the southern section of the ring road around iceland is packed with lots of things to see and do. as we approached the eastern coast on day seven, and began to make the counterclockwise turn up to the northern section of our trip, the travel times would be longer and the things to do would be fewer and farther between. the positive spin on this would be, we were no longer within day trip radius of reykjavik, so the crowd-meter is also dialed way down.
either way, day seven had a lot of driving. but, first, the campground we stayed at gave us access to a private park known for some pretty good views. unfortunately, even though it was sunny, those views are better in the evening sunsets, than in the morning glare. but, it didn’t stop us from hopping around the rocks and checking out the scenery for a bit before we got on the road.
then. driving. for a long long time. our goal was to make it to the lunch service of klausturkaffir, a mountain farmhouse restaurant that serves a homemade family style buffet, with traditonal icelandic foods and local ingredients. it was the quaintest little building in the side of a mountain.
inside, we quickly realized that family style was FAMILY STYLE. no long rows of square trays and sneeze guards. just bowls and platters crammed onto a long table, filled with all the most delicious food imaginable. we had reindeer meatballs and lamb stew and nuggets (like chicken nuggets, but lamb). lots of warm, heavy, comfort foods and ALL of the traditional icelandic desserts they had to offer.
after we had sufficiently (uncomfortably) stuffed ourselves to the gills, we were ready for a hike. we knew of a few options in the area, and our server gave us a few more ideas, and then a stop at the national park visitor center cemented our plan to hike to nearby hengifoss.
we could actually see it off in the distance from the road, but obviously we needed to get up close and personal. so away we went…
most of the trail was pretty easy, about a mile and a half to where most folks stop. sometimes with a plastic grate to help with erosion that we had a love/hate relationship with. it was pretty clear that as the sun was moving across the sky, a giant shadow was casting across the waterfall, and i wanted to get there before it was dark and less colorful, so derek set me free to hustle ahead, and that i did.
at the end of the boardwalk, the trail continued on along the water, through some scrambles and along steep crumbly banks. at the end of this, i waited for derek and we snapped a few photos, while i contemplated continuing on.
hengifoss is the third tallest waterfall in iceland, flowing over canyon walls striped by layers of red clay and basalt. the view from the end of the trail is ok, but i clearly needed to get up close and personal with it…
i navigated my way across the river by hopping and climbing boulders and rocks to the other side. and then scrambled along another half mile or so to get close enough to the base of the waterfall to feel the cool mist and fully appreciate the power and volume. and snap a waterfall selfie.
we hiked out along the other side of the river/canyon, which was not really our favorite. a lot of rocky gravelly shuffling.
but. at the end. as if we hadn’t eaten enough garbage that day. there was an ice cream food truck/stand thing. so we treated ourselves to a tiny $12 cup of sheeps milk ice cream. derek had blueberry. i went with rhubarb. (his was better, mine was novelty).
and then. driving. so much more driving. i brought several books and paper piecing projects for these days, but i really didn’t get as much read/sewn as i planned.
one thing i haven’t really talked about all that much is the grocery situation in iceland. since i snapped a few photos at a grocery store stop along our travels, now seems as good a time as any. so. the stores are small. with limited options. you know, being on an island and all. and so expensive. on the first few trips, we tried to be very frugal and do all the money and unit price conversions. by the end, we were just piling items in our cart and hoping our kids choose a trade school instead of a university. also. the stores generally opened after 9 and closed before 6, so it could be a little tricky to squeeze them in around our adventures. lastly, our camper only had a small cooler for a fridge, so we needed to make frequent stops. basically, it was quite an ordeal and always in the back of our mind.
finally, we arrived at camp around 9pm. but. this campground happened to be near (and was chosen because it was near) a huge nesting area for arctic puffins. this time of year isn’t the “puffins milling about everywhere and putting on a show” season, but they hadn’t flown off for the winter yet either, so we hoped we would see some. folks online suggested that you arrive from 7-10 am or 6-10 pm. we drove over and climbed up to the overlook area amongst their nests high in the rocks and waited. after about 30 minutes of only catching far off glimpses and watching the huge flock just chill and float in the water off in the distance, we gave up, with plans to return in the morning.
and that’s a wrap on day seven. only three to go, can you believe it.
tomorrow would be another pretty epic day on the trip. it will be a monumental task for me to pare down the 800 pictures into an acceptable length blog post… 🙂