Monday, 23 August 2010

Iceland - Day 4

Thursday 22nd July

I said in the last Iceland post, that we had a stunning view from the top floor of the hotel. The picture below was a panoramic taken on my camera phone -  unfortunately it doesn't do it justice really, but I hope it gives you some idea.

After breakfast, we headed off just east of the hotel to an area of hot mud springs and steam. As we drove up through the hills (a sort of mountain pass) I was totally taken by surprise as we came out of the other side. The landscape opened up again to reveal a very flat barren terrain, with individual hills dotted around the skyline. At the bottom of the hill, we turned on to a track which led us along to the mud 'springs'.

The temperature of this steam can reach between 80 and 100 degrees C and the smell was pretty ghastly too !

From here, we headed off to see a large waterfall called Dettifoss and the road to take us there was a gravel road which, I think, probably came under the 'C' category. Again the road and the landscape reminded me very much of Namibia. Driving along it felt like driving over a continuous piece of corrugated sheet metal or perhaps a cattle grid. If I remember correctly (please correct me if I'm wrong) the 'ripples' are caused by the action of the vehicles suspension - how it causes this I'm unable to describe but I can see the thoughts behind why it may be this.

The road seemed to go on forever and I was thinking how on earth could there be a large waterfall in such a flat landscape as the hills in the distance were a long way away. My biggest worry regarding our little hire car was when large 4X4s came the other way at what seemed like a very fast speed, was getting a stone through the window thrown up by the passing vehicle. Finally, after around 3/4 on an hour (or there abouts) on this road and going around a couple of small hills, we turned off and there it was. Smoking like a huge cauldron  was Dettifoss waterfall. It was now obvious why we didn't get a warning that we were approaching a large waterfall and that was because it was below the level of the surrounding landscape!

Being lazy and to save typing out the facts and figures for the waterfall, I've included this picture below -

.................. and the view downstream

It was quite a spectacle and real reminder of the power and force of nature. The journey back seemed quicker but maybe that was because we now knew how far it was etc. Returning back to the hotel, Sula and I took a walk for an hour around the shoreline just along from the hotel. Apart from the obvious numbers of ducks, another 'common' species was Slavonian Grebe. Around this part of the lake were numerous birds, many with young and were fairly approachable. The main problem was actually getting a clear view of the birds as there was quite a lot of vegetation along the shoreline.

Slavonian Grebe


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