Dramatic nature, rocky beaches and flatbaka – that’s Iceland.
I sit down, dig my hand into the gravel and study what I’m left with. A handful of coal-black rocks, smoothed by the sea that charges inland. I look out into the bay. It is the swans here that made us stop. Pure white swans against the dark background, with a hint of green in the mountains behind. Contrasts are everywhere on this saga island. Hard and soft, black and white, hot and cold.
I can’t let go of the rocks. I get to my feet and follow Joe out towards the ocean. ‘Hvalnes Nature Reserve Beach’ (if you search on Google Maps) is a long bowl around the bay, covered by this black stone.
It’s that sort of rough day, when you just want to stay indoors with a hot bowl of soup. How perfect then that Höfn is our next stop. The small town is famous for lobster fishing and every year they hold a lobster festival here.
We had a recommendation to eat lobster soup in Höfn. Even though we pass a couple of places that can offer a lobster sandwich (which sounds good too), we finally end up at the restaurant Humarhöfnin, where I order soup. I can still feel that rough weather in my bones. Joe is studying the menu while thinking out loud. He doesn’t feel like eating soup, so he chooses a lobster pizza and with that we bring a new word home, ‘flatbaka’ (pizza). That’s worth a toast.
A little west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur is a two kilometres long and 100 metres deep gorge. More contrasts, where the green landscape disappears into a fissure in the earth and the river Fjaðrá finds its way out to the sea. Fjaðrárgljúfur is picturesque and beautiful, but also proof of Iceland’s fragile nature. Several areas of the gorge edge, where it’s been popular to stand and take photographs, are now closed off. The ground is muddy and well trodden and needs time to repair itself.
Here you follow the trail, from the parking lot, up to the waterfall. You can also walk down into the gorge to the river bank. If the water level is low, you can wade in here. The ice cold water does not tempt us though.
Fjaðrárgljúfur is picturesque and beautiful, but also proof of Iceland’s fragile nature
The river carves out a path towards the sea, where the waves push it back with huge force. Where lava rocks are smoothly polished and the wind blows mercilessly over the landscape. So beautiful. So wild. So rugged. That’s Iceland.