I woke up at 3:30am feeling very refreshed and awake. Too bad that wasn’t helpful. Stayed up until about 4:30 and finally fell back asleep, then got up again at 7:45. Despite being small and “budget” in other ways, this hotel had a nice free breakfast. Hard boiled eggs, slices cheeses, sliced meats, various breads, tomatoes and cucumbers, cereal and yogurt, melon, coffee, juice, and milk. And a lovely little dining room to eat in. We filled up there and hit the road to the Blue Lagoon about a half hour away.
The Blue Lagoon is indeed touristy, but it’s still a fun experience. We rented a towel from the front desk and headed to the locker rooms which are very well outfitted. They are very modern and nice, and have private showers for everyone to get clean before going into the water. There is a door to exit onto the outside deck and then go into the water, which is probably great in summer, but thankfully there was also an indoor entrance to the water from which you can then wade outside. We chose that nice warm option, but for whatever reason most people did not. Instead they would come prancing out the door in flocks and go screaming into the water which was very entertaining to watch. There were mud masks available and a swim up bar, but we did not partake. We just waded around and enjoyed the warm water in the cool air. We did walk the entire place, which is very big. While there were a lot of people there that morning there was also more than enough space to enjoy. I can imagine in a high season it could be really very crowded, though.
After we dried off and changed we started on the road trip portion of the day. First stop, about an hour away, was a town called Selfoss where we intended to have lunch. I had marked a cafe I wanted to try and we went straight there only to be turned away because they were too busy. Hmph. We scrambled to find an alternative that would be quick and ended up in a tiny corner shop called Burgerjoint. Icelandic veggie burgers aren’t bad! It ended up being a nice and fast choice for lunch so we weren’t too disappointed to miss the cafe. We got back on the road and went to find our first waterfall, Urridafoss. It’s the most voluminous waterfall in Iceland according to the sign. More water flows over it each year than any other. It was not very tall, but was quite wide and fast. Not many people were there with us, presumably because it isn’t listed in the recommendations I found everywhere. They’re missing out, it’s beautiful.
The next 3 waterfalls were all mobbed with tourists because they’re tall, impressive, easily accessible, and listed in every book on the subject. First we hit Seljalandsfoss which is big and gorgeous, and the coolest part is you can walk behind it! Which we did! Despite it being cold and windy and the spray from the waterfall feeling like a full blast garden hose, we walked behind it and it was fabulous. Just up a trail from there is Gljúfrabúi which is enclosed by its own canyon, and very beautiful. We couldn’t get too close to it due to the current depth of the river, but it was very cool in its own way. After that we walked back to the car and drove onto the final waterfall.
The last one, Skógafoss, has a very long stairway that you can walk to get a top down view that you cannot get from the others. There are so many stairs. But we climbed them slowly. And the view was pretty nice. Back down at the bottom we ventured pretty close to the base of the falls and again got sprayed pretty hard, but it was worth the photos.
Our final stop of the day was Dyrhólaey, a nature preserve/promontory where you can see some cool natural rock formations and, at the right time of year, puffins. Somewhere between Skógafoss and Dyrhólaey we drove into quite a wind and rain storm. I had read that bringing an umbrella to Iceland was pointless because the rain attacks you from the side and the wind will snatch it anyway. That was very very true. By the time we got up to the parking at the overlook of Dyrhólaey the wind was almost unbearable and the sideways rain was stinging our faces. We walked around anyway trying to enjoy the views over the black sand beaches, the natural rock archway, the old light house, and look for puffins that are probably only there in summer. It was kind of miserable, but we did it and took our gray rainy pictures. And then got back to the car quickly.
We were somewhat tired after those final 2 stops and drove straight to our hotel in Vík after that. This hotel was much nicer than the last. The room is bigger and comfier with a normal double bed, a much nicer shower, and a gorgeous view of the coast line. We got settled in and unpacked for the next 3 nights, and looked for a place for dinner. This little seaside town only has 3 real restaurants, one of them being inside our hotel. We decided on a place called Sudur-Vik up the street that seemed like it should have good beer and pizza. We drove over there and were told it would be a 45-60 minute wait. We said ok! We figured the other two options would probably be similar. Unfortunately it’s a popular tourist stopping town and the three restaurants are all pretty small inside. It turned out not to be that long of a wait anyway, maybe only 20 mins, and the beer and pizza was indeed very good. I also got to try Skyr Cake for the first time this trip which I had been looking forward to. It was very tasty as well.
We came back to the hotel to digest and shower. As I got out of the shower I realized my purse wasn’t in the room. I remember putting it near my chair at the restaurant, but after my 11.5% alcohol beer I guess I left without it. Oops. Eric had to run back out and drive to the restaurant to retrieve it. Thankfully it was there, and also I wasn’t the only one! They had another purse, too, haha. After a long day of sightseeing along the south of Iceland we were ready for bed.