Day 4 (What Do We Say To The God Of Death?)

I didn’t think Iceland could get any more magical, and then it happened…we stumbled upon a Krispy Kreme. On our way out of town, we needed to pick up a few more supplies to take with us for our stay in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. So we stopped at yet another local grocery store where once again we couldn’t read or understand anything; but at least this time we had a dozen glazed donuts to bring us some comfort. We are spending the next two nights and three days traveling around and exploring the southern coast of Iceland. This is where we will find puffins, black-sand beaches, glaciers, and I’m sure more mountains, sheep, and waterfalls.

As a group, we are about to get real close over the next few days seeing as we have to drive about six/seven hours (including stops) to get to our next lodging. And our lodging is a cabin about the size of a minivan with two bunkbeds and one sink inside of it.

On our drive down the coast, our first stop was Seljalandsfoss. This was the most incredible waterfall I have ever seen.

If the sheer size of the falls wasn’t already enough to make your jaw drop (**note: the tiny specs of color, in the photo above, are actually people**), then the fact that you can walk behind it made it just that much more spectacular. There is a giant cave carved into the side of the mountain that sits directly behind the falls. We had to climb up an unpaved and slippery path to get behind it, all the while being drenched from head to toe by the mist spraying up from the bottom of the falls. But it was totally worth it! The view from behind was amazing.

The entire path leading behind the waterfall was covered in water and moss, making it incredibly slippery to climb. We had on decent hiking boots, so it was a rare occasion when we would lose our footing. But we did witnessed several people, who obviously didn’t get the memo about the dangerous hiking conditions, that actually attempted to trek behind the falls wearing nothing more than wedges and suede shoes! I mean, I’m all for “doing it for the ‘gram’” but Jesus, Ashley…that seems a bit reckless.

After getting our fill of the magic, we continued down the path that hugs along side the mountain and ended up finding several other smaller falls that paled in comparison to Seljalandsfoss. That was, until we stumbled upon Gljufurarfoss. Gljufurarfoss is a neighboring waterfall that is tucked away in this extremely narrow crevice, just a few hundred yards from Seljalandsfoss.

We saw some people hovering outside of the entrance who, just like us, were trying to figure out the best way to access it. There’s a shallow river that you have to walk through to actually be able to see the entire falls. And without waterproof hiking boots, might prove to be a daunting task. After attempting to make a game plan, we decided to just go for it and hope for the best. We jumped from rock to rock, trying our best to avoid actually stepping in the glacier-cold water. We made our way through the entrance and were finally close enough to see it in its entirety, and it was magnificent.

^^Photo Cred: Emma^^

We spent a solid amount of time observing, photographing and taking videos of it before heading on our way to our next stop. Which was another waterfall called Skogafoss. 

Skogafoss was interesting to watch, because of its height and the amount of water coming down, but it’s really hard to be impressed after seeing the two previous falls. So after taking a few photos we quickly moved on to our next destination.

We kept heading further down the coast until we eventually got to the southern most part of Iceland, Dyrholaey. This was supposed to be the “it spot” for viewing puffins, but by the time we arrived it started pouring and the rest of our sightseeing afternoon was pretty much shot.

By the time we decided to skip the rest of our stops and just head to the cabin, we had already traveled to the very top of this rather steep mountain—which was supposed to be where the puffins nest. The road leading up there (and now down) was extremely narrow and had absolutely no guardrails in sight. So picture this…it’s raining, the road down is steep, with sharp blind turns. On one side of the car, you’re passing fellow drivers that are so close to you that you can literally see their nose hairs. And on the other side there is this 300 foot drop into sharp rocks and an ocean with sharks jumping out of it. Now, what happened next was something out of sitcom. We are rounding the sharpest turn on the entire mountain, and Emerson (like an idiot) decides to say out loud “it would really suck if one of those huge megabuses was coming around the corner the same time as us.” Well, the boy done cursed us, because guess what came barreling around the blind turn!

The bus driver didn’t seem phased at all that we had just suddenly met nose to nose. Meanwhile, the four of us were screaming bloody murder, praying to gods we don’t believe in, and calling our attorneys to amend our wills. They scraped by us with literally a single atom to spare.

With all of that excitement we were definitely ready to find our new home for the next few days.

Our cabins were as small and as quaint as we expected. There was barely enough room for all of us to breathe, but it was cute in its own way.

The man (who we named Hans) who seemed to be managing the property was absolutely adorable. According to the campsite’s website, we were supposed to pay for shower tokens and wifi vouchers. But when Emma and I went into the main office to ask how we should go about this, he literally just handed us a giant bag full of shower tokens and wifi codes and told us “don’t worry about it.” It’s still unclear if this happened because he was about the same age as us and this was his way of flirting, or because he felt sorry for the simple-minded American girls who just moments ago had to ask for his help starting the washing machine. But either way…we’ll take it.

After getting settled in and claiming our bunks [#TopBunkForLife #TheMonstersCantReachYouWhenYoureUpThatHigh] we found this cute little restaurant down the road that served burgers and fries for the low low price of $125. After our tummies were full, we headed back to camp and played games until it was time for bed. We were lulled to sleep by the sound of sheep right outside of our window playing, what I can only imagine to be, Marco Polo in the darkness.

Tomorrow we are going to attempt to find the puffins that we missed out on today, and visit a few black sand beaches. But before I go, you get to enjoy another list of observations we gathered while traveling cross country:

  1. There are no policemen, like anywhere
  2. They have electronic signs that flash a frowny face at you if you’re driving too fast, instead of ticketing you
  3. The roads are extremely well taken care of
  4. Outside of the city, there are no stoplights, only roundabouts (which Emerson does not believe in breaking for)
  5. Most of the restaurants here are attached to gas stations, and are actually really nice
  6. Their language and city names are almost humanly impossible to pronounce
    1. They use (almost) the same alphabet we do, but somehow have combined the letters in such a way that we can’t figure it out. And when you’re talking with a local or attempting to ask for directions to your next city…you always just end up sounding like an American idiot. For example:
      1. Kirkjubæjarklaustur is the name of the town we are staying in for the next few days. 
      2. Snaefellsnes is the name of a famous mountain and waterfall here.
      3. Eyjafjallajokull and Litluspjóthólmaflögur are two other well known landmarks on the island
  7. We haven’t spotted any schools or hospitals
  8. There is one American radio station, and they play the same three songs over and over and over again (Post Malone and Cardi B)
    1. They also don’t bleep out curse words or even the “N word” here??
  9. There is literally one road that leads around the coast of the entire country, and there is never any traffic. You just have to stop for the occasional sheep
  10. We’ve spotted dozens of sheep so far up the sides of the mountains that they are barely visible…we wonder how they got up there and if they ever tumble down

Until tomorrow!