South coast of Iceland, part 2

We continued from Dyrhólaey onto the town of Vík and the famed black sand beach. It was actually more like small, round stones. Zillions of stones rubbed smooth.

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I'd researched the trip into a frenzy, so often wasn't surprised with our destinations, but I wasn't expecting the columns and caves on this beach, or the fans of volcanic stone with seabirds swarmed above.

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The waves hit the shore loudly, the tide advanced rapidly, and walking on the stones that made up the beach was a trudge, so I was anxious to turn around once we reached the sea stacks at the far end of the beach.

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You might recognize the arches from Dyrhólaey, which we could still see in the distance; it actually took about 40 minutes to drive all the way into Vík and back around the get down to the Vík beach.

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As we drove back to Hvolsvöllur, where we were staying, we made a couple more stops. The first was to a hidden, geothermal pool, Seljavallalaug. I'd read about it on a blog and we discovered it was on most maps. The drive into the mountains was a bit bumpy (and I was a little jittery the tires would be punctured), but the hike in was moderate and flat. We met a few other hikers, but mostly had the valley to ourselves as we hiked in.

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I'd read you had to cross a few rivers, but thankfully it was just this stream--quite a relief.

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Around a few mountainsides, and there it was. A free, warm pool. It was a bit swampy looking, so I dipped my hand in and we left it at that.

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Walk was happy with the cheery stream,

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and the sunset falling onto the hills bright, then dark.

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Such a stunning hike, and so happily devoid of noise.

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The sun set late, so we had time to catch one last sight, the very popular Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The draw of these falls is that you can actually follow a path behind the waterfall. It was steeper, slipperier and wetter than I'd imagined. At points, the wind blew the falls toward us as thick as rain; you can see how large the falls were if you can spot the tiny people on the path.

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The last stop of the day was the Gljúfrabúi waterfall, about a half mile walk from Seljalandsfoss, and hidden behind large stones. No one else seemed to have seen it! I ducked my head into the grotto-like cave, but it was so wet, we had to keep the camera at a safe distance and can only show you this view.

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I can't believe the photos up here are only the first 3 days of the trip; much more to come!

Also, I used an awesome app to plan this trip called Tripcipe, and loved it so much that when Tripcipe asked me to guest blog, I was excited to share. Click on over there to see a summary of our whole trip with some photos not posted here yet, and try out Tripcipe on your next trip!