September 3, 2017
The Vatnajökull glacier covers over 8% of Iceland, and for a short while, the fog lifted just enough for us to catch our first glimpse from our hotel room. Before we made the approximately 30 minute drive to visit, we backtracked to the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. Even in the light rain, the entire area felt mystical like fairies could be fluttering around us and a troll could be hiding in a nearby cranny. Only pixie dust could have formed this 2km ravine that measures up to 100 meters deep. A river flowed through the broken landscape and I felt like if we could have wandered further, we would have found a collection of gnomes sailing their way back to the ocean.
You can find turf houses scattered throughout the country and I thought them so beautiful and picturesque. At the Núpsstaður farm, they were used for storing hay. We loved visiting this private farm (make sure to park outside the gates and walk in) and admiring their distinct construction. According to my online research, turf houses offer solid insulation in the harsh climate and are built from construction materials that are easy to obtain.
Marveling at the icebergs floating around the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon was definitely the highlight of my day. On the border of the Vatnajökull National Park, melting glacial water connects here to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Chunks of ice with a mild florescent blue tinge swayed with the tide as they floated out to sea. The hues of the ice when they washed up on the black sand shore appeared as vibrant as oversized diamonds. While seals splashed around in the frosty waters before us, we couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful place to round out our day.
We traveled further East into a more desolate region where we stayed the night in Höfn, the second largest town in southeastern Iceland. Any English speaker would literally pronounce this town as Hof-n, but our AirBnB hosts were lovely in correcting us. Who would have known that a word like Höfn would sound something like a hiccup?