Following on from the previous day where I had crossed a lava field, ventured down inside the pits of a 4000 year old volcano, witnessed an epic sunset and marvelled at huge rainbows beaming over little townships, the expectations for Day 2 in Iceland were pretty high.
I had booked in a full day adventure with Extreme Iceland to journey around the South Coast, during which we were to see some beautiful waterfalls, beaches and do a glacier hike (just your typical Sunday stroll). It ended up being an incredible, well organised and awe-inspiring day, though a week later, I’m still feeling the repercussions of all the action and excitement. But alas, no rest for the wicked!
Our guide, Pauli (Polli?) was extremely jovial and informative. Having previously been a full-time hiker before joining the tour company a year ago, he was very much in touch with nature and also as a native Icelandic, had plenty of insight to share. For instance, did you know that TV used to be banned every Thursday, in order to encourage (force) citizens to engage in social activities at least once a week? Dogs also used to be banned in the city of Reykjavik for a period of time, along with beer (until 1989!). The country also ranks #1 on the global peace index, and maintains low levels of crime. Where I say Iceland feels like a world of its own, it’s for more reasons than its rugged, picturesque landscapes 🙂
After a 1.5 hour drive from Reykjavik, we arrived at the first of many Icelandic-natural-wonders-with-unpronounceable-names: Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This particular place is special as you can admire the cascading body of water by taking a walk behind the waterfall into a sheltered cave area. Also special as it featured in Justin Bieber’s “I’ll Show You” video clip (even if you’re not a JB fan, the cinematics of that video were undeniably commendable!).
There was also a neighbouring waterfall called Gljúfrafoss, which is partially secluded behind a cliff face, yet still accessible – an experience made more comfortable if you have a raincoat, as those freezing waters will most unavoidably spray you! Protect yourself and protect your camera lens (the order of prioritisation is up to you).
After these 2 waterfalls, we drove on to the Skógafoss waterfall. This place really put on a show for us here; as though a 60m waterfall with gorgeously lush green surrounds wasn’t cool enough, Mother Nature decided to throw a rainbow into the mix too. This would be an incredible place to hang out and soak in the valuable sunshine and views – plenty of people must have had this idea given the number of tents pitched around the place.
Alongside the waterfall was a trail of steps leading to a viewing platform at the top. Let me tell you, I really felt the toll of a recent lack of exercise here. Good thing there was plenty of beautiful scenery around, so I could stop along the way up the 60m climb to “take photos” while secretly just catching my breath. And to think that a few years ago, I had enough physical fitness to do a 48-storey stair climb race in Sydney! But getting to the top was worth it, for those panoramic views. And a double rainbow.
Hm, I had wanted to be succinct today but evidently, my enthusiasm about Iceland is getting the better of me! For my sake and yours, it’s probably a good idea to stop this lengthy excerpt here for today – stay tuned for the Glacier Hike, Black Sand Beach and more!