Monday, November 16, 2015

Iceland - Day 9

The wind returned with a vengeance today.  After having such a nice mild calm day yesterday, it was kind of a surprise to wake up to winds today that blew so hard they literally pushed you around and threatened to knock you off your feet if you weren't careful.  They might have been the strongest winds I've ever been in,  but it wasn't going to stop a fun day of exploring more of this section of Iceland.

The first stop of the day was a very cool waterfall called Hjalparfoss.  It is basically two rivers coming together as waterfalls, where they both dump into a punch bowl before the flowing out together as one river.   The area was surrounded by Basalt canyon walls and ground that seemed to be made out an old lava flow that was very giving when you walked across it.

The road to get here felt like you were in the middle of no where, but it kind of made for a cool photo.  As you're looking at this photo, the river that becomes the left hand side of the waterfall, is just to the right of this road.  This is just to kind of give you an idea of what much of this section of the country looks like.

Next there was a small medevil settlement called Stong which consisted of a small house and Viking long-house both with sod covered roofs.  The photos I'd seen made it look very cool so I really wanted to see it myself.  It was disappointing to learn that the building were only open from June 1 to August 31, but it was still possible to walk around them and kind of imagine how life might have been back in those days.  Here is a photo of the small home which had a semi-frozen waterfall on the cliff behind it.

The next stop of the day was another waterfall called Faxi Falls.  Did I happen to mention that Iceland has more waterfalls than people.  I was kind of kidding when I wrote that but the more I see of this country, the more I'm thinking that statement might be truer than I first thought.  This one was bigger than many of them, but not even close to being the biggest.  It was very cool none the less though.  Certainly was worth making a quick stop here for some photos and trying to keep from being blown off the edge and into the river below.

After leaving Faxi Falls, we headed over to Geyser which was something I had been looking forward to seeing.  From things I'd read online and photos I'd see, I had pictured it as Iceland's version of Yellowstone National Park.  It sounded like it was a huge geyser ridden area with lots of mud pots, boiling springs and a bigger and better version of Old Faithful.  Well, after seeing it with my own eyes, I have to say I was very disappointed as it didn't live up to any of those claims and in no way will it ever compete with the likes of Yellowstone.  I was actually very surprised ...  It was the first disappointment I'd had this entire trip so I really can't complain too much.  I just thought I'd mention this part to any of you thinking of visiting here.... just to let you know that you can totally skip this stop and you won't be missing a thing really.

The last big waterfall I had my eyes on visiting on this trip was Gullfoss.  It has been compared to Niagara falls and is one of the biggest attractions in Iceland.  I've seen pictures of the falls before but really couldn't appreciate just how big they were until I got to see them for myself.  They are big for sure, but bigger than Niagara Falls can probably be debated unless someone can show me photos of both falls under a really long measuring tape.

Anyway.... the falls were really cool to watch, well, with the small about of time you could actually look at them that is.  The powerful winds that had been blowing non-stop today really put on a show while at the falls.  The mist that was coming off the water was whipped into your face so hard it felt like you were being hit by hundreds of small needles or maybe stung by a really angry swarm of bees.  It was hard not to laugh and try to fight the urge to run away.   The only thing that might have kept us from running was the fact the wind was already doing it's best to knock us to the ground.  I was blown backward from the camera a few times where I really had to fight to take a few steps back to the tripod.  It was kind of insane, but I think I still managed to get a couple of decent shots of the falls somehow.

As we drove away from the falls, one thought that came to mind that left of laughing by the image the rest of the day.   That thought was that if we could figure out how to bolt a few really good sails to the ground here, we could have sailed Iceland to much warmer waters.  The winds would have easily moved the entire island today.  Heck, as I'm sitting here in bed typing this up, I can still hear them howling away outside.  It's crazy to think that's a semi-normal thing here.

