Mile upon mile of black plains with nothing to break the wind from sweeping across the roadway. Yellow posts line both sides of the road. I mused what they were for. In Colorado, stakes line the sides of mountain roads to guide the snowplows during the blinding snowstorms we sometimes receive.
But along the southeast coast of Iceland, it is a maritime climate. They don’t actually get that much snow, as much as they get rain. Rain that was coming down now in fits and starts.
“I wonder what those yellow posts are for…” expressing my thoughts aloud to Bryon.
“They’re reflectors to guide people at night, to keep them from driving off the road.”
Of course. I could only imagine how easy it would be to veer off into this black wasteland in the dark of night. It had been almost an hour since the last town, if you could actually call it that.
Vik is more like a quaint little hamlet, all of 300 people. I’m guessing the reason it even has a gas station, supermarket and guest houses is because of all the thousands of tourists like us who make their sojourn to the southeastern coast.
The one gas station we spotted is jammed with vehicles gassing up, tour buses taking a bathroom break, as well as fuel truck refueling gas at the tanks.
I stop in to the mini mart to get some snacks to sustain us for the rest of our journey.
Some water, a sandwich, a candy bar, and some chips somehow adds up to 3000 Kronas, around $26.00 for some junk food. At this point, I’ve become somewhat immune to the expense of Iceland.
We continue our journey as the weather turns worse, gusting winds buffeting the tiny Hyundai about on this narrow road. Cars continue to pass us, even as we drive 10 kilometers over the posted speed limit.
As I peer through the clouds, I see snow capped peaks and then filtering down between peaks, glaciers are spilling out on the landscape.
This is exciting! I’ve never seen a glacier up close and personal. The ice is actually blue tinged and is furrowed with cracks throughout.
Back to the main road, we press on. It has been almost 5 hours since we began this trip in Reykjavik. I’m wondering how much longer it is until we reach the lagoon.
I turn on the iPhone for just a moment to type in our destination before shutting it off again to save precious data charges.
“We’re six minutes away!” I gleefully crow to Bryon.
Approaching a metal bridge, the sea to our right, we see them. Icebergs floating around the water, with that same iridescent blue tinge to them. Crossing the bridge, we see a large parking lot with many cars and buses parked, as well as what appears to be a gift shop/cafe.
The weather has really turned foul now, with a driving rain whipping sideways, and temperatures in the upper 30s. Still, I am transfixed by the scene in front of me.
Icebergs, hundreds of them as far as the eye can see fill the lagoon. All shapes and sizes of them poke out of the water.
Slap, slap. A strange garbled sound emanates from the lagoon as the water crashes against the sides of these behemoths.
We take photos, walking up to a hill to survey the scene. Then we walk along the water, inspecting these giants more closely, all the result of the magnificent glacier crashing into this lagoon and breaking apart.
“Don’t forget to go across the road to the beach.” says a woman from New York who I have been talking with.
We drive across the road to a coal black colored beach. I know the black sand is a result of the constant volcanic activity from around the island. But what is more mind-boggling are the incredible crystal-clear blocks of ice littering the beach and the sea. They are so clear that you can look right through them, as if they were nature’s own version of a gorgeous diamond.
We wonder about the beach, picking up smaller pieces, sitting on the larger pieces. I take as many photos as I can, knowing I will never see such a fantastical scene again, and wanting to capture it. I want to stay and explore this magical place, but the driving rain and cold temperatures are freezing my body to the core, even with a hat and gloves on.
We walk back to the car and I take one last look. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. I nod my head.
This is why I’ve come to Iceland.