Monday, December 22, 2014

South Coast Adventure

21 Dec Sun Clear and cold

Despite my failed affair with Reykjavik Excursions ,though it was not really their fault, we gave them another chance. The day’s weather was predicted mild and clear. 21 Dec was a special day because it was the Winter Solstice. It meant daylight was the shortest in the year and very minute in the light counts.

We were picked up on time at Fron and transferred to bigger buses at BSI terminal. It would be a day out with mostly Chinese and Hongkongers and a handful of people of other nationalities. Luckily, fellow members were civil and most were very cooperative.

Our guide Hershey was a very funny man with long winded saga tales that bore no consequences. It was a waste the comic accounts were wasted on the bunch of us who were not responsive.

It may have been 9am, but we drove in the dark for about 2 hours until we came to our first stop. The ride was uneventful, thankfully, but it was a tough drive in the dark with hail showers when we moved thought higher elevation.

We stopped by Skogalfoss, a immense waterfall that was visited by busloads of tourists. We did our tourist thing – taking photos around and about the falls. The ground were quite slushy and H had a hard time coping with the ground condition, because her boots were not very waterproof.

We moved on to check out a glacier some distance away. Most of the young travelers had no problem walking on the icy path but without crampons, H and I fell and made slow progress. We did not enjoy that part the most despite the beauty of the place.  Despite our best efforts, we reached the bus last and were sheepish having to make everyone wait.

Our next stop was a lunch stop for lunch in a very crowded eating house. We decided to cut the queue and ate packed lunch so that we could enjoy the scenery. The scenery was awesome, and in the high winds, the beach looked intimidating and uninviting. Our guide had nice memories of the place at Vik because he grew up there.

We drove to  the other side of the mountain where we saw the famous basalt columns. Terrifying  waves crashed on the black sands and pebbles threatening to swallow us up. It almost did as a family of 4 was swiped down by the waves sideways. They barely had enough time to run away from the next wave, totally soaked in the frigid weather and strong winds. A near tragedy almost happened and scared the daylights out of me.

Now almost sundown and delayed by the soaked through foursome, we did a very short stop at the last waterfall. Lit by 2 spotlights on both sides, it was rather awesome and eye fetching. My most unfavorite part was walking in the snow in the dark. Every step was a potential for  a fall.

For 18900 isk for a 10 hour tour, it was one of the most hectic and hurried trip. We loved the scenery but hated the rush. Never again am I going to join a guided tour.

We reached Reykjavik at 8pm. Dinner was a noisy affair off the plaza at Hressingarskalinn. We had veggie and pork burgers ( both good ) and smoked lamb which Pat gave the thumbs up. With a beer and juice, it came up to around 8000 isk, pricey in my opinion. The food is expected of a café but the snail pace service , noisy dinning hall and dark minimalist toilet is one of the worst that I have ever been to in Iceland.

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