South Coast Part Two

After Skogafoss, we traveled about 40 minutes to the Solheimajokull which is part of Mydralsjokull. (kull means glacier).  This glaicier is massive and we only hiked on the "tongue" of the glacier. Basically this glacier used to take up the whole valley in which it now sits. It has receded significantly. Our guide told us that for about five or ten years the glacier will be expanding and the for about five or ten years it will be shrinking, the difference is that in the last cycle, the decreasing was much larger making it abnormal. When you look at the valley and see how much has disappeared in such a sort time it is scary and makes you wonder where all that water could possibly go.

At out lunch stop were all fitted for "cramp ons" for our boots. They were so prepared they even had hiking boots, waterproof pants, and jackets for people to borrow in case they were improperly dressed. When we arrived at the glacier we walked right up to the ice and then had cramp on putting on and walking lessons so to speak. Then we were off. The cramp ons worked so well, you just stuck right into the ice. I sort of thought they were just going to go a little ways on the more flat parts and then have us come down but we were up there for about two hours treapsing around all sorts of terrain. It was magnificent. Since we had broken into smaller groups (12-15 people each) there was a lot of time to ask questions and such. We were with our bus guide Stefan and he was a wealth of knowledge and super relaxed. He explained a lot about the area, how glaciers form and crevasses. It was like being on a national geographic special. Awesome to say the least.

After this hearty hike, we came down and went for waterfall number two called Seljallendsfoss. This one is pretty famous and there are great views from all angles. In the summer you can even walk behind it. It was getting close to dark and getting pretty cold so we were only there a short time, but it was long enough to drink it in. The water was flowing off these falls with such force that it almost thundered as it hit the water below.  

Once back on the bus Stefan told us that northern lights were a no go for sure. The forecast was mostly for the very north of the country and it was pretty cloudy in the south where we were. We drove a ways to a town on the water to taste the famous lobster soup. I did in fact try some even though I'm vegetarian. I basically drank the broth and gave the lobster pieces to my parents. It was a lobster bisque from everything I could tell. My parents who are a lot more meat and seafood experienced than I am claim they were small lobsters or even crayfish. All reviews were good though. It was tasty and properly spiced.

Since the norther lights weren't a go, at this point it was torrentially down-pouring, they sent us next door to the restaurant to a museum sort of place that had a northern lights video. However in order to get to the video, you had to walk through the troll museum, which was more like a dark troll cave. Trolls are a big part of the folklore here. The trolls you could easily not look at if they freaked you out, the problem was that there was also a recording of a baby crying on loop as part of the exhibit, and not a normal sounding one, it was creepy. Apparently there was also a ghost museum around the corner too. So we watched the video which had some stunning footage of the auroras and some decent information. No substitute of course but nice to watch.

By the time we got back outside to the bus sometime around 10pm the rain had increased even more and whipping winds had also started. The drive back to the hotel was treacherous as the rain turned to snow and then we passed through the mountains where the blizzard had been just an hour before. I played a serious amount of solitaire on my phone trying not to look at how much snow was on the road. I was in the second row of the bus so it was hard not to look at the snow, winding roads, and bus speed. The driver was a pro though and we didn't even seem to skid at all. We got back to the hotel exhausted and happy.