Southern Iceland

Today was meant to be waterfalls and puffins.  “Pooooffins!” we promised, evoking Happy Feet 2.

The first bit went according to plan, anyway.

We stopped for a quick peek at Kerið, a 6,500-year-old volcanic crater just a few kilometers from our accommodation.  Like several things, it has been developed a bit since our last visit 8 years ago, and now has roped-off paths and even an entrance booth – including an entrance charge.  Last time we were amazed that you could just walk right up to the crater’s edge, no warning signs or anything.  Now you can’t do that (probably a good thing).

From there we headed across the farmland of south-west Iceland, which seems to be mostly inhabited by horses and sheep – more horses, I would say.  Our second stop was The Dad’s favourite waterfall, Seljalandsfoss.  You can see it from quite a way off, approaching from the west.

Seljalandsfoss from quite a way away

Seljalandsfoss from quite a way away

The Dad and Fainjin took up the challenge and walked behind the falls; the womenfolk stayed out of the spray and waved happily to them on the other side of the water.

Fainjin in his red raincoat behind the water at Seljalandsfoss

Fainjin in his red raincoat behind the water at Seljalandsfoss

Next stop was further east, at Skogafoss.  I like this one better than Seljalandsfoss, myself.  The kids took off running for the sheer joy of it.

Pearl in the blue on the left, Babess in pink, The Dad in green, and the red dot is Fainjin

Pearl in the blue on the left, Babess in pink, The Dad in green, and the red dot is Fainjin

When you get up really close and in the spray at the bottom of the waterfall, if the sun shines, magic happens.

I'm quite proud of this shot

I’m quite proud of this shot

The Dad took the kids up loads of steps to the top.  He was tempted to keep going – there’s a walkway up there which he reckons leads up to the ice-cap, but he knew we had to keep going eastwards and southwards.

We stopped in Vik for lunch, found a nice little cafe in some sunshine and enjoyed a break.  Then we turned back westward again and turned off at Dyrhólaey where we expected to see…. POOOFFINS!

On past visits we’ve seen lots of puffins there.  This time… nope.  Lots of skuas, and artic terns, and shags.  Lots and lots of very cold wind – especially on the clifftop where we have previously seen puffins.  Eventually The Dad and Babess, on a final foray to the clifftop (holding hands the whole way, thank you very much) saw a puffin being harrassed by a skua, but that was the only puffin our family saw today.

On the other hand, Dyrhólaey is an interesting place to visit anyway.  The rock formations are fascinating, and the view is amazing.

rock formations

rock formations

Some of the rocks are climbable (carefully!):

King of the castle!

King of the castle!

puffin-less cliff-face

puffin-less cliff-face

And on the way back we saw a pretty white house with a turf-house next to it, and artic terns swooping in the field in front:

070

See the turf-house on the left?

And of course, more horses. I don’t remember seeing so many on our previous visits.

Icelandic horses have 5 gaits: walk, trot, canter/gallop, and two uniquely Icelandic ones: tolt and skeid

Icelandic horses have 5 gaits: walk, trot, canter/gallop, and two uniquely Icelandic ones: tolt and skeid

On the way home we entertained ourselves by looking for (and finding!) troll faces in the cliff formations we passed, and elf-houses (doors into turf-covered hillsides).

Once home, it was soon time for dinner, spa and bed – a very nice routine to be falling into!

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

 

 

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