We made one more quick stop before heading to dinner and that was at a very cool caldera that reminded me a lot of Crater Lake in Oregon.  This one wasn't quite as big, but you could easily walk all the way around it, right on the rim of the crater which was a very cool experience, even in the dark with all the ice and snow that was on the ground.  I was still able to capture a few good photos of the lake below even though there was very little light left in the day.

Last stop was dinner at a cool restaurant and ice cream parlor that Rene had read about on a blog before the trip.  We figured since that person claimed this place had the best ice cream in Iceland we just had to test it out ourselves, for scientific purposes of course.  Dinner there was actually really good as was the ice cream.  As for it being the best in Iceland?  I don't know.... we might have to hit another couple of ice cream places on the last two days to do our own comparisons.  I mean, we do have to be sure right? :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Iceland - Day 8

Woke up this morning wondering what the roads were going to be like today, especially after a pretty heavy snowfall last night.  I think there was close to 1/2 inch of snow on the ground in a matter of 30  minutes last night, but the good news was that it was already melting when we loaded up the car to head on to the next town.  In fact, the main road had been plowed sometime in the middle of the night and was in great shape.

Icebergs Inside the Lagoon
 With worries of bad roads out of the way, it was time to finally hit the Glacier Lagoon in good light and try to get some shots of those huge chunks of ice floating away from the main Glacier and out to sea, and then of the ice that washed back up on shore on the black sand beach across the street from there.  This was one of the areas that was tops on my lists of places I wanted to shoot photos while I was here, and it took three trips to the lagoon to finally catch it in some good light, and luckily, to catch it at a time where the water in the lagoon was very calm and still.

Smaller Chunks of Ice Washed Up On The Black Sand Beach
The night before, the water was rushing out of there and the icebergs were slamming together and filling the air with what sounded like huge bowling balls being slammed against each other....   only heavier sounding.  It's kind of hard to even describe.   It was kind of amazing today, to try to pick up what looked like smaller chunks of ice on the beach and feel how incredibly heavy they were....  and then to look over at icebergs 100 times their size and watch them being tossed around like they were nothing by the waves.  I could have spent the entire day just hanging out there watching all of that and waiting for new chunks of ice to come floating by.  But I had at least one more stop I wanted to make on the way to Selfoss, which was going to be home for the next two nights.

As has happened this entire trip though, I was easily distracted and sidetracked by one great sight after another and once again made a number of unscheduled stops to shoot photos.  Here is another of the seemingly endless array of waterfalls that dot the Icelandic Landscape.  This one appeared to come shooting out of a cave high up on the mountain side, and was just scenic enough to make me have to stop and take a quick photo.

Another stop along the way was at the base of another arm of the Vatnajökull Glacier.  We've been trying to find a route to actually get all the way to one of the Glaciers so we could at least climb up onto it or something but as close as they all seem, it's nearly impossible to actually find a road that will get you all the way up next to them.  Today was the closest we got so far, and the view from the hillside next to the Glacier was amazing.  It's hard to really tell the size of these things from this photos, but these chunks of ice floating out there where huge, most were bigger around than the footprint of a huge home, and with the height of them above and below the water line, I'd bet the smallest were about the size of 3 story buildings.  They were just massive.  Evey now and then the chunk of ice closest to the bottom of the photo would give off a loud cracking noise and I kept hoping to see it split in half or something, but I guess it would take more than a few huge cracks in that thing to break it up.

Daylight was ending fast and I still hadn't made it to what was going to be my second stop of the day.  I was determined to get there before it was fully dark out,  so it was a non-stop drive the rest of the way back to the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall where I didn't get the shot I wanted on the first stop there.  The sky didn't cooperate again tonight and there was no pretty sunset, but I went ahead and shot photos again, this time having to walk over some very frozen areas.  The spray coming off here was freezing on everything it touched and in some places the ice looked to be 2 inches thick.  The scariest part was that most of that ice was so clear you didn't even realize it was there until you went skating over some rocks and grabbing on to the ropes around here to keep your feet under you.  It was kind of an adventure all around. LOL

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Iceland - Day 7

Today started with a change of plans.  I'd heard that the ice caves were a little too unstable due to the weather still being  a little too warm to make the caves safe, and that people were only being able to go about 3 feet into the caves.   The tour was a little too expensive to not actually be able to go all the way in to a cave, so we decided to bag the Ice Cave tour for the day and just set out to explore as far east as we could go before starting the trip back west tomorrow.

