More amazing Iceland
This morning’s destination has to be one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen. Jokulsarlon Lagoon sits between the Breithamerkerjokull glacier and the sea, and as icebergs calve off from the glacier they float here in the lagoon. I love the blue color of the glacial ice. Ice we see in most places is white because it has air bubbles dissolved in it, but the ice that has been compressed in the glacier for centuries has no air in it and looks blue like a tropical ocean.
We boarded an amphibious vehicle to crunch over the black lava rock and enter the lagoon for a short cruise. Unlike whale watching, this is a smooth ride, allowing us to gawk at the incredible variety of forms of the icebergs as they float along–mostly underwater, with only ten percent of their bulk showing above the water level.
The black color you see on the ice is not dirt as you might guess, but volcanic ash and rock.
After a lovely morning at the lagoon, we went on to Skaftafell National Park, where we looked at an old sod church, then hiked along a river valley past Svartifoss, the black waterfall. One unusual thing about Iceland is that there seem to be fairly modern houses, and these ancient stone houses with sod roofs, and almost nothing in between. No medieval towns such as you see in other parts of Scandinavia. Tim suggested that the tough weather conditions here mean that as soon as some new housing technology came along, they abandoned the old and built a new house! Makes sense to me.
After our walks we arrived at our hotel in the town of Vik. This hotel has a wool shop attached, and their wares were displayed in the lobby.
An unusual lunch stop that turned out to be a favorite was the N1 chain of gas stations. They include a convenience store and a grill. The food was quite good–not at all what you would expect to find in an American gas station! The menu included the always popular lamb soup, as well as burgers, fish and chips, and even a grilled lamb chop plate. At this station we noticed this young woman hitchhiking. This was a reminder that Iceland has very little crime.