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Iceland - The East, Land of Fire and Ice - Part 3

- By Shounak Mondal   .   May 26, 2018   .   

Iceland - March 2018

We started the next day by continuing to drive east where we would be driving past Iceland's largest Icecap - Vatnajökull. Here is what it looked like from the top. We shot this while flying into Iceland as our flight crossed the entire icecap. The view from the top was humbling - hundreds of miles of nothing but ice. If you find yourself in the middle of Vatnajökull - needless to say but the chances of survival would be zero. 

 

Back on road now and as we drove along, we noticed that both sides of the road was filled with large stretches of land covered by Icelanding greenish moss. Its forbidden to step on them as it takes years to repair the damage caused by the footsteps. Pop Idol Justin Bieber was unware of this and he stepped on the moss and filmed himself while on his Iceland trip and then shared the music video with millions of his fans on youtube. Not surprisingly, he came under severe crtisism from the Icelandic authorities.So remember DON'T step on the moss !

 

Here is the video - watch around 2:26 to see him roll over the moss.

 

Every part of Iceland brings a unique landscape. We feel we have seen the best and then as we drive along we see something different and even more jawdropping. We stopped at this place which was at the edge of the Vatnajokull icecap and we could see two blue ice glacier tongues in the distance. There are glacier tours organised here and we regretted not having planned for a glacier walk here. We were more than convinced already that we had to visit Iceland again and we would surely keep this for next time.

 

The drive continued to be breathtaking with steep volcanic mountain ice slopes on our left and the rough sea on our right.

 

We stopped at a place where we could go down the beach and experience the black sand and rugged seas. This is a great place to stop by to capture some stunning drone shots.

 

After a long drive, we finally arrived at our hotel - The Foss Hotel which was nestled in the middle of glaciers and mountains all around.  

 

It was time to drive again next morning after a refreshing breakfast at Foss Hotel. This drive was beautiful but long as its a winding path as the road goes inward into the land and then outward on to the sea. There are no bridges or shortcuts so the drive is all along the meandering long coast line. After about four hours of driving, we arrived at a small but pretty town and had lunch at a cozy restaurant called Við Voginn. 

 

Next stop was the famous Jökulsárlón Ice Beach and glacier lake. It was disappointing not to have seen more iceberges and ice chunks on the black sand beach where they look like shining diamonds which is how the place looks like in all images on the internet. Either it was not the right season or we completely missed the right points to see here. There is a boat tour on the lake but it was closed during March. Never the less, the massive glacier is seen in the backfrop of the lake and it was a peaceful and beautiful place.

 

We continued to drive to the far eastern coast of Iceland now. We started to see a lot of snow in this area. We reached the town of Eglisstadir and we were lucky as the roads had just opened after heavy snowstorms in the last few days. Had the road been closed, we would have had to change our plans as there was no way to cross the mountain. We now had to turn right and cross a mountain to reach the town of Austurvegur which would be our home for the next two days.

The drive was incredible as we drove through foggy weather , slippery hairpin turns in between snow peaks on either side. We reached the summit of the mountain and the two sides became flatter but covered with snow till we could see. It was tempting to stop the car and just walk on the flat snow covered summit of the mountain. After a point we were blinded by the bright whiteness of the snow all around which merged with a whitish sky. I had to put on my glares to continue to drive.

 

After a good nights rest, we continued to drive back to Eglisstadir to hike up to see the Hengifoss waterfall - which is the third highest waterfall in Iceland. It was a longish hike to reach Litlanesfoss which is a smaller waterfall on the way where I took out my drone out to get some close up shots. It was very cold and I took a risk hoping that the drone batteries would make it through and not die all of a sudden due to the cold. 

We continued to hike towards Hengifoss but the path got slippery with mud and ice and at some points at the edge of the cliffs, it was very slippery and dangerous. I decided to turn back after I realised how dangerous it could get. Its a must to have crampons to do this hike. 

 

 

Our Entire Road Trip Map - 3000 Kms.

 

Written By Shounak Mondal

Lives in Hong Kong. Avid traveler ( 30+ countries and counting ), amateur photographer and writer Discovers purpose and meaning in life through travel.

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Shounak Mondal

Lives in Hong Kong. Avid traveler ( 30+ countries and counting ), amateur photographer and writer Discovers purpose and meaning in life through travel.

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