ÍS: Westman Islands

Westman Island, IcelandThe Westman Islands (Icelandic: Vestmannaeyjarare an archipelago off the southwestern of Iceland. The main island, Heimaey, is the only one populated (4,135). The island is accessible only by a ferry leaving regularly from Landeyjahöfn, a small port near Seljalandsfoss, the famous waterfall about halfway between Reykjavik and Vik. Westman Island, Iceland The Westman Islands were our last stop on two weeks of hitchhiking from Akureyri back to Reykjavik around the east coast. The island was beautiful, but I’ll be honest…I was completely exhausted and spent more time sleeping in my tent than exploring the steep hills and the strange landscapes left by the huge Eldfell volcano eruption in 1973, which destroyed 20% of the town. If you like Icelandic cinema, the Baltasar Kormákur film Djúpið (The Deep), takes place on and near the island (with mentions of the devastating erruption). Fun fact: Heimaey was home to Free Willy star Keiko the killer whale from 1998-2003 while efforts were underway to reintroduce him to the wild. 

Westman Island, Iceland

Westman Island, Iceland

Westman Island, Iceland

Westman Island, Iceland  [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland]

ÍS: Jökulsárlón/ Glacial Lagoon

F1000013glacier The Icelander who gave us a ride to Skaftafell in the evening offered to stop as we were passing Jökulsárlón, which is one of the most spectacular sights on the south coast. It’s a large glacial lake, filled with icebergs broken off from the edge of the glacier. You can often see seals swimming about in the lake, and I’ve heard that every once and a while a Killer Whale swims in from the ocean to hunt the seals. The icebergs often end up washing out to the ocean, on the other side of the Ring Road, and it is surreal to see them washed up on the black sand beach, being gently pushed back and forth by the cold Atlantic waves.

F1000014glacier

F1000012glacier [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland]

ÍS: Skaftafell & Svartifoss

Skaftafell, Iceland, svartifossJune 18th was a slow day for rides. We got stuck for extended periods of time at least twice. But as always, there were some kind people who picked us up. Including a French couple who had to wake us up when we got to the spot we were headed (over a week of traveling and camping, Alt-J cd playing, and an empty stretch of road was a fatal combination), and a tour bus driver who gave us a lift on his empty bus out of Höfn to a better hitchhiking spot. (Funny enough….I saw that French couple two more times over the next week: on our last day of traveling when we were trying to get a ride out of Selfoss and walking around the University once I was back. It’s a small island.)Skaftafell, Iceland, svartifossIt was late by the time we arrived at Skaftafell. The campground there, right on the edge of the Vatnjökull, is beautiful. While we were setting up out tents, we stuck up a conversation with an English traveler from the same part of London as my traveling companion. Our little conversation eventually merged with the two Icelanders camping with their Canadian friend next to us. They generously shared their wine, scotch, and a huge leg of lamb they had leftover from dinner. We all stayed up till 4, laughing and drinking as the sky dimmed, turned pink, and then, skipping any pretense of night, began to lighten again.F1000020skaft

Skaftafell, IcelandSkaftafell, IcelandAfter sleeping in the next morning, we went for a walk up to Svartifoss, once of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend more time in Skaftafell. It’s a great place to camp and hike. There were a lot of people there in June, but when I went for the weekend with friends back in the end of October 2013, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.Skaftafell, Iceland

Skaftafell, Iceland

Skaftafell, Iceland  [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland]

Höfn, Iceland

F1000007hofn We were dropped off in the quiet town of Höfn and took a walk along the water before catching a ride with a sweet tour bus driver who offered to take us out of town on his empty bus. The light on the water and mountains was spectacular. F1000008hofn

F1000009hofn  [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland]

ÍS: Southeast Ring Road

F1000010west Sights seen along the southwest section of the Ring Road, from Egilsstaðir to Vík. We were picked up by the drivers of the orange VW Van outside of Skaftafell. We had been waiting for almost an hour without luck when we saw it approaching in the distance. “Look at that…wouldn’t it be great if, after all this time, this is the car that picks us up?” The owners of this magnificent vintage ‘mobile were a Dutch couple in their early 30’s, dressed all in black, with piercings and tattoos.
F1000022west The quirky pair had brought the van over from the Netherlands on the ferry, fully equipped for sleeping and cooking, and were driving from Seyðisfjörður to Reykjavik to go skydiving. They had taken this van all over Europe, staying up late at pubs, then parking somewhere for the night once they wouldn’t get caught sleeping in it in public parking lots. They were both truck drivers, and managed their schedules carefully so that they could use all their vacation time for traveling. They tried to go skydiving in every country they visited. Definitely the most interesting ride we got on the way from Akureyri to Reykjavik.
F1000023west [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland]

ÍS: The Seyðisfjörður Harbor

Seyðisfjorður, Iceland Photos from the lovely lovely lovely little harbor of Seyðisfjörður on the east coast of Iceland, the first stop for anyone arriving via ferry.Seyðisfjorður, IcelandSeyðisfjorður, Iceland

Seyðisfjorður, Iceland

Seyðisfjorður, Iceland  [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland. See new posts right away by following the blog on Facebook.]

 

 

ÍS: Seyðisfjörður (Part Two)

Seyðisfjorður, IcelandMy iphone pictures from the idyllic little town of Seyðisfjörður turned out rather nice as well. You can check them out hereSeyðisfjorður, Iceland

Seyðisfjorður, Iceland

Seyðisfjorður, Iceland [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland. See new posts right away by following the blog on Facebook.]

ÍS: Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjorður, IcelandSeyðisfjörður is one of the most darling little towns in Iceland. It’s full of artists and creative types. Waterfalls are always visible and audible in the background, pouring down into the fjord from three sides of the village. After a few minutes waiting to catch a ride there from Egilsstaðir, we were picked up by two young Icelandic men trying to make the most of their days off. One was on a two month leave from his job on a fishing boat. They decided it would be good fun to take us all the way to Seyðisfjörður, even though they hadn’t been planning on going that way. After picking up a few beers from the store and cracking one open, we drove over a dip in the mountains that leads to the cozy fjord.Seyðisfjorður, IcelandHaving nothing better to do, Kolbeinn and Theodore (except Icelandic spelling?) gave us the “grand tour,” stopping at the scenic overlook and driving all through town. I’ve found that the average Icelander knows quite a bit about their history, literature, and the geology behind the landscape. We were then treated to our first rúnta: aimless driving around the same circuit through town, listening to music (DJ Muscle Boy and The Dead Weather in this case), drinking, and passing the time in a small town.Seyðisfjorður, Iceland

Seyðisfjorður, Iceland[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland. See new posts right away by following the blog on Facebook.]

ÍS: Making Our Way Around the Ring Road

F1000009ring Two along Iceland’s Ring Road between Akureyri and Egilsstaðir. 1) The campground at Mývatn and 2-3) a stop at a random waterfall somewhere in the northeast.F1000020ring

F1000019ring   [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland. See new posts right away by following the blog on Facebook.]

ÍS: Dettifoss (Part Two)

Dettifoss, Iceland

Dettifoss, IcelandDettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Its waters flow ultimately from Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. You can see in the picture above how the spray from the falls makes it look like a fog resting above the falls. The pictures below are actually Selfoss, a set of smaller falls next to the mighty Dettifoss.Dettifoss, Iceland

Dettifoss, Iceland  [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland. See new posts right away by following the blog on Facebook.]