On the way to our hotel, we saw many waterfalls. We stopped at this one as it was the largest that we came upon. We only had 30 minutes so Shawn hurried out of the bus to run to the falls and get as close as he could. I think two other guys followed after him. The rest of us were happy to photograph from a distance. So many waterfalls that it was hard to get excited about seeing another one.
We finally arrived at our hotel. I was happy to see that our room was the first one in the hall on the main floor. Shawn’s name was always first on the hotel list but most of the time our room was at the end of the hall rather than at the beginning. This was a modern hotel still in the process of remodeling but the rooms were very nice and the food was excellent. Shawn hurried out to explore the area because this was a working farm with cows and horses. So there was quite a bit to see. I joined him later to take photos of the cows in the barn and the horses out in the pasture. My battery went out so I used Shawn’s camera to take the horse pictures but here is a cute cow photo……
The next morning we traveled south along the East coast with its dramatic fjords. It was raining but then the sun was trying to come out. We saw a rainbow and the guide stopped the bus so we could get a photo. I did get one good shot.
Here are some scenes we saw along the way:
We stopped for lunch at the quaint harbor village of Djupivogur. Although it was raining quite hard, we made a stop at the harbor where we saw the outdoor sculpture Eggin by the world famous Icelandic artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson, consisting of 34 eggs.
After lunch, we continued on to the ice lagoon Jokulsarlon. This was one of the highlights of the tour. It had been raining off and on so I was a bit apprehensive about the boat ride we were going to take on the ice lagoon. I had visions of rubber boats and being soaken wet and miserable. The guide did not explain things very well so no one really knew what to expect. We pulled up at the lagoon and Erik went to get our tickets for the boat trip. When I saw the boat, I realized I had nothing to worry about. We had a half hour to walk around and take photos.
We spent the time wandering around the lagoon shore. We saw several tern chicks hopping about the area. The terns themselves were all over the place. Especially along the walk from the lagoon to the road. They continually dive bombed anyone walking along the path. It was a bit scary but at the same time it was an opportunity to get a photo. It was time for our ride in the boat. We had a guide and she gave us a lot of details about the lagoon. We rushed from side to side trying to take photos. It was hard for me being short as some people hogged the view. Here is the boat and one of the ice floes.
After the boat ride, we went back to the bus and continued on to the hotel where we would stay for two nights. I think everyone was happy to have two nights at the same hotel. It had been a very hectic tour and though it was good to be able to travel around the whole ring road, it was also a very fast paced. The guide told us that this was the last Road scholar tour around the ring road. Most people thought it was too much and not enough down time. I would have to agree with that. There were quite a few complaints about the small bus and the lack of room with so many people. My understanding was that there would only be 12 people so I was shocked to see 20 people on the tour. Some people brought so much gear that they had an extra suitcase on the bus.
We traveled to Oraefi where our accommodations were nestled between sliding glaciers. The Vatnajokull Glacier is Europe’s largest icecap – larger than all other glaciers in Europe combined.
We stayed at the Hotel Skaftafell. The rooms were nice and it was great to stay here for two nights. If I remember, we didn’t have to be on the bus until 9am. the next day. By the time we got to the hotel, we were all pretty tired. We didn’t eat dinner until 8pm. It was nice not to have to get up so early. I didn’t bother eating breakfast so I had a bit more time. Same boring breakfast – hard boiled eggs, lunchmeat, cereal with whole milk, cheese, sweet rolls – not a lot of choice for a vegetarian. I did grab a banana for a snack later. The morning would be devoted to exploring more of the glacier beach and the ice lagoon and then in the afternoon we will go to Skaftafell National Park – more glaciers and waterfalls.