Thursday, September 13, 2018

Iceland - Day 2

After breakfast, we drove two and a half hours to Glacier Lagoon (aka Jökulsárlón, which I don't know how to say). I've always wanted to see glaciers and icebergs (Antarctica has been on my bucket list forever), and this destination did not disappoint. 
We took the amphibian boat tour to get a closer look at some of the icebergs in the lake, including this black zebra one (named for its black stripes where volcanic ash had layered into the ice). We learned that the glacier these icebergs have broken off of - Breiðamerkurjökull - has been receding 200 meters a year for the last 20 years, and last year it receded 600 meters. This is due to a variety of factors including sun, acid rain, increased salinity of the water, and higher temperatures. It's hard to imagine them disappearing altogether.
They passed around a chunk of 1,000 year old ice and we got to taste little pieces of it - it tasted like ice!
At the end of the lake, the smaller chunks of ice that had broken off were headed out to the sea. The water wasn't very deep though, so pieces got stuck along the way. The water was moving very fast and it was fun to watch things bob along and crash into other ice. (See my IG for a video of a round iceberg in action.)
Beyond the bridge was a beach they called "Black Diamond Beach" because of the black sand and the glittering chunks of ice that came ashore. I particularly liked these two beauties that looked like sculptures to me.
We grabbed a little lunch and then hiked out behind the restaurant to see the Svínafellsjökull Glacier. I know it might just seem like we've been chasing ice around all day, but we have and it's amazing!! All the white framed between the two mountains is thousand (plus) year old ice.
Svartifoss was well worth the 5 mile round trip hike. Located in Europe's third largest National Park - Vatnajökull National Park - which covers 13% of Iceland, this waterfall was super impressive, surrounded by hexagonal basalt columns, which were created when lava cooled very slowly and the molten rock could crystallize.
Our last stop of the day, okay third to last, was Fjaðrárgljúfur, a canyon with a river/stream running through it. It was absolutely beautiful but the time of day and the position of the sun made it a little challenging to capture - this was my best attempt.
This church is right behind the place we're staying, and if you've ever purchased the latest edition of Frommer's Iceland guide, you've seen it on the cover. We barely made it back in time before the sun went behind a mountain, and a crew was working on the right side of the church with a big ugly lift, so I was pretty happy with capturing this baby so well in all her glory.
We finished off our day with dinner at Smiðjan Brugghús. It was so good - the Google reviews did not lie! I had their amazing vegan burger - complete with vegan cheese - it was gone in minutes. I also had a yummy gose beer, or two. We even met up with Brian's cousins who happened to be in Iceland at the same time as us. It's a very small world! Thanks for stopping by - more adventures await tomorrow!

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