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2010.8.13

It's raining in the morning. If the rain get bigger, it would be very bad to camp in this kind of weather.

That is not a good feeling in the beginning of a day. 

Because Vik is close to the ice sheet located in the north where the Eyjafjallajökull is located at, I feel a little cold and cook a hot fish soup in the kitchen in the early morning.

The early morning is also a good time for charging the cellphone. The outlets are all free.

As for the charging, I prepared the chargers for cameras and the cellphone that could be plugged into the cigar-lighter. Unfortunately, my cellphone seems to be not supported by the charger. Therefore, I have to find a outlet in the campsite as possible as I can.

I really hope that the cellphone companies could adapt the same charger for all the cellphone. That is not convenient, especially when travelling aboard.

 

The itinerary today is going to Kirkjubajarklaustur, Skaftafell Natonal Park, and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. I have lots of time today, thus I depart at 8 o'clock. Because of the rain, I don't have a good mood and drive slowly towards Kirkjubajarklaustur.

Kirkjubajarklaustur, sometimes called Klauster for short. According to Lonely Planet, Kirkjubajarklaustur is composed by three terms that mean church, farm and cloister. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkjub%C3%A6jarklaustur)

I don't understand why Icelandic give it such a long name. That is hard to pronounce.

If someone has such a long name, the teachers or friends may get crazy.

You could see the lave beside the road to the Klauster, just like the scene on the way to Landmannalaugar.

It's still early for all the tourists that I could stop my car anywhere as I wish and take some photos in the car.

About ten o'clock, the rain doesn't stop, and I have arrived at Klauster. I fill the gas in the rain, and then drive to the tourist information center nearby.

Klauster is a small town, and not very popular. Maybe the rain is also a reason. There is only a few of tourists coming to Klauster. The information center displays some data about the area around Klauster, and the church with a sense of design is just opposite to the information center.

I have to say that it's pretty bad to take photos in the rain. Although the rain is not big enough and I still could take photos, the raindrops fall on the surface of the lens will make the work much more complex. I always have to clean the raindrops and avoid them when I shoot. For this reason, I spend twice the time, maybe triple, just for taking photos of the church.

By the way, I bought a raincoat for camera, but it's not good for use.

First, you could only use your right hand to control the camera, but left hand is also necessary to control the focus when using focus-changeable lens.

Second, it's not convenient to look at the camera window. For DSLR, it's still important to look at the window when getting focus.

Anyway, I think it's better to hold an umbrella than put on a troublesome raincoat on the camera.

After I finishing the shooting of the church, I continue to drive inside the town. The bus comes from Vik to Hofn will always stops here for about ten minutes. Tourists could see a waterfall here. But I think I need more time to take photos, especially in the rain. Besides, there is a pathway to the summit that starts from the waterfall.

Compared to other waterfalls I have seen, the waterfall, Systrafoss, is not very special one. The trees here are too many that block the view of the waterfall, and I spend times to find a good place for photographing.

Some part of the river could be a good material if you slow down the shutter speed.

I spent thirty minutes here, come back to my car changing another lens, and take a small walk on the pathway.

Unfortunately, part of the pathway got damaged, and the mist is all round the town that you could not see anything in such a bad weather. I think it will be good to get to the top in a sunny day. That's a pity.

On the way back from the pathway, I find a small area beside where is a nice place for watching and shooting the Systrafoss. It's hard to describe the location, but not far away from the start of the pathway.

  There is a raindrop on my lens.

I stay at Klauster for more than one hour, and it's near the time for going to the next place: Skaftafell Natonal Park.

The important attractions in Skaftafell Natonal Park are glacier and Svartifoss.

If you didn't experience walking on the glacier, it's recommended to join the tour for one time as least. That's really an amazing feeling when you step on the Big Ice. I have already joined the tour in New Zealand last year, so I don't do the same thing this time. I want to save the time and money for other different things that I have ever seen.

Except for the glacier, Svartifoss is a special waterfall for the scene of the basalt columns around the wall. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svartifoss)

Before reaching the tourist center, I have seen part of the glacier on the halfway and hurry to the tourist center in a happy mood.

The tourist information center has a  restaurant, a souvenir store, and display some geography data as well. The most important service is the toilet that may be the only one you find around here.

Although the rain doesn't stop, I wear my coat and walk to watch the glacier after I took a small break in the center.

 When getting close to the glacier, the glacier looks bigger and more clear. Compared it with the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand, the glacier in Skaftafell seems to be huger and easy for observing even if you don't have time for joining the tour. If you don't want to walk too much to get very close to the glacier, lens with more than 200mm focus is recommended. Many tourists walk to watch the glacier today.

The time for walking to the glacier includes the photographing may cost about thirty to fifty minutes. So you could arrange the trip for about one and half hour. When returning to the center, I feel cold and go to the restaurant for a hot soup. I choose two croissants and a Icelandic meat soup that is made of vegetables and lamb. The soup is simple but delicious.

