Lost in Iceland Travelogue – (Part 4): Svinafellsjokull, Icelandic Horses and Strokkur Geysir

Iceland had always been one of our dream vacations. Exploring Iceland’s untouched and beautiful landscape has become an educational journey for us. The country is popularly visited during summer due to the mid-night sun effect where it never gets fully dark between mid-May and early August. Come winter, a muted light shines over the island for a few short hours each day. There are lesser visitors and the entire experience was just us and nature.

Svínafellsjökull

On our way to Golden Circle, we passed by beautiful Svínafellsjökull which is a breathtaking outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull glacier and the scenery and views are simply stunning. There are glacier tours available where you get to walk through a wonderland of glacial ice sculptures, meandering through ice ridges and the deep crevasses of the glacier.

There aren’t a lot of trees in Iceland (we only realized after our trip!). Iceland is a volcanic land and it is filled with many glaciers and countless other natural wonders.

The Icelandic Horse

One of the purest breed on earth, the Icelandic horse is a unique breed of smallish horses that came to Iceland with the first settlers from Norway 1100 years ago. Archeological digs in Europe have revealed that it is descendent from an ancient breed of horses that is now extinct outside of Iceland, where it has been preserved in isolation.

Do you know that once an Icelandic horse leaves Iceland it is not allowed to enter back into the country? All around the country, nearly every field seems to be filled with them, slowing grazing or play-fighting with each other. They are cute in their little own ways.

Icelandic horses have heavy double layer coats to help protect them from the harsh Icelandic climate. They come in many colors and can even appear in up to 42 different color combinations! Some types of Icelandic horses coats even change color by seasons. Best of all, Icelandic horses are super friendly. They will walk towards you readily and allow you to cuddle them. A road trip in Iceland is never completed without experiencing the therapeutic effect of Icelandic horses.

Strokkur Geysir

Strokkur (the churn) is currently the most energetic spouting spring in Iceland. It is a much-visited geothermal geyser that erupts every 8–10 minutes and reaches heights of 20 meters. According to history, it was set off during an earthquake in 1789, having then been quiescent for some time.

Big M was too comfortable resting in the campervan while we were on long road trip. The first thing she did when alighting from the campervan was to take a deep breath and inhale the wonderful and pure Icelandic air.

The Geysir is a popular tourist spot and one of the main attractions in Golden Circle. It was no surprise to see many visitors here.

Take a walk around the area and the smell of sulphur permeates the air. We remembered the time we were in Taiwan at 小油坑 Xiao You Keng experiencing sight of bubbling water and smouldering fumaroles on Yangmingshan which you can read in our blog here.

A bit of geography lesson.

The Strokkur Geysir erupts every few minutes so this is going to be a rewarding trip as we can get to see it erupting many times.

Waiting and waiting…

Picture time while waiting 🙂

Up and away to the heavens!

We waited and we filmed the action 🙂

It is worthwhile to note that most visitors focus on witnessing Strokkur erupting but may have missed out on other geothermal features such as mud pools, fumaroles and other geysers which are located around it. As the sun sets on the horizon, it created a dreamy effect on the landscape.

Geysir Center

Just across Strokkur Geysir is the Geysir Center. It was getting dark and this was probably the only place for us to explore.

A place to shop for souvenirs and clothings.

While we have our brands of winter clothing back in Singapore, we thought Iceland has its own high quality winter wear by 66°NORTH.

Fresh Icelandic Mountain Air on sale!

We had our dinner at the food court in Geysir Center. It looks pretty similar to Ikea’s dining concept.

The menu is special to us as it is uniquely Icelandic.

Traditional Icelandic lambmeat soup.

An idea of what we ordered. So many Icelandic dishes to try but our stomach are limited.

Fish of the Day

Chicken Nuggets.

Delicious chicken wings.

We just love traditional Icelandic lambmeat soup.

Dessert time! How about trying some Icelandic ice cream?

We felt Icelandic dishes are really delicious and what a perfect way to pamper our tastebuds on this road trip. It’s no secret that visiting Iceland could be pricey so be prepared to spend for a trip here. For example, the Fish of the Day cost about SGD $23, chicken wings/nuggets SGD $16 and Icelandic lambmeat soup about SGD $32 (assuming SGD $1 = ISK $56 from the rate at the airport).

There are many reasons to love this small Nordic country and discover why you should visit Iceland once in your lifetime. We found our reason and probably hope that we can be here again.

