Almost there… If I get these done before the one year anniversary of our trip, that will be a success.
We woke up early to get packed and eat another superb breakfast before backtracking to make another attempt to see Fjadrargljufur, the canyon we had to bail on a few days before. After talking to the British couples who had made it there, it seemed like it really was worth persisting and adding a few more miles to one of our last long road trip days. From what we could tell, it also wasn’t supposed to be rainy at all that day, which was the final factor we needed to make our decision.
What we weren’t counting on at all was the wind. The crazy, insane, powerful wind that made me take flight briefly if I jumped while walking. But we had made it all the way there and risked getting our car stuck in the huge potholes on the way to the lower parking lot (we couldn’t even make it to the upper lot because the road was so bad) so we loaded poor Julian up in the carrier and I carted him up the last mile of the bumpy road. The wind combined with the heavy babe on my back made things really slow going, so by the time we got to the canyon we only had a few minutes of energy/baby happiness/time to walk around before heading back. It was kind of a disaster. Also, in most of the pictures we had seen, the canyon was covered in green, but it was all dusty and brown when we saw it. Still a really amazing sight-the canyon walls looked like they had been formed by a giant letting wet sand drip out of his hands, but just barely worth it.
It was striking driving back through the same lava fields we had passed through during a rainstorm two days earlier. All that spongy green moss now looked brittle and brown. After we had gone back past Vik, our first stop was a really roomy troll cave called Steinahellir that locals have used to hide out from storms different times throughout the past. Apparently one time a few farmers brought out all their sheep into the cave to wait out a flood.
On the road again, getting closer and closer to Reykjavik. It had already been such a full day, but in that same day we had some of the coolest things in Iceland on our agenda. Por ejemplo, Seljalandsfoss where you can walk a loop trail leading behind the waterfall and get an amazing view of the world through a waterfall lens. You can also get completely drenched whenever the wind changes. From there, there’s a path that leads to Gljufraboi-another less famous but equally cool waterfall located deep inside a canyon. It’s sort of dark when you get in there, but closer to the falls, you can look up and see the blue sky. It’s hard to describe, but these two waterfalls really made me feel like the world is so incredible and we were so lucky to be witnessing it all.
I didn’t realize it until after we had left, but time was getting pretty tight for us to make it to our reservation at the Blue Lagoon, and we had to drive about two more hours to get there. The Blue Lagoon is out by the airport in Keflavik, and we drove for about an hour through the same kind of eerie moon-like terrain as we had the first day we arrived in Iceland. We got pretty close, and saw these weird metal futuristic power plant things-then realized we had gone the wrong way, so were about an hour late by the time we arrived…which is exactly the amount of time they give you before…revoking our reservations? Charging a late fee? I’m actually not sure. But they were very adamant about not being late.
It felt really crowded there at first, after a week of hardly seeing other tourists out and about. But the pool is really big, with three or four different areas, and wasn’t actually all that full of people at all. We took our time exploring and traded off with Julian so we could check out the sauna and steam rooms. When we first arrived, they told us that kids under two weren’t allowed which made me nervous, but he had done so well at the other hot springs we snuck him in. A worker saw him and gave us some arm floaties for him, but otherwise, nobody said anything, and it turned out to be by far his favorite geothermal experience. The water was the perfect temperature, the wind was calm, and he was so smiley. He even loved the silica mud we put on our faces and was definitely a fan of the fruity drink we ordered from the swim up bar.
We got Quiznos sandwiches from a gas station on our way back to Selfoss where we were staying for the night, but decided to wait until we arrived to eat them, so the sandwiches were all cold and soggy by the time we tried to eat them. I could barely choke down half of mine. Not to mention, we felt like we could fall asleep standing up after that long day and that warm relaxing soak. We were back to staying in Airbnbs, and this one was really interesting. The owners had remodeled the garage into this sauna hangout area with flashing colorful lights, and pop music blasting. We explored a little after putting Julian to bed, staying out of the room so he could fall asleep, but unfortunately were all sauna-ed out, so the groovy garage and the hot tub outside went to waste. We crashed hard in our twin beds, exhausted, happy, but melancholy realizing it had been our last full day in Iceland.