When we left off in Part 1 of Day 6, we had just recovered the drone from a double crash with barely even a scratch! Feeling extra lucky, we decided that was enough drone flying near any cliffs for a bit, and continued on down the road for a little more sight seeing.
But just before we get to that, I wanted to throw in a little tip I learned right before we left the famous black sand beach called Reynisfjara. They often have little cafes set up at the most popular tourist attractions, and inevitably you’re going to have to pay to use the bathroom which sometimes is as much as $2. Of course as you can imagine, this really starts adding up!
At this particular cafe the bathrooms were outdoors, and you needed to pay with your credit card to use them. As it would happen, all I had were coins in my pocket, which is usually what you need so I didn’t have my credit card on me.
So I went into the cafe to purchase a ticket to use the bathroom, and discovered a nice little tip. Most of these cafes have bathrooms inside, but obviously they’re only for customers. Which brings me to my point, which is just buy a bottle of water for 1-2 dollars, and you’ll get to use the nice bathrooms for a cheaper price than the tourist option outside.
Anyways, back to the fun stuff like more sight seeing. So after leaving the black sand beach we continued on toward a famous canyon called Fjaðrárgljúfur. Which no matter how hard I try, I absolutely cannot pronounce this particular sight! I hate to even say this because it makes this most beautiful of place seem like just another tourist attraction. But because neither one of us could pronounce it, (despite trying to use Google’s help) we started referring to it as the ‘Justin Bieber’ canyon because apparently he shot one of his music videos here – I mean… who knew?
As you might imagine it’s put this particular tourist attraction on the map and now everyone goes to see it. That being said, it’s incredibly beautiful, and I couldn’t imagine not stopping to see it even though it’s becoming quite crowded.
But along the way to this gorgeous canyon we pulled off onto some 4×4 roads to check out these really cool looking fields of rock covered in enchanting moss, or maybe it’s lichen. Either way, you can see what I’m talking about in the above 2 photos.
Later after we got home, we found out Justin Bieber shot a 2nd music video featuring people dancing on these mossy rocks, (pictured above). And I can’t even wrap my head around the havoc this sort of thing can wreak on a fragile ecosystem like this. Also as a person that lives near a very popular national park, my heart goes out to everyone in Iceland that has to watch their beautiful country being trampled. There’s plenty to see of these amazing rocks without having to damage them, including roads that lead right into the heart of some of these rock fields, where it’s nothing but a sea of moss around you.
I’m really trying to not get too intense here, but having been witness to this type of problem right in my own back yard, I feel strongly that education is the only way to preserve the beauty we all want to be able to see. Even during our 2 weeks in Iceland more laws were being added, and signs are starting to go up everywhere forbidding pretty much everything you might want to do.
One of the coolest things about a place like Iceland is the ability to walk up to a waterfall without massive amounts of chainlink fence standing between you and nature. But as their tourism increases, so does the amount of problems, and hence the signs and fences starting to go up everywhere. Slowly it’s loosing it’s innate wildness, which is what first attracted me to it so many years ago.
But back to the difficult to pronounce canyon, we spent quite a long time here taking photos, and getting some video from the drone. And then we hiked up the hill on the trail leading from the parking lot to the other end of the canyon for some more views. There’s several viewpoints along the way, and at the end of the trail there a couple of waterfalls that are simply stunning. They definitely make the short hike worthwhile in my opinion.
By now the sun had set, and darkness was starting to fall, so we finally started making our way back towards the van. Since we visited this extra popular attraction so late, there were barely any people there for the few hours we stayed, which might be a good tip if you’re not fond of large crowds. Going to some of these places right before dark or pre-dawn is great for quite contemplation, although not so good for your sleep or general feeling of relaxation on vacation. But I thought I’d mention it, because we found it to be 100% worth giving up sleep or having dinner out, to see some of these place in relative peace and quiet!
Once we’d re-organized all the gear in the van, we got out a snack of local gouda cheese, and some salt and pepper potato chips. Sight seeing until dark, and then driving to the next location doesn’t leave you much time to make your own dinner. And you certainly won’t find anything open late at night in between most of these places.
But we figured we’d cook dinner when we got to our next location, so we got back on the road with our snacks. And speaking of snacks, pre-sliced cheese in Iceland is a great snack if you can have dairy. Every few days, we’d re-stock our cooler with cheese, (and yogurt of course – it’s so good!) and we found by the end of the trip we were buying only pre-sliced to save on time + having a little convenience.
Once on the road we started the ever fun process, (insert a little sarcasm here) of finding a place to sleep in the dark, without having an exact destination planned out. Finally as we were getting close to our next sight to see, Skaftafell National Park, we found a rest stop and pulled in. Unfortunately for us, even as short as our drive was away from the canyon, we’d entered into a new weather pattern and the wind was howling.
Since there was no way our little stove would be able to withstand these gale-force winds, we decided on yet another night without dinner, and had another slice of cheese. (Which I’m guessing you’re starting to see a pattern by now with the difficulty in making meals while sight-seeing around the clock.)
But we reassured ourselves we’d get up extra early for a nice big breakfast since we were planning on scrambling Kristinartindar Peak the next day. Little did we know, our food troubles were only just beginning, (more to come on that story the morning of Day 7).