On to our third full day in Iceland! We stayed overnight near Skaftafell to play in the park again.
1. A very overpriced hotel, where we stayed in what was essentially a trailer warmed by space heaters, and the hot water lasted about five minutes. It would have been fine if it weren’t the ONLY hotel for hours and priced accordingly. I guess the beds were comfy and we didn’t sleep in the car, so that’s something. The weather was in the 50s the entire time so we didn’t need the heat anyway.
2. The hotel restaurant, where some decent but not special pasta dishes ended up a $75 meal. Have I mentioned the expensive food? I couldn’t believe they were selling a bottle of Gato Negro wine for about $45; it’s always $3 at Walmart and Meijer…
3. The hotel did have location (near the national park) and view going for it.
4-10. Off we go on a glacier hike in Vatnajökull National Park (largest in Europe) near Skaftafell. This time we were able to wear our own hiking boots and I felt like I was walking on air compared to the previous day’s stiff rented climbing boots. We still had crampons and it was amazing to walk on total ice without slipping. You just walk hard so your spikes go in! I really enjoyed the several hours on the glacier more than the ice climbing. We ate sandwiches up on the ice and progressively became colder through the morning, but had just enough warm gear with us to stay comfortable. For this hike we still wore the harness but it was only a precaution in case someone fell in a crevasse–easier to hoist them out! No accidents on our trip, fortunately. We each had one ice axe in a slightly different angle and length from the climbing type. Picture nine shows blue ice where the huge bridge of ice had fallen just three days before. The guides have to redo their routes constantly because of the speed of glacier landscape changes. Totally recommended activity!
11-12. Duck boat ride on Jökulsárlón (the Jökulsár Lagoon), where ice is constantly breaking off the glacier and refilling the lagoon. The ice slowly floats out to sea. By now it was raining and the boat trip was a little lame, but the scenery was beautiful. This was the farthest east we traveled.
13. David tries to take home a piece of glacier ice from the lagoon in my gaiter (gaiters are the black things on his ankles, and he wears them at every opportunity), mostly because he wants to test the claim that it melts slower in whiskey because it’s so dense. I pointed out it would melt in the car and it didn’t even make it on the bus. Also, liquor stores are only open from 5-6 pm so it’s not like we could have gotten any whiskey anyway.
14. There was an Enter Net Nate Garbage Pail Kids sticker on the bus!
15. Donuts! A fine choice in scary-pig-grocery snack food. We were pretty hungry on our long drive back west.
16. Some of the bizarre landscape on the way back
17. Pizza for dinner in the only restaurant in Vik. This one wasn’t as expensive, but it was a good example of the limited choices in hotels and food: we were joined in the restaurant by a Spanish family whose teenagers had been texting in the lobby with us in the previous night’s hotel, as well as by our glacier guide from earlier in the day. This was a couple hours west of where we’d last seen these people! We gave the leftover garlic bread to the guide and her companions.