OK I’ve no idea whether there is a waterfall of owls, or if there is where it might be, but it would be kinda nice to think that somewhere, a river cascaded through a forest and owls danced in the moonlight above it.
Today has been a bit of a wanting-to-snuggle-and-be-somewhere-familiar day, which inevitably means that I have been thinking about my next trip to Iceland. So it was with a wry smile to myself that I noticed this discount card from Icelandic wool company Álafoss still lying around in my bedroom. Icelandic lopi wool is cosy & beautiful. “Foss” means waterfall. “Ála-” is pronounced “owl-a”, although of course it has nothing to do with owls. I just think it’s a lovely mental image, just right for today.
One of many Icelandic waterfalls
We’d planned on going to Jökulsárlón, Iceland’s glacial lagoon, on Saturday, but the weather was so bad we would have had rubbish views, so we waited till Sunday when the weather was sunny and clear. We took our time, and stopped off along the way whenever we saw waterfalls:
And another one..
Along the Myrdulssands
or grandcanyon style basalt cliffs
or vibrant mossy lava fields
Lava & moss
or a view point
or snowy mountains
Bits of Vatnajokull
or glimpses of glaciers
One of Vatnajokull’s tentacles
or weird clouds
or pretty villages.
Not the Sound of Music…
This meant that we stopped A LOT.
Iceland has a lot of information boards placed helpfully at viewpoints and roadside picnic spots. I’d noticed that the fields along the roadsides were very sandy (since the volcano Katla destroyed the birch forests that used to grow on the south coast) and how odd it was that there was actually grass and other plants growing there – it didn’t look quite right.
Jamie, excited to learn that the sand will stay put
But at our next stop the information board explained! How handy. The road across the sandflats where we were driving has only existed since 1987, but Iceland is so windy the sand often blew over the road so much that it became impassable and road closures were common. So to stop this they planted seeds that grow and bind well into the sand to stop the erosion and keep the sand in place. Perfect solution.
Me, equally excited
Next we drove through the glacial floodplains where Grimsvötn the volcano that grumbles away under Vatnajökull, frequently sends floods of meltwater and huge rocks to the ocean. The road here, with its frequent bridges across the outflows, which could be vulnerable to being washed away before the road was properly planned, has only been here since 1974. Before then, the route through the floodplains was so dangerous that there was a regular alternative route across the top of the glacier instead. But more of the glacier next…