Unfortunately, for us, the weather forecast was correct yesterday. It is warmer than the past few days and raining, turning hiking paths into a slippery mess. So instead of leaving the coziness of the house that Mark rented for us for the night, we make for a late start. One more time we make our breakfast from scratch, scrambled eggs, bacon and beans with for them, ham and cheese toast for me.
Where can we go now?
After breakfast, we are packing the car for the last time. I would so have traveled for longer with this group of people. Mark takes us to Efsti-Dalur (Engl.: Top Valley) for a special treat. Though it is winter, we cannot resist trying the ice cream at the farmhouse. Apparently, a place not only known to the locals but also the tour buses, as one comes toward us when we drive up the narrow pathway. One more stop before we have to leave…
We are still pondering the thought of potentially going to Bruarfoss (engl.: Bridge Waterfall), but in the parking lot to the hiking path that leads up to the waterfall, it becomes clear that this 6km return hike is not an option. Not today, with the wet snow on the slippery ground and the fine rain and snow falling from the sky. At best we would soak through in minutes at worst…better not to think about it. Instead, we are taking some photographs of the Icelandic horses in the field next to the parking lot.
The hike to the Geyser would be easier to master in this weather. But even if it erupts, it would be white water sprouting out into a white sky, nearly being indistinguishable from each other in the photos. We decide against it. Maybe the weather clears toward the evening, and we have a chance to watch one more Aurora?
Back to where it all began
For now, our way leads back to Keflavik and the Hotel Keilir, where Mark gets rooms for all of us before we take a short break. We will meet up again in the lobby to go across the street to an Italian restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we are on the road. One more time trying to capture the Aurora in the moonlit sky, if only it would show. Two hours pass by, but this time we are out of luck. No Aurora display for us tonight. So we finally return to the hotel and take our last drinks in the bar before we make it back into our rooms. Tomorrow my travel companions will leave Iceland behind, I have one more day before I am going to leave too.
The very last day
It is so quiet here. For the past week, I shared an apartment with three travel mates, there was always some laughter and chatting going on. It was never really quiet – unless we were all asleep. Now, however, I am back at the Keilir Hotel in Keflavik. No more shared apartments. The others have left for the airport already while my flight is not before tomorrow. I miss it already. Yet I am feeling sick, probably just because of the change from our high energetic early mornings to this calm rest day. To some degree, I wished I had booked a flight for today, but then who knows, maybe I can watch the Aurora tonight one last time?
Reflections of a holiday
My tripod did not quite make it. The sands on the black sand beach of Jökulsárlón got trapped in the mechanism and are blocking it now. A good clean back at home should do the trick. But in case there is an Aurora tonight for me to photograph, Mark has been so kind to borrow me one of his for even longer. I will have to find a way to ship it back to him once I am back in Norway…but that is not on my mind right now.
During this journey, I learned that I am composing my photos more when I am using the display instead of the viewfinder. Unfortunately, it is close to unreadable in bright sunlight, but maybe now that I have made some thoughtful compositions over the past few days I will be able to transfer that knowledge to photographing through the viewfinder as well? The future will tell.
This tour has been my very best group journey so far. The size suited me well, and Mark was a fantastic guide through this time. Never forcing us to go where he wanted but making suggestions of where we could go. Of course, we followed his recommendations. I loved the adventurous character of the tour; safe traveling but never knowing for sure where we would be the next day paid off during this tour. Yes, I will come back on another one of Mark’s Iceland tours. I don’t know when, but it is going to happen. It was a long time ago I had laughed so much before that it made my muscles aching…so this must have been good.
This time my flight is not canceled, not even delayed. I changed my seat reservation so that I can have a last look back onto Iceland, should the clouds lift. They do, just enough for a look onto some glaciers. Do these belong to the Breðamerkurjökulen? I do not know.
Goodbye Iceland for this time.
A day after my return home I am receiving an email from Iceland air; apparently, someone had the measles on the flight that took me to Iceland. Thankfully I recall having had them when I was a child…