According to our guide, this area is suppose to be one of the most scenic. We passed some spectacular mountain scenery then across a vast lava field and finally into Iceland’s southern most village of Vik. Here black sand beaches and picturesque rocks line the sea shore. Lots of photo opportunities of basalt grottos, sea stacks and bird cliffs. Unfortunately, the weather was not very cooperative and we were inundated with rain and wind. Shawn and I were enamored with the unusual cloud formations and it was a constant challenge trying to get photos while looking out of the bus window.
We arrived at a beautiful mountain and distant waterfall. We walked through a grassy path to see basalt rocks. A quick explanation of basalt – the common volcanic rocks in Iceland contain a lot of dark-colored minerals, giving the rock a black color.. The rock is a basalt.
We enjoyed our stop here. Spectacular views and a wonderful sunny interlude. After a short stop, we were on our way enjoying the warmer temperatures and sunshine. About an hour outside of Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland we took a side road and much to our amazement saw hundreds of piles of small rocks. The rocks were built by travelers to secure good luck in future travels.We added our own rocks for good luck.
Just a brief commentary on the beliefs of the Icelandic people: Many times we passed huge rock formations and some that looked very human-like. Our guide would then mention the “hidden people” and that the formation was either a home or a representation of these invisible folk. There are the “elves and the Huldufolk (hidden people)” and they are suppose to possess magical powers. There are many stories and beliefs told about these Icelandic characters. Among the darker caves and crevices live another people called the Trolls. If Trolls are exposed in daylight they will turn to stone. Many massive rock formations in the south coast are supposedly all that is left of the bodies of three huge trolls who were caught in the dawning sunlight.
We continued on to Black Beach Reynisfjara which is a beach of volcanic sand surrounded by basalt columns and cliffs scattered with caves.
We visit the Dyrholaey headland where thousands of birds nest during the summer. Much to the dismay of our group, the rain was was coming down in torrants. We made our way up the hill where we were suppose to view the puffins. We didn’t see any, although we saw a lot of nesting birds. Within a few minutes, everyone had returned to the bus. It didn’t look like the rain would stop anytime soon so we continued on to the hotel.