October 22, 2018
Akranes to Skógar
We woke up in the dark, refreshed from a good night’s sleep.
We had planned another full day with stops at some of the sights we had missed on our original drive to the southwest part of the country.
But first we had to leave the hostel. When Andy went to put on his shoes, one of them was missing.
We were both perplexed, there were 2 doors to the hostel but the missing shoe wasn’t at either.
Did someone take it by mistake? That could potentially be the cause if both were missing, but not just one.
Did someone use it as a door stop? Nobody else was awake other than a French family whose room was next to ours. Laurie was about to ask them when Andy opened a closet near one of the doors and found the missing shoe.
Thank goodness. We really didn’t want to spend precious daylight shoe shopping, particularly since everything would be uber expensive and we are quite fond of our waterproof Keen boots. We suspect the young kiddo at the hostel hid it thinking it was funny, but we will never know.
Finally in the car with cozy boots, our first stop was to the local bakery. We bought a cinnamon roll larger than our heads to share on our last days in Iceland.
We left the town of Akranes via a 6 km underwater tunnel. It was rainy in Akranes and once again Laurie hoped that we would encounter different weather on the opposite side of the tunnel – again, this was not the case.
We had so much fun at the public pool in Akureyri we decided to go to as many pools as possible in our remaining days.
Given that it was 8:30 on a Monday morning, there were less people at the Lágafellslaug pool. The waterslides were not as steep or fast as those in Akureyri but we still had fun.
We went down the slides together (probably weren’t supposed to) to gain more speed. And there was nobody else there so we never had to wait. We had a blast! Laurie also swam laps while Andy alternated between the hot tubs and plunge pool.
It remained gloomy and rainy and the pool seemed to be the best place to be. Reluctantly we left around 10am to continue south.
We returned to Thingvellir National Park – a place we had accidentally driven through on our first delirious day without knowing its importance.
This site has both geological and historical significance. Iceland is the only place in the world where the rift between two tectonic plates is above sea level. They say the rift between the two plates widens by 2.5 cm each year.
Not only is it the meeting place of the North American and Euroasian tectonic plates, but it is the location where representatives from each clan met in the 10th century to discuss law on the island and create a commonwealth.
We joined the herd of people as we walked to the Öxarárfoss waterfall. In 7 days we haven’t heard as much English as we did in the hour we spent in this National Park.
It was cool seeing water fall off the shelf formed by the movement of tectonic plates but nothing as spectacular as the waterfalls we saw earlier in the trip.
As we pulled away Andy took a deep breath and tried to blow away all the clouds. We both want sunny skies but it it’s supposed to be cloudy and rainy for the remainder of our trip. But as we always do, we will make the best of it.
After leaving the park we turned onto Road 36 toward Kerid Crater. To our right there were many cars at a dam so we pulled in. As Andy neared his chosen parking space we heard a noise similar to running over a soda can.
Then, as Andy attempted to stop the car, the brake pedal went to the floor but the car did not slow. Andy pumped the brakes a few times and thankfully the car came to a complete stop just before hitting the concrete median and ruining the underbody of the car.
After a quick inspection Andy realized the right rotor showed extreme signs of uneven wear and there was no right front brake pad any more.
He was pissed but thankful this happened in a parking lot rather than on the highway or twisty mountain roads.
We called the rental car company and eventually the emergency service number. Three hours, one visit to the interactive energy museum, one cold walk and one Laurie nap later, a very nice service man met us with a new rental car.
We quickly moved our stuff to the new car and took off. We had to alter our plans quite a bit since we lost 3 hours of daylight but we were thankful to be safe and back on the road again.
As we turned into the parking lot for Kerid Crater both of us had an epiphany. We had been here before.
On our second day, when driving this same road we had seen a bunch of cars and tour buses so we pulled in. When we saw the 400 Kronar per person entry fee to see a crater we figured it wasn’t worth it and turned around.
Now we were back – and this time it was planned!
We laughed at ourselves for being so cheap, payed our entrance fees and walked around the top of the crater. It was pretty with the blue/green water in contrast to the red volcanic rock and vibrant green moss. Of course nothing was as vibrant as it could have been with heavy cloud cover and mist but it wasn’t raining.
We are glad we stopped here as this crater was formed about 6,500 years ago.
We continued south, having to pass up our original plan to have what many claim to be really good tomato soup at a farm with many greenhouses.
As we approached Seljalandsfoss falls the light was poor again so we kept driving to our hotel. It has turned into a long day.
Our hotel is about 5 minutes from Skogafoss, another really pretty waterfall we didn’t get to see on Day two.
We got out to take a quick look, with the intention of coming back tomorrow morning without the crowds to walk up the wooden staircase to the top of the falls.
We got settled into our hotel, enjoying nice features like views of a green mountain side and a heated bathroom floor.
We ate a delicious meal of locally caught Artic Char and roasted lamb in the intimate dining room of the hotel.
We are savoring the last few nights in Iceland and looking forward to our ice cave experience tomorrow, whatever the weather.
Tonight we are grateful for our boots (all four of them) and a working car.