It was a lot warmer today than it has been the last two days and after the huge winds of yesterday, it was nice to not have to deal with any wind at all today.  In fact, it was almost too warm for jackets today.  My hoody and a light pair of gloves really seemed to do the trick for most of the afternoon.  It was fun to continue driving east and to see that we still hadn't made it past the huge Vatnajökull Glacier even after a couple of hours of driving.  We really wanted to try to find a way over to the glacier and found back road that we thought might get us there, but it stopped short....  so we bailed out of the car and thought we might try to hike the rest of the way to the glacier.  That hike include crossing a number of streams though... and wandering up and down the streams looking for decent places to cross was fun for a while....  until we were about two streams away from the far bank and we saw just how wide and deep those last two "streams" were.  That water was a little too cold to want to wade across so we decided to end that adventure and hiked back to the car to see if we could find another route.  We never did though.

Instead we hiked up a small hill that overlooked the valley and gave some amazing views of the mountains, the glacier and the ocean behind us.....   then with a little more exploring we came across a small Viking Village that was nestled in a valley.  It was surrounded by huge mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.  After wandering through the Village though, Rene discovered that the huge rock the jail was located under, was actually paper mache.  We started noticing other things were weird about the place and started to wonder if it was just a re-creation of an old Viking Village.  Turns out, it was really a movie set for a movie that was never made back 2010.  That explained a lot, but it was still a very fun place to wander around and seemed real enough to make me think that's probably how real Viking Villages were laid out back in the day.

After leaving the village, we ran into the closest town to look around, and hit the grocery store to buy a few things for lunch.  It is always fun to see what kind of foods other countries stock in their stores and sometimes can be kind of surprising. After that, I wanted to make a run to the Glacier Lagoon and shoot some photos before it got too dark.  It was a race against the quickly fading light, and unfortunately the darkness won.  I still shot a few photos but decided we'd just come back in the morning just before sunrise for much better shooting conditions.

Now I'm wondering how that might work out though because after dinner we walked out so huge snowflakes and snow already accumulating on the ground.  It's still snowing outside right now, 2 hours later... so tomorrow may be a lot of fun in the snow. :)

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is just how dark dark can be in a country that has very few towns, and no street lights.  It's crazy to be out there in the dark and not being able to see anything at all ... even with the high beams on in the car, you can barely see a few feet off to the side of the road.  It's also quieter here than anywhere I have ever been.  If you ever feel like you want to get away from it all....  this is certainly a place that can help you do that.

Iceland - Day 6

Today we came to the realization that there are more waterfalls in Iceland than people.  Every turn in the road seemed to bring an endless array of waterfalls, so many that I totally lost count of just how many we'd seen in the last two days.  I realized there was going to be no way to ever stop and take photos of every waterfalls you see while you're here.  in fact, you quickly become a waterfalls snob, almost ignoring some because they just aren't quite spectacular enough, most of which would put any waterfall to shame in the Pacific Northwest.  It's almost unreal.

Today was also the first day I got to experience the huge wind gusts I'd heard about as being a big part of the weather here.  They weren't really "gusts" as much as they were gail force winds that threatened to rip the car door off its hings if you made the mistake of trying to open the door and not hold on with all your might.  I can't tell you the number of times I had to fight just to open the door and get back into the car before I turned into a Popsicle.  lol

So needless to say, today was an adventure in trying to stay on your feet and take photos where your camera wasn't rocking so bad the photos were all blurry.  It was also a day of learning about the exciting world of driving in Iceland... where you can drive 16 miles down a really rough road, only to get to the place you to turn and find the road has been closed because it's "impassible".  ugh.... really?  You couldn't have put up a sign 30 miles back warning of road closures ahead?  It was actually still fun thought because I saw some sights that most probably don't see.  It was certainly roads rarely traveled.

