Map of Southern Region
Our next overnight was at the Hrifunes Guest House, a charming inn off the beaten track. Hrifunes is jointly owned by Hadda Gisladottir who traveled with us for the first several days of our journey and by our photography guide Haukur Snorrason. The meals are served family style and we can attest to the excellent skills of their kitchen staff and the comfort of the rooms. As I mentioned in Chapter 1 of this odyssey, Hadda primarily manages the guest house while Haukur primarily manages the photo tour operation.
View from the Reading Room, Hrifunes Guest House
Dining Area of Hrifunes Guest House
The next morning we headed off for the Valley of Thor, an area without roads, bridges, hotels, or restaurants. But that will be the subject of the next post. We still had a number of stops on the way.
It didn’t take long for Haukur to abandon the main highway for a destination he had previously spotted from his plane when scouting for remote photo locations. Needless to say, we had this location all to ourselves.
Undisclosed Location, Southern Iceland
After returning to the main road, we spotted a large field of lupine that seemed to be calling for us to come and photograph it.
Field of Lupine
The small village of Vik is an excellent place to stop for lunch and/or stroll along a black sand beach and/or capture some images of the hillside church above the village.
Hillside Church Overlooking Vik and Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
After lunch, we were planning to check out the Dyrholaey Lighthouse, but the road was jammed with traffic and so we opted for a nearby spot which gave us an excellent overview of Arnardrangur, a massive basalt monolith standing on Reynisfjara, the black sand beach.
Arnardrangur, with Reynisdrangar Sea Stcks in the Distance
A short distance from here, we came upon Skogafoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. Its name comes from the Skoga River which tumbles over a 200-foot cliff befopre continuing to the sea some 3 miles away. At one time, the coastline was marked by these cliffs, but receded long ago. The river below the falls holds a large salmon and char population and is popular with fishermen between July and October.
Skogafoss, Mid-Afternoon Light
This picture is somewhat deceptive because this is a popular tourist stop and several hundred people were there with us. But almost all were behind us to avoid the mist or climbing the 370 steps to the top of the falls where there is an overlook.
As one travels along the Route 1 in Iceland there are numerous farms on what appears to be a wonderfully serene landscape of waterfalls and/or snowcapped mountains. We stopped briefly at one that seemed especially nice as shown in the image below.
Family Farm in Idyllic Setting
But upon examining an explanatory sign next to the entrance road, we discovered that there is a downside to some locations. In the case of this property, that downside revealed itself on April 14, 2010 with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. We would be headed in the general direction of that volcano next. But Haukur didn’t seem concerned.
Next: Into the Valley of Thor……