July 11, 2021 – Iceland Day 3
To view short video clips of this day, click here.
Waking up to the sight and sounds of Skogafoss was epic, but feeling like I was run over by a Mack truck, not so much. At first, I attributed it to a bad night’s sleep in our tiny camper van. But pretty soon I realized that I had a major sinus infection. I’d read that most of the typical OTC meds we find everywhere in the US were actually very hard to come by here so I did make sure to bring some with me. I took what I could and we hit the road again continuing to head east.
About 30 minutes down the road, we found the main attractions of Vik. First up, the Dyrolaey Arch. It was not viewable from the Ring Road and it took us maybe 10 minutes of driving through what felt like marsh lands to get to.
Upon arrival, it was till early enough that we had the place mostly to ourselves for the first few moments. I was debating heading to the top of an overlook when some people coming from that direction mentioned having seen a couple of puffins. I spotted them along the rock face just prior to going up.
Next, we headed to Reynisfjara beach, whose Reynisdrangar sea stacks were visible from Dyrolaey. The black sands and basalt stacks felt like the set of a sci-fi movie.
Departing Vik was not an easy decision. My sinus infection had grown worse and I felt horrible. I was a little scared to leave behind the more populated region of Iceland and head into more remote areas. The Ring Road is the primary paved route and if I found myself in dire straits, I’d have no shortcut getting back west. Nonetheless, we pressed on.
Fortunately, the endless beauty of the drive eased my stress. We frequently came across unexpected gems, like the Fossálar Waterfalls pictured below. About 2 ½ hours from where we’d left this morning, we were driving alongside Vatnajokull National Park. I was both surprised and delighted to see actual glaciers from the road. I knew that the temps for most of our trip would be in the 60’s and wasn’t sure if we would see snow or ice up close.
Our next stops were near the top of my must-see list: Fjallsarlon, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Breidamerkursandur (Diamond Beach). All were within minutes of each other and our first stop was at the glacier lake Fjallsarlon. As we walked from the parking area to the lake, I spotted something metallic on a rock. I picked it up to discover that it was 6 Sudafed tablets. I could hardly believe my eyes. There was no one around and they were just laying there, as if God himself had left them for me. All that I had brought with me was basic cold and flu meds. These Sudafed tablets would serve me so well that within a day, I felt back to normal.
Miracle moment aside, like so much of our trip thus far, we found the glacier lakes and Diamond Beach were visible from the road and easy to access. Diamond Beach was located downstream and on the other side of the Ring Road from Jokulsarlon.
We ended the day at the Lilja Guesthouse in Hofn, where we enjoyed a nice meal while watching part of the Eurocup final with a group of other guests. It wasn’t clear if folks were united in who they were cheering on, but it was just as much fun watching their reactions as it was watching the game itself.