Another fun lesson today was that not all Icelandic Horses enjoy dried apples.  We stopped to pet 4 horses that were standing near the road, and as much as they seemed to enjoy the attention, they also seemed to be sniffing our pockets and my camera trying to figure out if there was some kind of food hidden away on my body.  Rene had some dried apples with her so we thought we'd feed  a few to the horses and it was kind of comical  to watch their reactions.  The horse that seemed the most forward of the 4 quickly took one of the apple slices, but after he chewed on it for a second, decided he wasn't interested at all, neither were two of the others, but one horse did step forward and decided he wanted to give it a try, and he loved them.  He kept pushing forward for more.  At one point though, I think one got stuck to the roof of his mouth as he was licking at it pretty funny for a minute.  We decided we should get going again and had to say goodbye.  I think only one of them was truly sad to see us go.  lol

With the huge winds and super cold temps, today was mostly spent inside the car enjoying some amazing scenery as we worked our way east, along the south coast.  There is a huge glacier here that we started to drive past on our way to the next hotel, and about an hour after we first got up next to it, I realized we were still driving along side of it, and we were no where near the middle of the Glacier.  It looks big on a map, but seeing it up close like this and realizing just how big it really is, was just amazing.

I actually did get out of the car a lot today and took photos, but will have to wait to look through them and post any that might be good it's getting really late..... and  I'm planning on getting up early tomorrow and going to the glacier lagoon and capturing some photos at sunrise so this is going to be short and sweet.  Hard to believe the adventure is half over now.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Iceland - Day 5

Day 5 was going to be all about waterfalls, with plans to visit two of the best known and biggest waterfalls on the South Coast of Iceland, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The day started off with the first traffic I’ve seen during my stay here, when there was a car accident on the freeway leading out of Reykjavik to the ring road heading south. It was really strange to see any kind of traffic at all much less an actual backup of any kind.

Once we were on the road I saw the real first snow and ice of the trip. The roads were actually in really good shape even though they looked like they might be really slippery for a while there. We stopped at the first waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, and were treated to answer of the big question… “where do Dippin’ Dots come from” The answer… from the skies in Iceland. What dumped down on us wasn’t snow or hail, but Dippin’ Dots, and they covered everything.

 I didn’t realize it while making plans for this waterfall, but the cliff it comes down off of actually has 4 waterfalls very close together. The others just aren’t as photogenic and so largely get ignored by the masses I guess. The waterfall furthest away from the main attraction was actually really cool… as it dropped down from the top of the cliff into a cave. The only problem is that creates a ton of spray and made it nearly impossible to get a good shot of it. The water just covered the lens faster than you could dry it off and take a photo.
Then it was off to the biggest waterfall, and the biggest crowd I’d seen at any tourist spot on so far. Getting a photo with no one in the way was going to take some time and patience but luckily there was a huge staircase to climb for a view from the top to take up some time while waiting for the tour buses to load up and take away most of the tourists there. The view from the top of the falls was actually worth the effort.

After the big waterfalls, I really wanted to visit the site of an old US Navy airplane wreck that was out on one of the black beaches. It was really wild to get all the way out there and see the carcass of the plane just sitting there. I was surprised how popular the plane was as it wasn’t really easy to drive your car out there and it wasn’t a site that was marked from the main road.

