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Sunday, 01 May 2016

Glimpses of a Landscape: Southern Iceland - Page 3

Written by Rama Shivakumar
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August 17th

Somewhere near Vík

 

The landscape is a picture perfect postcard: green hills fall gently on either side of the curvy road; red rooftops of farms and woolly sheep dot the hillsides covered with wildflowers.

 

We make a sharp left turn to face the open Atlantic Ocean; the scenery is a vivid contrast as the road plunges to the black beach below at Reynisfjara.

 

It is a pebble beach. Oval, gray-black, smooth and polished river stone pebbles crunch under our feet. Dramatic rock formations rise from the sea, just offshore like jagged swords. Legend has it that two trolls unsuccessfully dragged a three masted ship to land in total darkness. They turned into the Reynisdrangar sea stacks as the first rays of the morning sun hit the shore.

 

Rain clouds gather and big drops fall quickly.

 

The vista is at once striking, almost theatrical; the lava has crystallized at the cliff line to perfect hexagonal basaltic columns that resemble an old city fallen to ruin.

 

We take shelter in a vaulted cavern, the Hálsanefeshellir. The walls of the cave are carved basaltic ridges. The sea arch is visible at the end of the curved beach line at Dyrhólaey. A curtain of rain falls, blurring the horizon. The puffins do not come out to the cliffs.

 

We miss seeing them.

 

August 18th

Mýrdallsjökull area

 

Our little log cottage sits on an idyllic farmland at the foot of the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

Eijafjallajokull With Log Cabin In The Foreground

In April of 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull erupted sending up an ash plume that rose to a height of 30,000ft. This volcanic cloud disrupted air travel across western and northern Europe, stranding millions of travelers.

 

Today the ice cap glistens in the morning sun. A few fluffy clouds dance around the top; it is a pastoral scene of breathtaking beauty. We walk along a river that skips happily over the rocks on the farmland. Cows and short Icelandic horses graze here and there. We pause to ruminate with them.

 

The coastline in the Mýrdallsjökull area has receded but the cliffs remain; waterfalls of incredible beauty cascade down onto the plain. Lush greenery surrounds the Seljalandsfoss as it comes down from a height of 200ft. The slippery trail is treacherous, leading to an enchanting cave behind the falls. The inside-out view is spectacular.

 

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 01 May 2016

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