Before we woke up for the activities on Day Six, my bladder called in early at around 3am (must’ve been all the magic noodle soup or my generally weakened cold-affected bladder).
While we weren’t in Iceland during summer solstice, we were there during a time where the nights were like 12 hours of “magic hour” — each day closer to the solstice this twilight effect lessens. Due to my aforementioned (temporary) small bladder however, I was treated to the incredible, mind spinning endless twilight. I can definitely understand how you could go loco here.
After an OK sleep this time (took a while for toddler to settle thanks to the sunlight and lack of blinds), we woke up, ate our supermarket brekky consisting of skyrr, fruit and bread, and geared up for the walk to Skaftafellsjökull glacier.
There were numerous caravans and tents at the camping ground but we seemed to be the first ones up for the day — we can probably thank our mighty toddler for that one. The path was clear, the sky was blue, and surprisingly the temperature wasn’t too cold — we even ended up walking in t-shirts after a little while.
The Skaftafellsjökull glacier is a remarkable sight to see so many natural patterns and the scale is insane. It is like looking back through time.
After Mr Toddler’s day nap (including a nap of our own), we headed up the hill from base camp to the Svartifoss waterfall. Don’t be fooled by Hundafoss on the way up there — although nice, it lacks the uniqueness of Svarti which is a distinctive waterfall most certainly worth paying a visit. I can’t imagine how spectacular it would be when its surroundings are frozen in winter… an utterly fantastical place.
On the way down we went via the Turf Roof House, a rather moot tourist site, although the vista across the barren landscape was worth it. Just looking to the adjacent landscape you get to see the approach of the Skeiðarárjökull glacier — WOW!
As an aside, the glaciers in Iceland make up 11% of the landmass and the ones seen today are part of Vatnajökull National Park.
Their website has all the names you need for all those glaciers you see: http://www.vatnajokulsthjodgardur.is/english/plan-your-visit/mapservice/ and a brilliant map, that surprising Google hasn’t swallowed yet.
It was another peak traveling day as we made our way to Fjaðrárgljúfur; a deep and winding river canyon about 2 million years old, promising a walking path and panoramic views. Once we got there though, I had to have a nap of my own after all the hiking and driving. So the fiancée and toddler went together.
Next stop was Reynisfjara, the black sand beach near Vik — a rather famous Icelandic beach. Coming from Australia, where the beaches are in abundance and marry up with beautiful weather it felt rather disappointing. And it was the first sight on our trip where tourists were aplenty! Were we within the range of day-trippers from Reykjavik?
One amusing sight there though was the “deadly sneaker wave” sign; check it out and weep if you’re a fellow Sydneysider/coastal-dweller:
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall was something to behold and a highlight of our trip. Needless to say, coming after Reynisfjara, it also amassed tourists. Still great though, as you can walk behind this waterfall and get a little wet — which helps to ward off some of the crowds! Mr Toddler was also little intimidated and cowered when the spray became heavy, but in the end he loved it and was talking about it for the rest of the day.
Final destination for the day was Hveragerði. An easy drive back to civilization, Hveragerði is a quaint little off the motorway type of town. That night we devoured some local cuisine at Skyrgerðin Café & Bistro (delicious! and very accommodating for little ones). We topped the day off with a lovely hot shower at the Reykjamörk Hveragerði Campsite office — a lovely campsite with great amenities.
Day 6 encompassed 296 kilometres, driven across 3 hours and 56 minutes. Several highlights and a beautiful day! Exhausted (for good reason), and with a traveling spirit stoked like a wild campfire we hit the hay. Day 7 is next.