It was starting to get dark pretty quick and we still were a long way from the hotel we were staying at for the night so we hit the road trying to get there before it got too late. Of course, with there being so much to see around every corner it seems, it still look a while. I had to stop at this cool lookout over another section of the black beaches, and try to get a black and white shot of some sea stacks I’d been wanting to try to shoot on this trip as well. It was too late to try to work my way down to the beach so I had to settle for a shot from up on the cliff. I think it turned out okay but I might have to re-edit it at home on my bigger monitor as I don’t think it looks as good as it can with this quick edit.

The waves were huge and crashing up against some big basalt rocks about 100 feet over and I thought I’d try my hand at catching them crashing over a few of the rocks. It was harder to get a good shoot of that than I thought it would be, especially since it was so dark now and freezing cold out.

Next it was on to the hotel and to a nice dinner at the restaurant there. It was my first real diner since getting here, and turned out to be a great if not slightly expensive grilled chicken dinner. $40 for a chicken seemed pretty spending but after taking my first bite, I decided it was more than worth it. It might have been the best grilled chicken I’d ever eaten.

Another day was in the books.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Iceland - Day 4

Woke up this morning to overcast skies and rain so I decided not to rush out the door and went downstairs for breakfast. Looks like the standard hotel breakfasts consist of breads, meats, cheese, jelly, cereal and some weird fish looking stuff that looks really raw to me. It was almost exactly the same breakfast spread that I had yesterday, so I stuck to my usual of bread and meats as well. Turns out breakfast was a good idea because it stopped raining by the time I packed my bags and loaded the car for another day.

I made another run over to Kirkjufell to see if I could manage a better shot there than I got on my first day. I got lucky this time and was left all alone to shoot a few more photos here. In fact I didn’t see my first person until I was walking back to the car and I ended up passing a nice guy that was from Atlanta. We talked for a bit and shared stories of our travels so far…. He’d already been to a few places that are on my list still so I got some pointers about them and said our good byes.

There were a number of waterfalls on the list for today but it was already looking dark outside because of the cloud cover and it was only noon. I was hoping the clouds would break again and I would get the same kind of light I had all day yesterday but I wasn’t going to get lucky two days in a row I guess. I got rained on pretty good at the first waterfall. I did get luckier at the second and the rain stopped shortly before I got there, the only problem was that the drive was a lot longer than I expected and I spent a lot more time there shooting photos because these falls were just amazing looking. The water was actually flowing out from under a lava field and was spread out along about a 100 yard long stretch of rock. It was the most unique waterfall I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t stop just standing there and taking it all in.

I knew these falls were a little out of the way which is why I ended up skipping them on my first day but now I’m really happy I added them to my list for today. They might be the coolest falls I’ve ever seen and now I am just hoping my photos will do them justice. Turns out it was way too dark to hit the other 4 falls I had planned for the day but I’m not disappointed as I’m sure they wouldn’t have compared to these. That and I have even more waterfalls to visit over the next 6 days so I’m sure I’ll make up for it.

I headed back into Reykjavik to be closer to the airport and now just need to find a way to kill some time. I still have 10 hours until having to pick up at the airport. Maybe I can find a good spot to park myself for a while and look through today’s photos to add to this when I post it later.

Iceland - Day 3

I woke up early, before sunrise which turns out to be easy to do when the sun doesn't rise until 9;35... and walked over to the office for breakfast before hitting the road.  The hotel was really nice and on a lake that I really couldn't see when I drove in last night since it was pitch black outside.  I didn't realize there were two huge craters on each side of the little resort area which was very cool to see in the daytime.  One thing I've been surprised at the most here, is the number of craters like this all over the Island.  They just popped up randomly and the people here just built around them over the years I guess.

As I ate breakfast I went over my plan for the next couple of days and decided that I really should move things around on my list and head back south today instead of tomorrow.  There were a number of waterfalls I was going to pass up due to time restraints, but decided that instead of skipping them on this trip, I would skip a couple of things on the north coast instead.  The roads looked icy and I did't want to risk them closing the roads back south if a big snow storm hit over night, especially since I have to be back at the airport Thursday morning early, to pick up another Berlin Brat that is going to travel with me the next 6 days.

