nasty.
It made our hostel look even more cozy – only 15 people have a bed in here and it's five people for tonight.

Tomorrow we will leave our car at the foot of the hill and hike through this beautiful valley. You can see the snowy top of Eyjafjallajokull and it looks like a good boy right now. The icelandics are more concerned about Hekla right now. Paul, who runs this place, also talked about earthquakes which made me wonder. But it totally makes sense here.
So far so good. The weather is said to be dry but cloudy. Not too bad for a good hike :)