At 8:30 am, we boarded our Reykjavik Excursions bus and headed out of the city for points our South Shore Adventure trip. The natural sights in Iceland are amazing. Just when you think you're seen the most incredible, most picturesque scene on earth, the bus turns a corner and, oh look, there's a bigger mountain, a more stunning cliff, a cuter gaggle of puffins.
Our first stop was the tiny village of Eyrarbakki, right on the coast. Leave it to Icelanders to make metal siding look quaint. I love the wacky colors people choose to paint their houses too.
From Eyrarbakki,we went to Sólheimajökull Glacier to touch the tongue of the glacier. Walking towards the glacier, it's pretty easy to understand why so many sci fi movies have been filmed in Iceland. It's like walking on another planet. Actually walking on the glacier requires a lot more gear but we touched it at least. It's so cliché really, but looking at the glacier, touching the glacier, you immediately get this sense of the greatness of nature and the enormity of the planet and the smallness of you.
Our next stop was my favorite of the tour: Reynisfjara Beach. The landscape of Iceland is constantly changing, each new step revealing a new layer. Witness our walk towards the beach...
According to folklore, the columns that stand in the sea are petrified trolls who were caught in the rising sun whilst trying to drag their boat onto the water. Folk tale or no, this part of the ocean is not to be trifled with. Rogue waves have swept some unsuspecting tourists away so take care when you walk on the beach. Maybe it's the slight tinge of danger that makes this place even more beautiful and unspoiled?
After the beach, we headed into the tiny village of Skógar to see the Skógar Folk Museum and the Skógafoss waterfall. I loved the tiny little museum, crowded with Icelandic books, decorative arts and fishing ephemera. The photo on the bottom has an interesting story behind it: settlers in Iceland quickly realized that there weren't enough trees to go around to build houses and boats so they often turned to driftwood washed up up on the shore. Families would mark their names or symbols on pieces of wood to "claim" it.
Our last stops were two beautiful waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. You can actually walk behind the waterfall at Seljalandsfoss. The land near the falls was so lush and green, covered in moss, lichens and sedum.
In what I was learning was typical Iceland tourism fashion, Seljalandsfoss was a walk-at-your-own-risk affair. You will get wet but you will love it! There are no railings and the rocks can get very slippery so keep little ones close.
Our jaunts out of the city were with Reykjavik Excursions. We thought they were fantastic tours, very informative and able to pack a lot into a day. If you are going for longer than a week, you could definitely rent a car and amble a bit more but you get a lot of bang for your buck on these tours.