July 4-5, 2014
set out this morningn to explore the landscape of the southern part
of Iceland. It is very beautiful with large stretches of farmland,
river gorges, waterfalls and glaciers. We were very lucky that the
weather was clear enough to see the top of several of the glaciers
in the area, including the one that erupted in 2010 - Eyjafjallajokull.
It was nicknamed E10 by the journalists covering the eruption because
they couldn't pronounce its name! There are 113 volcanoes in Iceland
and at least 2 of them are overdue to erupt. They are really worried
about the Katla volcano as it will cause a huge flood from the glacier
guide decided to detour a little to show us another of her favorite
waterfalls that is not on the normal tourist itinerary. Urridafoss
or "Waterfall of the Salmon" is not the biggest waterfall
but it flows with the highest volume of water of any waterfall in
then stopped at another waterfall - Skogarfoss. There is a scene
in the movie "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" when he
is in the Himalayas. It was actually filmed at this waterfall.
The big activity for today was a walk on a glacier. We
donned ice crampons and were given an ice axe. We followed a local
guide up onto the glacier, stepping over small crevasses in the
ice. To see a 3 minute video explanation of how ice caves and crevasses
are formed click here.
Our guide was from New Jersey and is studying glaciers at the University
in Iceland. He gave an excellent description of how glaciers form.
They are also constantly changing - receding and growing. To watch
a 2 minute video explaining how glaciers are formed, click here.
documentary "Chasing Ice" was filmed at this glacier -
Solheimajokull - and there are still a couple cameras in operation
around the glacier. This was a very exciting "walk" and
the highlight of our trip so far.
We then journeyed to the south coast for an off road drive in jeeps.We
climbed to an overlook with its lighthouse and views of the south
we crossed some water to a black beach with interesting basalt formations.
It poured rain during the jeep tour so you might see some water
spots on some of the photos!
final stop for the day was the wispy Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This
picturesque waterfall drops about 200 feet over the rocky cliffs
and we were able to hike behind it for some interesting views.
next morning we woke up to high winds (35mph) and cold temperatures
(42 degrees). The activity of the day was a river rafting trip down
the Hvita glacial river. Barbara had already decided she wasn't
going as she does not enjoy river rafting, and the "glacial"
river coupled with the cold air did not sound inviting. Because
of the weather, 6 others from the group also opted out. But Fred
went and said he enjoyed it, though his hands and feet were numb.
of us who didn't go were almost as cold as we stood on a bridge
overlooking the river until the rafts passed underneath. Fred is
in the second raft.
also visited a flower farm. This is a family operation that was
started in 1948 and has grown substantially since. It grows flowers
year round by utilizing geothermal heat to grow Gerber daisies,
lillies, roses and other species. These are picked and shipped to
a central distribution point in Reykjavik where they are sold to
grocery stores and other buyers. The owner said that 30% of his
business is for funerals!
final stop on our tour of south Iceland was to a geothermal power
plant at Hellisheidl. It is a combined heat and power plant that
is designed to meet the needs for energy in an environmentally friendly
and sustainable way. We watched an animated video that explained
the production process used to convert geothermal hot water to both
electricity and heating for homes.
After the tour we returned by bus to Reykjavik for 2 nights before
leaving for Greenland.
To view more photos from our trip around the south of Iceland,
please go to South Iceland Photo
Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Blue
Locations Visited Photos Map