Driving from South Coast to Borgarnes

Driving from South Coast to Borgarnes

When we drove to Eldhraun house it was already dark so we didn’t see the view on our right and left. It was only when checked out and drove to Kirkjubaejarklaustur that we saw that mossy lava field along the road which belong to Eldhraun Lava Field.

Eldhraun Lava Field

The Eldhraun Lava field was created in one of the most devastating eruptions in recorded history. Over a course of eight months, between 1783 and 1774, the Laki fissure and the adjoining Grimsvotn volcano poured out an estimated 14 cubic kilometers of basalt lava and clouds of poisonous gases that contaminated the soil, killing half of Iceland’s cattle and horses, and more than three-quarter of sheep. That year, nothing grew on the fields and no more fish could be found in the sea. The resulting famine killed approx. a quarter of the island’s human population. As a result the surrounding area is covered by one of the most spectacular moss blanket. Moss is a common plant in Iceland which grows abundantly in the mountainous region and is a special characteristic of Iceland’s lava fields. Eldhraun House where we stayed is located in the center of the Lava field, close to the beach, 25km from Town of Kirkjublaeklaustur.

Today plan was to drive up past Borgarnes and stay the night in the area close to Arnastappi so we could see Kirkjuffel the next day. But before that we’re going to make a stop to see Skaftareldahraun and Fjadrargljufur (I hope I spell it right).

Skaftareldahraun

The Skaftá-Fires are one of two of the largest lava flows that have occurred on Earth in reocrded history.   The lava flow, which flowed from the Laki vent, fell into two main streams to inhabited areas, on each side of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. For the eight months during the eruption, 12 km3 of basalt lava flowed onto the surface and covered about 565 km2 of land or about a half percent of Iceland’s area. Skaftá-Fires lava field is classified as smooth or pāhoehoe lava. There are a number of lava caves in the field. All around thick woolly fringe moss forms a continuous layer which gives off a grey colour when dry, but a beautiful green after rain.

Fjadrargljufur

Fjadrargljufur (or Fjadra Canyon) is a 100 m deep and about 2 km long serpentine canyon with the Fjadra river flowing through it. The bedrock is mostly patagonite from cold periods of the Ice Age and it thought to be 2 million years old. It is believed the canyon formed at the end of the last Ice Age, about nine thousand years ago. When the glacier retreated a lake formed in the valley behind a hard resitant rock. The runoff from the lake flowed to where Fjadragljufur is today and erosion did the work.

It is a favourite for most tourist in Iceland and partly tourism has also increased to the canyon because it was featured in one of the Justin Bieber videos. It is a very beautiful sight in Summer and favorite photography spot due to the strange shapes and arches of the canyon. Last year spring, the trail has been closed to preserve the vegetation and we don’t know if it will continue.

In winter Fjadrargljufur is rarely accessible because the road is usually blocked by snow. However when we went there, we saw the road was open.

My pictures in winter doesn’t do justice to the canyon as you can’t see the stream falling and the shape of the canyon clearly. There is a clear path which takes you along the edge of the canyon and lead you to a waterfall. I read somewhere it takes about 1 hour.

Vik I Myrdal

Vik, is the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, located 186 km from the capital Reykjavík. Vik is one of the stop for the popular sightseeing route along the South Coast. It is a wonderful place to stop, recharge, and if you are taking your time, rest for the night. Though it only has around 300 residents, the village is very popular amongst tourists for its convenience and beautiful surrounding landscapes. We didn’t get to stop on our way to Jokulsarlon because the weather was bad. So we stopped over in Vik on our way back to see the iconic church and had lunch.

The iconic Vik church
The three sister rock in Reynijsfara beach taken from behind Vik church

We had lunch at The Soup Company. I have become fond of Icelandic soup ever since I had the lobster soup in Jokulsarlon. The soup here was also delicious. I had the Icelandic lamb soup while Hubby and Fabio tried the lava soup on a bread. Both soup are deliciously tasty. And we were so happy when we were told that we could get second serving for free for every bowl of soup. Yay!!

Borgarnes

From Vik we continued driving to Borgarnes, passing Reykjavik. Borgarnes is located to the north of Reykjavík, reached by traveling the Ring Road which encircles the country. Driving to Borgarnes takes you through a 6km tunnel beneath the fjord of Hvalfjordur, and over the second longest bridge in Iceland. Borgarnes serves as a great place to stop for fuel, food, drinks and a place to explore on the way to Snaeffelsness Peninsula and Westfjords.

The weather was fine and it was an enjoyable drive until we passed thru the tunnel and reached Borgarnes. From there on the wind got stronger and it started snowing.

We were staying in Snorrastadir Farm House, closer to Arnastappi. It has a similar set up like Eldhraun home. When we finally reached there, the wind have turned super crazy and I had to brave the wind to walk to the Reception to fetch the house key. The owner has turned on the lights and put the heater on, so it was warm and cozy inside the house. Snorrastadir Farm House has a nice walking trail and is supposedly a good place to observe northern light. But with the current weather we were definitely out of luck with seeing northern light.

There is weather warning for the Peninsula area from Safetravel.is and Road.is and the advise is to adjust travel plan. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy the scenery and along the peninsula anyway with the snow blizzard and the chance to see Northern Light in the area is zero. However the northern light forecast in the En.Vedur.is for Reykjanes looks good. We had few days left in Iceland and we had not seen aurora yet. So we decided collectively to drive back to Reykjavik, stay there and hunt for Northern Light.

It was still snowing heavily in the morning and it didn’t look like it was going to stop so we checked out around 11am and drove to Reykjavik.

Here’s video recap of our day

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