The Beautiful Waterfalls of Iceland

We were treated to a glorious sunrise on the morning of our drive from Selfoss to Vik. Once again, beautiful blue skies greeted us and we could not wait to get started. Bumping into Joe whilst we were checking out, he surprised us with an itinerary, complete with cartoon sketches. of his favourite stops. It was most kind of him and we thanked him for being an absolutely brilliant host. We had really enjoyed our stay at Vatnsholt farm and it was little things like this that really makes a difference. Not surprisingly, on his list included some we already knew about, but there were also other places that was new to us. Packing everything into our 4WD’s, we set off, driving eastwards, towards Vik where Gunnar’s son had just been a couple of days before when we saw the Northern Lights.

IMG_4680Sunrise in Selfoss – Hekla volcano in the distance. Joe said this volcano had erupted every ten years since 1970 but the last one was in 2000. So, he thinks it is overdue which of course was most comforting to hear!

Urriðafoss
This was the first place on Joe’s list and one we have not heard about. It was also just 15 minutes drive away so naturally we headed straight there following Joe’s instructions via some back roads. We learnt that this is actually Iceland’s most voluminous waterfall. More water flows through here than any other waterfall in Iceland. It is not as pretty as Gulfoss but shares a similar history. In the past, it was also thought to build a hydro-electric plant here. But that came to nothing. However, we read that recently the Landsvirkjun power company is considering a 130 MW hydroplant at Urriðafoss. This would most certainly mean an end to the waterfall. Who knows what will happen but we certainly hope that this does not come to pass.

uridafoss

IMG_4691Pinkles enjoying the sun at Urriðafoss

Seljalandfoss
A bit over 50km from Urriðafoss, we came to Seljalandfoss which you will be able to spot from the road. This is one of the popular waterfalls in Iceland and a favourite with tour buses and also other folks like us stopping to visit. It plummets about 60m from the top but what is unique about this waterfall is that there is a trail which will allow you to actually walk behind it! Unfortunately, in winter this walk is closed as it gets too icy. So we had to be content with just appreciating it as it is. If you have the time, there are other waterfalls that you can walk to from Seljalandfoss.

IMG_4775

IMG_4726A very icy looking path that will lead you behind the waterfall. Obviously closed in winter!

IMG_4728

20150331_121210Walking further along there are many waterfalls

IMG_4732One of the waterfalls not far from Seljalandfoss

Skogafoss
Then just thirty minutes drive away is Skogafoss which we all agreed is our favourite. As high as Seljalandfoss, Skogafoss however is much wider and with the sun brightly shining overhead, it produced the most alluring rainbow of all. This may have contributed to another one of Icelands favourite folklore where it is believed, Þrasi, a local settler actually hid his gold in a chest behind Skogafoss. For a while, a tiny part of the chest was actually visible. I assume after multiple attempts by many, one day, three men from Skogar managed to attach a hook to an iron ring on one side of the chest. They then gave it a mighty pull but instead of pulling the chest out, the iron ring broke loose instead This ended any further attempts and the ring was placed on a door in a church in Skogar.

skogarfoss 2Stunning Skogafoss with its rainbow

You will find this story on an inscription at Skogafoss together with the verses which talks about this legend that has been handed down for generations

The chest in Þrasi’s secret lair
Under the Skogar waterfall
Rewards the one who venture there
With endless riches, great and small.

skogafoss3Because of the nature of the waterfall, you can actually walk up to it. But due to the mist and spray, it gets a bit wet not to mention also very icy and slippery. Alternatively, If you wish, there are also stairs that allow you to walk up to the top. This is certainly a good test of fitness as I think there are well over a hundred steps. Getting to the top on a sunny day though, we were ready to do away with our winter jackets! Nevertheless, the view is pretty spectacular and you can see all the way to the black beaches on the South Coast. Also at the top, is the start of a hiking trail which is one of the most popular in Iceland. Apparently, the trail will take you between the glaciers Eyjafallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. We read that the trail can take up to 7-9 hours! So just as well we stopped there and did not go any further.

IMG_4812Stairs taking you over the fence to the start of the hiking trail at the top of Skogafoss

IMG_4815View from the top of Skogafoss

A short drive from Skogafoss is the Skogar museum. This place houses a large collection of tools, equipment, crafts and all sorts of items preserving the culture and heritage of Icelandic history. The highlight for us was the turf farmhouses. Offering superior insulation in those days, the walls of these charming houses appear to be of basalt rock whilst turf is used for the roof! They reminded me so much of the hobbit homes in the Lord of the Rings! Maybe this is where Tolkien got his inspiration from. It is well worth a visit just for the history.

IMG_4819

IMG_4822Inside of a turf farmhouse showing the structure

IMG_4825Another turf house with walls and ceilings

Next, we continue onto Vik and Iceland’s famous Reynisfara beach.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s