This is a continuation of the 1st instalment of Punchdrunk Panda Travels: 6 Days in Iceland
Day 4: Black Beach of Vik and East Coast
Because we had prioritized glacier walker yesterday (who wouldn’t?), we left our journey to Black Beach of Vik today. To be honest, I had very low expectations of this so-called black beach.
I grew up in the Philippines and fine white sand beaches was something I was accustomed to as the standard of a great beach. But I found myself equally amazed by the Black Beach. It was quite the opposite of a white sand beach, really. It’s not really a place where you can sunbathe (hello, winds!) or even run (hello, pebbles) but the rock formations were just amazing. Geology Rocks (forgive the pun)!
This was my first time seeing basalt columns. Geek fact: basalt columns are formed during rapid cooling of lava flow following a volcanic eruption. Fractures form during the cooling, and an extensive fracture network may develop and result in the formation of columns, which are usually hexagonal.
After this first glimpse of basalt columns, we headed further East to Vatnajokull National Park to see Svartifoss. One will have to take a short hike to witness another geological wonder. A more common and memorable name for this waterfall is the Black Waterfall as dark lava columns surround it.
Last stop for the day and also, I was getting anxious because it’ll also be the last shared point with my friends. After this, they head further east and north, literally circling the country, while I drive back to the city. “No goodbyes, just see you later!”
Ah, the Jokulsarlon Lagoon… clearly, one of the best landscapes I’ve seen in my life so far. I can say that I’m fairly well travelled and it’s not my first time seeing glaciers. But this is just insanely beautiful!
Day 5: Reykavik (pronounced rey-ka-vik) and Northern Lights
Today, I got the chance to be a city girl again. Everything was a bit more familiar and accessible. Reykavik is a really small city in terms of points of interest. There’s really not a lot except for fancier restaurants, cool cafes, great coffee, and quirky shops. The photo below is a photo of The Laundromat Café. To be honest, food is average but the concept is cute. The idea to combine laundry and socializing in a nice, comfortable surroundings where you could eat, chills, and do your laundry, first opened in Copenhagen (1 of the 4 locations in the world). I really want to bring this idea either to Canada or Manila!
If you want something cultural, one can visit the Hallgrimskirkja church and take the elevator up to get a panorama of the city.
There are also more cultural things (i.e. Sun Voyager, Harpa, etc) that are just of little interest to me since I just have a preference for natural wonders than modern man-made ones.
It was raining the whole day so I was worried that the Northern Lights Tour that I booked will get cancelled. I’ve been geekishly checking the forecast for the Northern Lights and was really crossing my fingers that I’d see one tonight.
At 6pm, I haven’t received any call, which only means that the tour will push through! But before we head off for this Northern Lights chase in a Super Jeep (haha, yes, splurge moment), I had to have the Lobster Soup that everyone is just talking about.
Day 6: Horse Riding Tour and Departure
Last day and last hurrah in Iceland. I’m not a morning person (you can ask my boss about my tardiness at work everyday) but one thing that can get me up after getting home at 1AM the night before is horse back riding, not just a regular horse but an Icelandic horse.
Trivia: Icelandic horses are not vaccinated. When a horse leaves Iceland, it’s always a one-way ticket. Also, they actually discourage non-local seasoned riders to use their gear when they ride these horses to avoid spread of any disease.
So yeah, this is pretty much 6 days very well spent in Iceland. I can confidently say that Iceland has so much to offer, whether you decide to only stay in the city or venture out to an off the beaten path. I know I will eventually go back and I wouldn’t mind seeing the same things I’ve seen (and then some) the next time.