I woke up early and, with Simon still asleep on the other side of the room, quietly dressed, gathered my belongings and left. I took one more long exposure shot of the waterfalls (the horizontal shot at the end of the previous post) and started out towards Vik, where I was to meet Yullia.
Vik is a very small town, village really, that is at the southernmost point of Iceland and at the east/west midpoint, approximately. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world, I think. I quickly found Yullia, who was in the process of tearing down her tent and preparing breakfast. We made arrangements to meet later and then I set out to take some photos. I don't know if I did the place justice but it was a pleasure trying.
The shots above are of the campground. It was a very short drive from there, through the town, to the beach where I found the famous black sands and the rock formations jutting out of the sea, under the cliffs, that I called Odins Fingers. The walk up almost took my breath away. There is a long breakwater on the beach that gives you views on either side.
You might be able to see the hang-gliders being lifted above the cliffs in the photo above. That is facing west from the breakwater. Below is the view east ...
... and behind me was the amazing vista seen below, with the Vik church nestled on the mountainside.
Yullia eventually joined me and we drove up to the church, parked and walked along a path that led us to this ...
A fellow traveller gave Yullia her phone and asked if she would take a picture of her with the horses. So I took a picture of Yullia taking a picture.
We eventually left Vik but before we headed east we went back west of the town and explored the area there.
These are the far side of the cliffs where the paragliders were jumping from and you can see two of Odin's Fingers. Then it was back on the road and travelling east.
I still find it difficult to believe the variety of landscapes we encountered. It was exhausting going through the photos and deciding on a reasonable number to process and show here. There were too many. That day on the Ring Road was a rich one ...
We couldn't find any radio stations to listen to and I convinced Yullia that it was a Canadian tradition for the passenger to sing to the driver. Luckily she had a lovely voice and knew some folk and pop songs from her part of the world.
After driving for a good part of the day the landscape changed dramatically, even for Iceland standards. We were approching Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Iceland and one of the largest in Europe.
We found the national park, paid for a camping spot for Yullia, a parking spot for me and set out to explore. She went on ahead while I took photos.
This little boy didn't want his dad to take a picture of him with the glacier and we agreed he would probably regret it some day. That's the way things are with fathers and sons sometimes. Maybe he'll run across this, as I gave the father my card and told him I would post it, if it turned out. The boy looks like he's protecting himself but was actually in mid-wave.
After exploring the glacier a little we went back to the car and decided to try to get to the glacier lagoon at Jokulsarlon. Just another amazing place in Iceland.
We were quickly losing light so we headed back to the campsite. Yullia struggled to put up her rented tent on the hard soil but eventually did and found out from other campers that there was a hike she wanted to take the next morning. I decided to go back to the lagoon in the early light to take more photos. I told her that I would come back to the campground for lunch but if we didn't find each other by 2 p.m. I would be heading back towards Reykjavik. We exchanged cell numbers and I went back to my car.
The clouds that we had been driving in and out of all day were gathering and the temperature was dropping. As I got out my sleeping bag rain began to hit the windshield. I turned the engine on and turned up the heater. I settled into my sleeping bag in the passenger seat, put my photographers headlamp on my head, got out a novel (My Life As A Fake by Peter Carey if you're curious; and I enjoyed it) and read. The rain and wind sang their simple lullaby until I finally fell asleep.