Started Day 2 driving eastwards from Vik through the lava field Eldhraun, formed from the massive Laki [volcano] eruption in 1783 (which also caused a crazy, cold summer in the States – snow in June & July).

A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.

Bright green moss voraciously clings to volcanic rock in this area creating a spongy layer — which in turn supports other herbaceous life like crowberries (a tasty, tart berry – I ate 2 handfuls 🙂 )

From the lava fields of Eldhraun, we stopped briefly for an elf story (Icelanders love their fables – elves, ogres, trolls) before travelling on to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, where I snapped an amazing shot of the Foss waterfall with Icelandic horses grazing in the foreground.

 

Glaciers & Icebergs

Today’s tour completed the loop around southern Iceland — entering Skaftafell National Park to view the mighty glaciers formed by the Vatnajökull Ice Cap.  WOW²!  (used when WOW just isn’t enough 🙂 )

Europe’s 2nd largest ice shelf covers almost 10% of Iceland.  Glacier blues, mucky silt-laden rivers, crevasses large enough to hide a bus – WOW, WOW, WOW!   Seriously addicted — I could not get close enough.  Soooo…paid for a super jeep excursion which drove out onto the glacier itself, allowing time to climb up volcanic rock overlooking a snow-filled crater.  INCREDIBLE!

In between glacier viewings, logged in a couple hours at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.  Had never previously rode in an amphibious vehicle – SUPER cool!  First motored, then drove into the Lagoon, boating around recently calved icebergs from the surrounding shelf.  Ate a piece of 1000 year-old iceberg – compacted glacial ice chipped away with an ice axe.  AAAAAMAZING DAY!

Gonna enjoy the rest of Iceland but check – already hit all of my ‘bucket list’ highlights, only 2 days in.  SPECTACULAR!

 

 

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2 Responses to Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

  • Sarah says:

    YAHOO you had crowberries… we have those around here too! they aren’t too bad in muffins or pancakes…but I prefer the wild blueberries! I can’t believe how green it is… it’s gotten pretty browny-red-brown here, snow is coming… I can feel it in the air!

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