On trips like this you can really only lay out a basic plan and then just go with the flow... one thing I really wanted to do was to catch the Aurora over Kirkjufell while I was in Iceland, but since there are no guarantees in life, I didn't want to spend my first full day hanging out at the mountain and then not seeing the Aurora at all... much less getting photos of it over the mountain. I had too many things to see.  Since I spent all night driving that first night instead, I was able to see the 3 waterfalls in the north that I really wanted to see, a full day earlier than I thought, so I drove all the way back south again on Day 3....  seeing everything I missed during the night on the drive north.  The scenery was amazing and so different than I was picturing in my head the night before.  I'm glad I got to see that entire stretch in the daylight.

To top things off on what turned out to be an amazing day....  the rain over Kirkjufell broke just as I was about to give up for the night, and the skies started to clear.  I packed up my camera gear and rushed over to the mountain which is 5 minutes from where I'm staying for the night..... and in the small 10 minute window I ended up catching, the aurora came to life over the top of Kirkjufell, and I managed to snap about 12 quick shots.  Here is one of them.

Turns out I made the right decision for the day and got lucky and it paid off.

Now I'm hoping my decision for these waterfalls today pays off as well.  It's raining out right now, but overcast skies make some of the best light for waterfalls.  Here's to hoping for another great day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Iceland - Day 2

Day 2 really felt like a continuation of day 1, and I guess in many ways it was.  My first day in Iceland was ending and I'd shot the photo I most wanted to get that first day, so I headed into the nearest town to find some dinner and see if I could get lucky and find a hotel room since I hadn't made reservations for the first few days of my trip, wanting to not be tied into a tight schedule in case weather created some problems for me those first few days.

I found what appeared to be the only hotel in town, right after a tour bus dropped off a huge load of passengers.  The lobby was really crowded and it looked like there was no way they would have any spare rooms... so the hotel was out and not really finding a restaurant that looked good I decided to just grab some snacks and the one and only open store and maybe hit the road and get an early start on my day 2 plans, especially since it was still only 7:30.  With the short daylight hours this time of year, it made more sense to get in a few hours of driving before I got some sleep, instead of burning half of my daylight hours just getting to the next destination in the northern part of Iceland.  Turns out this decision was the best one I have made in a very long time and it allowed me to cross off one of the longest standing items off my bucket list, and that was to see the Aurora with my own two eyes one day.   As I stopped to top off the gas tank on the car (getting gas in Iceland is another story all on its own... maybe I'll write about it after my trip is over...), I looked up at the sky to see if the clouds had cleared up any.  All I could really see were clouds still, but something about them didn't seem right. They seemed just a little too bright for clouds at night, when there isn't a moon in the sky.  Out of curiosity, I grabbed my camera out of the car and pointed it at the clouds to take a picture.... and imagine my surprise when this is what I saw....   Yes, behind the clouds was the Aurora!

Needless to say, I was So excited and then so bummed at the same time as I could tell the Aurora was up there, but couldn't see it with my eyes because of the cloud cover.  I got back in the car and began to head north again, watching the sky every 15 minutes or so to see what the clouds were doing.  The further north I got, the less cloud cover there was, but it appeared to still be fairly cloudy.   I took another break and shot another photo around 8:30 and to my surprise, those weren't clouds up there at all anymore but was actually just the Aurora faintly dancing across the sky.  To make a long story short, as the night went on, and I got further and further north, and the Aurora would come to life and dance across the sky super bright for 15 - 20 minutes before fading again, over and over again until around midnight it put on the best show of the night.  That show lasted at least 30 minutes and I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was to watch.  There were ribbons of light that looked like they were falling to the ground, while other sections of the sky just flickered and danced around and a few times there were what appeared to be huge thunderclouds of color that would suddenly roll across the sky ... back and forth.  I shouldn't admit this, but I sat out there in the freezing night air, giggling like a little kid ... giddy beyond belief.