Click here to read blog post on Lost in Iceland Travelogue – (Part 3): Svartifoss, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls

Click here to read blog post on Lost in Iceland Travelogue – (Part 2): Hvannadalshnukur, Skeioararsandur Bridge Monument and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Click here to read blog post on Lost in Iceland Travelogue – (Part 1): Renting a Campervan and 8 Tips on Self Driving in Iceland

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Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

 

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Lost in Iceland Travelogue – (Part 3): Svartifoss, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls

A visit to Iceland is not completed without appreciating its water elements. Iceland is full of beautiful waterfalls and they can be found everywhere. Each waterfall is different in its own way and has its own story to tell.

Svartifoss (Black Falls)

As we departed from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, we made our way to visit Svartifoss waterfall. Svartifoss is a waterfall in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, and is one of the most popular sights in the park. It is surrounded by dark lava columns, which gave rise to its name.

There are plenty of parking lots when you reached the Vatnajokulspjodgardur national park visitor centre.

You can book glacier walks here.

The visitor centre is open all year round. Over here, you can also buy souvenirs, hot beverages and use its toilet facilities. There are also some interesting exhibits of rock over here.

To reach Svartifoss waterfall, you need to take a walk along the trail. The distance is 1.8km long with slight gradual elevation which will take about 40 min to reach.

The hiking trail to Svartifoss waterfall.

Look at Big and Small M’s flying hair 🙂

It was extremely windy and chilly! Remember to bring along waterproof clothing on your way up to Svartifoss waterfall.

The name of the falls translated into something like “Black Falls” which might be attributable to the darkness of the underlying basalt columns.  The 12m waterfall is breathtaking, with black columnar basalt formations which beautifully frame the waterfall and attribute to its name, Black fall.

Lovely Svartifoss waterfall.

The way back to the visitor centre is a descending path. A lot of walking is required. If you are traveling as adults, it should be fine. However, with kids around remember to ensure they are dressed properly and watch out for loose rocks on your trek up the slopes.

During the road trip, waterfalls are commonly found in tourist attractions and villages. As we delve further, we saw Icelandic people building their houses beside waterfalls. Can you imagine how beautiful it is to wake up every morning with the sight and sound of waterfall in their backyard? So natural, relaxing and enchanting. A perfect retirement place?

Skogafoss Waterfall

The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. Legend has it that a Viking named Thrasi hid his hoarded gold under the falls.

On the right side of the picture shows the 370 steps that you can climb to the top of Skogafoss waterfall to get a panoramic view of the water flow and out over southern Iceland’s coastline. It would be challenging for Big and Small M to walk up the steps so it was a no-go for us.

The beautiful scenery of Skogafoss makes a perfect ground for Icelandic people to reside nearby.

Black gravels are a common sight in Iceland.

Waterproof clothing is essential when you take a walk towards Skogafoss waterfall. The water mist promises to drench you in matter of few minutes when you dwell there.

Bringing a good camera during a trip to Iceland is important. Capturing precious moments of the kids against the backdrop of the awe-inspiring Skogafoss…

Aside from the millions of gallons of glacial melt-water cascading over this huge cliff, Skogafoss offers camping and hiking for the adventurous visitor.  The unique thing about Skogafoss is that the waterfall comes directly from two glaciers.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

20km from Skogafoss is the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. This “do not miss” waterfall is one of the most attractive waterfalls in Iceland. Visitors travel to explore this waterfall all year round.

During the night, lightings are put up around the waterfall. We parked our campervan at Seljalandsfoss waterfall and this is the view from the inside of our “abode”. It was freezing cold and dark at night. The likelihood of slippery ground is important for one to bring a bright touchlight when walking towards the waterfall.

Morning beckons and Seljalandsfoss comes alive. Beside the car park, there are gift shop and cafe for visitors to dine and appreciate the nature. Toilet facilities are available as well.

The waterfall drops 60 m (197 ft) and is part of the Seljalands River that has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull. One of the interesting things about this waterfall is that visitors can walk behind it into a small cave.

Falling 65m over an old sea cliff, Seljalandsfoss is waterfall that you can walk behind. As you circle the falls, you can see it from all angles. Rainbows appear when the sun shines, giving it a magical appearance while the thundering sound of the waterfall plays in the background. On the right of the picture is the trek that leads to the small cave. The splashing of Seljalandsfoss waterfall makes it so wet that it is akin to taking a spa bath!

Seljalandsfoss depicts a picture of a romantic story. Relax at Seljalandsfoss waterfall by reading a book, sipping over a cup of hot coffee in the freezing weather or even more romantic, proposing to your partner 🙂

Interested to visit Iceland? Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page to stay tune on the next travel post.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.