This was the first day I woke not so ready to hit the road, it was gloomy outside and for some reason I was just not feeling the road. Nevertheless I packed up my Duster and headed out once again. After I started driving, my spirits rose as I took in the sunrise reflecting off of the still pools, glaciers, and mountaintops. My goal today was to see the glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón, and from there head to Svartifoss and a glacier walk before spending the night in Vík which was a popular tourist destination.
Along the way to Jökulsárlón I stopped and enjoyed a roadside breakfast of muesli and yogurt, while soaking in the sunrise, I’d made sure to give myself plenty of time so there was no real reason to rush. Those little roadside meals are some of my fondest memories of Iceland, although I’m sure you’ve gotten that point by now! There’s just something about sitting alone next to the road, enjoying a meal surrounded by nature. It’s a very freeing experience. Breakfast finished, I cleaned up my dishes and continued on to the lagoon.
Once again I was not disappointed; the waves were up, crashing against the black sand shore, pummeling the great chunks of impossibly clear blue ice from the glacier. I was, however, a bit intimidated by the several groups of photographers striding about with great purpose, tripods and expensive camera gear in hand. Whilst I, with my tripod that wouldn’t work, and my camera without any special “stuff” meandered about taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean and ice. I began to feel inadequate for the first time in days, wondering who I was kidding, who would really be interested in seeing my pictures? After all, you can do a web search of Iceland and pull up absolutely incredible shots from famous photographers who had been at this from years. Hell, I barely knew how to use all the settings on my camera!
Then I saw a freaking seal and suddenly I didn’t really care. This trip wasn’t for other people, I didn’t need to be perfect or capture some crazy shot that would sky rocket my awesomeness across the internet. No, this was a journey of self discovery, my pictures were telling my story, no one else’s. And so I happily wandered about until my fingers and face froze, taking pictures, playing with settings and enjoying myself thoroughly as had become my custom in the last days. Once I was completely frozen I took off to Svartifoss and the glacier hike.
I’m not really sure what the deal was with this day, maybe it was the gloom or maybe the chill in the air, but once again I found myself being all mehish and non-motivated. Once I got to the park where Svartifoss was found I just wanted to curl up in a ball with a book and go to sleep. Maybe eat a lot in the process, I wasn’t really sure, but I definitely didn’t want to go hiking up the hillside looking for a waterfall, that’s for damn sure. So what did I do? I pulled myself up and forced myself to get moving, who knows why I was mood swinging like a monkey on a trapeze, but I was bound and determined to not let it ruin my day.
So I got out and walked and as I walked my excitement and love of Iceland rekindled, I happily snapped pictures and tromped about completely alone, satisfied in my solitude. Along the way I passed Hundafoss and Magnusarfoss, but when Svartifoss peeked out through the woods I forgot my earlier gloom and lost myself in taking pictures. It was exactly what I had expected. It was no Godafoss or Dettifoss, but gorgeous all the same. Again, this is where I’ll let the (multiple) pictures tell the story.
Reluctantly I left the waterfall and headed back down the trail for my glacier walk, meeting a couple small groups along the way. Strangely as I headed down to the visitor center my earlier malaise began to overtake my mood once again. This mood probably explains why I felt so lonely during the glacier walk. As I’ve explained in the past, I’m a bit of a socially awkward individual; it generally takes me time and real conversation to get comfortable with people and the walk provided no exception. It was truly strange, after so many days of solitude and independence, to be thrown into a group of strangers within which they all had their little groups. Anyways, enough of that, even with my shyness and awkwardness, the walk was very interesting. Our guide was well informed, everyone was interested in what he had to say, and the atmosphere was light and happy despite the overhanging clouds. There was even a proposal! How cool was that?! The company I used was Icelandic Mountain guides and I would recommend them to anyone, like I said, the guide was very well informed and interesting. He not only knew about glaciers, but was able to tell us about the various movies that were shot on the one we toured, maybe you will recognize the scenery.
As the walk finished, I’m sad to say that once again I felt myself slipping into gloom, I was tired, still had a long drive to Vík, and I was lonely and even homesick for the first time. Something about seeing all of the friends and couples that were a part of glacier walk group got to me. I guess that’s not terribly surprising given the mood I’d been fighting all day… So the drive to Vík was filled with lots of thinking and even though I was astounded by the scenery, I just wasn’t in the mood to stop and take pictures. I wanted food and bed in the hopes that I would be able to wake up in a better mood. Once I got into town my mood continued when I could not, for the life of me, find the damn hostel in which I had booked a room. Finally I gave up and decided to get some food in hopes that my outlook would brighten. Once again the dinner was awesome, as usual. Unfortunately, as I’ve come to realize, I was terrible at writing down the names of the places that I ate at, so I’m not all that helpful in that respect. I apologize, but I cannot say that I really ate anywhere the food was terrible, so you shouldn’t have any problems should you visit the country.
My equilibrium somewhat restored, I finally gave up on the hostel and walked over to the hotel next door and got a room for the night. This ended up being one of the highlights to my day, the owner’s daughter was working the front desk and she had lived in New York City for awhile. We spent the next 45 minutes or so talking about the United States, Iceland, life, and places I needed to see the next day. At the end of our conversation I was left feeling much better about my day, although I still felt disappointment in my earlier unexplained gloom. After a struggle with the door to my room, I headed to bed, eager to see what the next day in this wondrous country would hold for me.
Once again, thank you for reading my story. If you wish to view the rest of the pictures taken that day, you can find them on Flickr in the Iceland Day 10 set.