Day 4: November 8, 2015
Kimberley’s and my last full day together was spent touring the South Shore. Our day began earlier than ever, and our first stop was one of Erling’s choosing (and apaprently not typically on the South Shore tours), Urriðafoss. Lucky for us the area is untouched – ie no hydropower stations. However, Erling shared with us, that likely the next time we’re back to Iceland, this will have changed.
I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again, having Niagara Falls in my backyard, the falls we’ve seen in Iceland are not that impressive – in terms of water flow, size, noise, etc., BUT, the untouchedness? The quiet? That. That is impressive… and the sheer number of waterfalls. Sure there are the tourists that get caught in my photos from time to time, but it really is lovely taking a picture and not having some man made clunky building as part of the backdrop.
One of the largest waterfalls in Iceland: 60 metre drop, 25 metres wide.
Legend has it that the first Viking settler in the area buried treasure in the cave behind the waterfall and where we got up close and personal… and a little wet. Locals “found” the chest years later, but when they grasped the ring on the side of the chest, it disappeared. The ring still exists and is in a museum. The chest? No one knows…
These cliffs we were affronted with make up the former coastline. The modern day coast I believe is 5 km away.
We continued on to the quaint, and southernmost town of Vík í Mýrdal 180 km outside of Reykjavik.
I spy with my little eye… a little something from Game of Thrones… Another legend a postcard told me: The basalt standalone rocks are former trolls who got caught by the morning sun, while dragging their boat out to sea, and turned to stone.
Vík is a small town (population ~300), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in natural beauty. The black basalt sand has landed Vík as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And wettest on the island. And interesting to note, there is no landmass between Vík and Antarctica; the waves be fierce with nothing to slow them down!
Vík rests below Katla, which sits underneath the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The volcano has been in repose longer than expected. Translation? It’s due to erupt!
If Katla does erupt, there would be a huge flood, from, you know, all that glacial ice. The church is thought to be the safest place if such an event were to occur.
We moved around to the other side of the frozen-in-time trolls. The black basalt beach is one of three in the world: Iceland, Ireland, and Hawaii. And lucky for me, I’ve been to two. Woot! Here I come Hawaii.
Everywhere you step: movie location. Beowolf, Noah, GoT, Star Wars, James Bond: all filmed here.
Our last stop of the day took us to a small combination of gift shop and museum. We sat to watch a short film, voiced by a very soft-spoken Hanna Lara Andrews. Whom, incidentally, ran the shop. It’s her shop. It’s her story. The story?
We sat in the dark and learned of her family’s experience and what they had to go through to save their farm (below) and livelihood. It was a beautiful story. Kim recognized Hanna behind the counter immediately and we shared with her just how beautiful and heartwarming her story is.
We then bought a lot of volcanic ash soaps.
And with that stop, our southern shore tour came to an end.