Oh, that went on a little too long... so let me just say I did manage to catch a 2 hour nap around 6:00 am ... when I just couldn't stay awake any longer and most of the show had died down.  After waking from my nap, I made the hour long drive to my next stops, which were two of the coolest looking waterfalls in Iceland and the only reason I made the extra long trek all the way north.  It was an amazing night, followed by a fun day of chasing waterfalls with my camera.    I haven't really had time to look at the waterfall photos from today and I probably need to do a little work on them to do them justice, but know I'll be sharing them later once I'm home and like how they look.

I called it a night a little early tonight as I am dead tired.  I found a room with a great view across a lake, and as I'm typing this, the Aurora is doing another dance outside my window and I can look over the top of the laptop and watch it go.  It's a little unreal and so much warmer than the show last night.  :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Iceland - Day 1

Okay so I'm actually writing this at the end of my 2nd full day in Iceland, but while the memories are still fresh in my head, I figured I'd start this blog about my Iceland adventure ... where the real adventure started.   Climbing out of the airplane, it fells like you stepped back in time for a few minutes.... you actually climb off the airplane with stair onto the tarmac and then walk into the terminal.  I haven't done that at a "major" airport in a very long time so it was kind of a fun start to the trip.  I had a rental car all lined up and they picked me up just outside of customs and within 30 minutes I was in my car and on the road.  Never having been to Iceland I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was really easy getting around since I brought my GPS with me, and unlike in the States... there was absolutely no traffic on the road even though it was close to 7:30am on a Sunday.   I had preloaded my GPS with all the sites I wanted to hit on this trip, and broke it down by each day so I just started with Day 1 and hit "Go!".

I had one major site to see on day 1... and it was a little out of the way off everything else on my list, but I was able to find a couple of other cool stops to make along the way.  These two Lighthouses were the first on that extra lis.  It was still dark and raining when I got there, and super cold.... so it was my first chance to try out my new coat and gloves that I purchased just for this trip.  It was nice to find out right away that they were going to work pretty well.

After the light houses, there was a very cool looking Black Church I wanted to stop and and take photos of... it was on the south side of the next Penninsula over and next on my list.  It was a long drive and I quickly realized this was going to be a country I could never stop and take photos of every waterfall I saw, as there were waterfalls everywhere!   Not just puny little things either.  Some looked pretty hard to get to and on the other sides of private property, but then there were some like this one that was right in the middle of a small down, behind a church and apartment building.  It was kind of wild to see these everywhere.

I'd also heard so much about the Icelandic horses and had seen so many photos of them that I wanted to stop and see them for myself during my trip.  Turns out I didn't have to wait long as horses are everywhere here.  I finally passed a field that had a nice pull out next to it, and no sooner did I get out of my car than these two came running over to the fence to say hi.  Turns out that the horses here are all very friendly and seem almost as interested in visitors and visitors are in them.  They usually have these great flowing manes that are really pretty.... but with all the rain these two were mostly just looking and feeling pretty wet.

I made another stop a little later in the day after the rain had stopped for a few hours and saw some drier horses where you can see just how long their manes are ...  on a bad hair day maybe.  Once again though... they came right up to the fence the minute I got out of the car and wanted to be petted.  It was pretty cool.

There are churches like this one all over the Iceland countryside so I thought I'd stop and shoot at least one of them to remember what they looked like.  They all seem to sit off on a hill so they can be seen from far and wide, and they each have these small cemeteries besides them.  It almost gave the appearance that the church and cemetery was just for the people of that small town.  No idea if that is really the case or not.

And then I finally made it to my final destination for the day.  This isn't the actual shot I was going for, but it is the location where I wanted to take it.  I'm saving that shot for after I get home and have a chance to edit it and make it look really good.  These shots here are all just straight out of the camera and not too exciting.. other than to serve as reminders about the first day of my trip in Iceland :)