It is hard to not be completely awestruck by the beauty of Southeast Iceland. A couple hours drive out of Reykjavik leads to nature as pure and fine as it gets, with little or no signs of civilization except the occasional passing of another car or a herd of sheep alongside the road. The two hour drive to Vik is renowned for its spectacular views of the ever-changing and always fascinating landscape. You pass through verdant green farms flocked with white fluffy sheep, craggy mountain peaks loaded with glaciers, brilliant waterfalls and finally nothing but the ocean as far as the eye can see.
We left Reykjavik early in the morning, after a hearty breakfast, expecting the drive Skaftafell National Park (our final destination) to take the entire day. We had planned to stop along the way, in the small village of Vik to do a couple of hours hike, before continuing on with our drive. I was immensely excited about the drive for I love to wander and see the countryside. It is one of my favorite things to do when I’m exploring a new place. To look at the great big world and breathe it all in, seeing it as if for the first time in surprise and in wonder. To hold that moment in time inside your heart and soul, and to take every little detail in so you’ll never forget it. That is what travel is all about. Those moments in time.
Heading South on Route 1 towards Vik, you are instantly reminded of how remote much of Iceland is. Besides the blackened lava fields, lush green farms, and craggy mountains flowing with glaciers, all off in the distance, there are few towns and few signs of life.
The yellow-green grass blows quietly in the wind:
What makes Iceland so incredibly fascinating is that the landscape changes constantly, moving from once brilliant green pastures to dark, fierce lava flows. This is indeed Iceland, the land of fire and ice.
Geysers off in the distance give an eerie feeling to the drive. Am I dreaming?
And all those roads that appear to lead to nowhere make one indeed feel far, far away….
Along the ever-changing countryside…perhaps some of the most scenic, “out there” views in Iceland:
The sun slowly peaks through the thunderous clouds. I am mesmerized…my mind is racing yet peaceful for this is the time I often reflect the most on my life, when I am in my element, exploring and seeing the world.
There is nothing in the distance except solitude and sheep.
Our drive seems to take longer than expected as drives such as this one often do. There are too many incredible views; too many unworldly things to see and admire. We pass yet another spectacular waterfall along the way, pulling over to the shoulder of the lonely road to take another picture.
The black lava rock field reminds you that one of the world’s largest ice caps irks not far behind…
The glacial remnants against the pale yellow fields are so stark and so beautiful, it almost hurts your eyes to see.
It is almost impossible to believe that we are less than two hours away from Reykjavik.
Yet this is Iceland. A a land that is so absolute and so pure, it seems like from out of this world.
We are swept away once again by another gorgeous waterfall, Skogafoss in the distance can be seen from the road.
As we approach Vik and see the tiny village away in the distance, I think about Icelandic folklore and ponder on the possibility of gnomes. Of course it isn’t possible! But then again, Iceland seems like a fairyland to me.
Stay tuned….next post is titled “Attack by the Puffins: Our short hike in Vik”.