Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Spring Break Iceland - Part Three

Again, the day started last night, with a true sighting of the Northern Lights! Jon and I had set out after dark to a nearby rest stop with hopes of seeing the lights. The sky was clear and conditions were good...but no lights. We did get to listen to an excellent rendition of "The Lonely Goatherd" from the Sound of Music in Icelandic on the radio, however. Disappointed, we headed back to the hotel to hit the sack. At some point, I hear Jon yell "ALI!" and I popped out of my twin bed and ran for the window. And there they were. A green strip across the sky, sometime striated and dancing, fading in and out. I forgot to even go for my Flip Camera, I actually just sat there with my mouth open. Very awesome, and I'm so thankful that Jon decided to look out the window ONE more time before falling asleep!

The next morning, we overslept because Jon set his alarm for 6:30am...Boston time. Oh well. We headed out from Skaftafell with clear skies and clear roads, only to hit a snowstorm after 45 minutes. I have NEVER seen snow fall this fast. Within 10 minutes, we drove from zero inches into 6 inches of snow on the ground. We literally couldn't drive anymore. And of course, we were in a complete dead area of the country. We managed to find a hotel in our guidebook, so after a bit, we saw it on the side of the road and pulled in. The snow was well up my ankles and I couldn't even see....and the hotel was closed, as was the building that a sign told us to go to if the hotel was closed. Excellent. Well, we thought about going back, but the snow had lightened up a bit, so we followed another car and drove in its tracks until we managed to get out of there. We saw a plow leave a gas station, so we went in and the attendant told us he had plowed the road and it wasn't bad ahead. We bought extra food, just in case, so we wouldn't get stuck and resort to eating each other (cause I'd lose that fight). Wow, it was pretty crazy, but eventually, the roads were back to clear. It was very Twilight Zoney.

We stopped back in Vik, which we had gone through on day one, but barely remembered, we were so tired, and went to the black sand beaches where this interesting spire of rocks is out a bit in the ocean. It's supposed to be two troll ships who got caught in the sunlight (because we all know trolls turn to stone in the sunlight...as do their ships?). We popped in a souvenir store and bought a little Christmas ornament and headed on.

Hit up a couple of geocaches next. We couldn't find the way to one, although we saw the lighthouse it was supposed to be next to. We did find a tiny one nearby, but the logbook was completely soaked, so we couldn't sign it. Then we drove (a little too much off-road) a good three miles to find another in the middle of a glacier canyon. I'll tell ya - geocaching puts you in some amazing places!

We next headed to Geysir and Gullfoss, the geyser and waterfall, respectively. The actual geyser called "Geysir" doesn't do much but gurgle anymore, but the one called Strokker is a little beast. It blows every couple of minutes, and it's so gorgeous when it does because the hot air makes the blue water bubble up huge before it sprays. I took some video and will put it on here tonight, if I have time. We then moved to Gullfoss, this AMAZING waterfall and decided to stay the night in the Hotel Gullfoss which has two awesome hot tubs that are calling our names after a few days in the car. Unfortunately, it's cloudy today, so no chance of catching the Northern Lights while we soak, but I'm not going to complain - this view is amazing!

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