Friday, November 25, 2016

Iceland road trip - day 9

Thursday 22 September 2016

I woke up first, went to brush my teeth and came back to a sight I was getting used to -- Viv sleeping and Xena reading her dinosaur book.

I was touched that my considerate child had switched on the bedside lamp instead of the room light. 

My li'l bookworm devouring the dino facts...

...and then proceeding to some bird-watching

We decided to make pancakes for breakfast. Our host, who was also a chef by the way, had a very well-stocked kitchen. He popped by to see us just as we were having breakfast. He had lots to tell us about Iceland. I was particularly fascinated to learn that it was the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption that put Iceland on the map and got people around the world curious enough to visit, somewhat mitigating the situation caused by the financial crisis. Here's an interesting article about how tourism became the island's biggest industry.

We gave our host a Singapore fridge magnet as a souvenir and some pandan cakes as a thank you. He stuck the magnet on the fridge immediately -- it was so heartening. Later, Xena wrote and drew on his guestbook, telling him how beautiful his house was.

As we prepared to check out of the lovely house, our little bunny took a tour of the place...

...and the surroundings.

The first stop for the day was Grábrók Crater, about 92 km away. The forecast showed rain, so I wasn't too sure we'd be able to walk around the crater. We set off anyway, and sure enough, it started raining. By the time we reached, it was still raining quite heavily. It was also very cold and very windy. It looked like there was no way we would be ablt to hike up to the crater. I was feeling so disappointed that we'd have to leave without seeing the crater.

Viv, however, had a good idea. He suggested that we could have an early lunch in the car and that would give us some time to wait and see if the rain stopped. Luckily, I'd picked up Xena's lunch and some sandwiches for us in the morning when Viv was fueling up.

Xena shows off her noodle lunch. It was a welcome change after days of pasta and sandwiches.

And she finished most of it, all by herself!

To our delight, it actually had stopped raining by the time we finished eating! I patted Viv on the back for his quick thinking, and we set off towards the steps that would take us to the Grábrók Crater.

Xena eagerly running off towards the steps

It was a long, long way to the top...

...but Xena did her best to keep up with us. 

Sometimes she'd take a break...

...and then carry on again, holding on to Viv's hand.

The path was full of lava covered with moss and flowers. 

Finally, we reached. Click on the picture to see the size of the people in relation to the size of the crater!

Xena and me posing with the crater

There are actually three craters in the area -- Stóra (big) Grábrók, Litla (small) Grábrók and Grábrókarfell. Litla Grábrók has mostly disappeared as a result of mining before the area was declared a protected zone. The craters were formed in a fissue eruption about 3000 years ago. 

The crater rises about 170 metres above the ground. 

Even the insides of the craters were moss-covered. 

Click on the photo to see the people on the top left walking around the crater's rim. 

Colorful and beautiful. We did the full walk around the rim of the crater and answer Xena's 2828387447 questions about volcanoes. 

The boardwalk was still wet from the rain so we had to walk carefully. 

Pretty little flowers all around

After spending the gorgeously windy morning admiring the crater, we headed off to Deildartunguhver  — Europe's most powerful hot spring, with a flow rate of 180 litres per second! 

The water that emerges from the spring is close to boiling point. Most of the water used for central heating in the towns of Borgarnes and Akranes is taken from Deildartunguhver. The water is piped 34 km to Borgarnes and 64 km (the longest in Iceland) to Akranes. 

We had seen hot springs before, but you could tell these were different. Angrier. Scarier. 

No wonder they were cordoned off all the way. 

I captured two videos to show just how violent these hot springs are. 

At the carpark was a kiosk with locally-grown tomatoes for sale ...an unmanned kiosk!

I couldn't believe our trip around Iceland was almost coming to an end. We had started off at Reykjavik, and here we were, heading back to it. To get to Reykjavik, we took the Hvalfjörður Tunnel that goes under the Hvalfjörður fjord. The tunnel is more than 5 km long and reaches a depth of 165 metres below sea level. It was a surreal experience driving through it. Thanks to the construction of the tunnel in 1998, passing the fjord takes 7 minutes instead an hour. 

Our accommodation was in the tiny town of Sævangur, as we didn't want to jostle with the city traffic of Reykjavik. Also, getting to the airport would also be easier. 

The house was on a huge lava field, which you could see right out of the window. The place was immaculately maintained by the hostess. There was a rules book with many many pages of information, about the five different bins and what to throw in each, and where exactly to view the Northern Lights from, etc.  

There was a beautiful 'sun room' that Xena instantly fell in love with, and our hostess was kind enough to give her some toys with play with in the room. 

We were looking up dinner places nearby and when Viv found out that was a Taco Bell, we didn't need to look any further. You see, he's a BIG fan of their fire sauce and doesn't even care what he puts it on. He'd go to a Taco Bell just for the sauce. Singapore used to have Taco Bell outlets when we were in university, but they folded, breaking his heart. So now he travels the world in search of that fire sauce. 

Once we were done with dinner, we popped by a supermarket nearby to pick up some Icelandic chocolates as souvenirs. Depression was starting to set in. The next day was going to be our last day in Reykjavik! :(

Click here for Iceland road trip - day 10.



Post a Comment

<< Home