After my warm lunch, I buy some postcards and ask the direction and the time for going to Svartifoss. The staff says that it take about forty-five minutes for one way, but I thinks I have to reserve for about one hour or more. I don't know why other people could walk so fast.

The entrance of the walkway to Svartifoss is near the campsite that is on the left side of the tourist center if you face the building 

The rain seems to stop. That is a good news.

On th half way, you could see a small waterfall worthy of taking a look at  it.

I walk for about almost one hour, and see the whole view of Svartifoss. Then, I go down the path to the bottom of the waterfall. The scene is different when getting close to Svartifoss, especially the hexagonal columns. 

I come back to the tourist center at 3:30. I think that it's worth for spending a day here to join the glacier tour and walk to Svartifoss.

My last attraction today is Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

If you look for the ring road around Skaftafell on Google Map, you will find that the ring road from Skaftafell to Jökulsárlón is quite close to Vatnajökull, the biggest glacier in Iceland. Therefore, you could see the beautiful scene and find parking places on the way to Jökulsárlón.  

I sometimes stop my car for taking photos if there is no car passing me, and I don't worry about the time for going to Jökulsárlón. Anyway, driving around here is quite a nice experience.

’’

As I think so and drive close to a parking place, I don't notice that a car driving in front of me stops suddenly. When I'm aware of that, the car crash has already happened. My car strikes the back of the car, but the good news is that I drive in a slow speed, so when the car crash happened, our cars don't get malfunctions. Otherwise, my journey in Iceland may be finished because of this event.

 Oh my god. The beautiful scenery is Not always the Good thing.

We move our car to the parking place at where we could see a glacier nearby, and write the accident report in peace.

Writing accident report in front of the glacier. So a special and strange experience.

In Iceland, the car rental company will give you a blank accident report form when you take the car. If you get accident during the journey, you have to fill the form and give it back when you return the car.

You have to describe the damages and the reason of your car crash, and draw down the location the car crash happened.

They will charge you according to the damage and the insurance you have. Sometimes there is no police around you, so you have to do it by yourself unless you also get big damage in the accident.

By the way, it's very important to have a SCDW (Super Collision Damage Waiver) insurance, because the charge for CDW and SCDW are quite different. CDW is about 2000 Euro, and SCDW is only 250 Euro.

Before I rent the car, I have study all the necessary information about the car rental, and I knew that the company may provide differnt insurance for the car, like CDW, SCDW, TP (Thief Protection), GP (Gravel Protection). It's fine that I have a SCDW insurance when I rent this car. Otherwise, I may have to pay a lot for this accident.

But, if you forget to make sure the insurance and get a car crash, you should be responsible for the damage and pay the compensation.

 

Although this is not a good thing to make a accident, I think I learn a lot from it.

In Taiwan, if the car crash happened, the drivers sometimes do not know what to do, and scold each other until the police arrived.

In Inceland, the tourists could handle the thing by themselves if the accident isn't very serious. You don't have to wait for the police for filling the report.

I heard that a hong Kong tourist got an accident that his car was overturned. Fortunately, he was fine, the police come to handle the accident, and people around there also come to give him a comfort. I could not image what would it be when this event  is happened in Taiwan. Iceland is a good country. 

Okay. My car is still fine, and so is the other. We separate here and keep on our journey. Because of this event, I know that I have to take more care of the cars ahead or behind me.

 

Driving along the road, there is a small glacier lagoon. This scene is good but not as spetacular as the famous Jökulsárlón.

About 5:00, I finally arrived at Jökulsárlón. If you drive along the ring road, you will see the lagoon on your left side for sure before you pass through a bridge.

Jökulsárlón is quite big in area. You could see lots of flowing ice around here. For taking pictures, the lens with a focus-changeable lens from 18mm to 200mm is suitable for this situation, but I also bring a 11mm-17mm wide-angle lens that is better for the whole view.

There is a restaurant nearby. Because the weather here is quite cold, I eat a chocolate muffin and drink a hot chocolate. If you want to join the boat trip on the lake, the staff also stand by here, and the big boat with wheels is easy to be found. 

I take photos beside the lake for a long time, though the cold weather and the small rain make me feel freezing. The scene of the glacier lagoon is so beautiful that I want to take as many pictures as I can. Besides, a good camera with different types of lens is quite important at this moment.

 Do you think that is all ?

No. When I spend a lot of time here, the scenery changes when the sun appears.

A part of the cloud that hid the mountains disappeared. You could see the sun behind the cloud, but the sunlight is not very strong.

The proper sunlight, proper appearance of the cloud, glacier lagoon and the mountains with glacier make this place like a heaven, like a dream. 

You could see the glacier on the mountain very clearly. I think that is a part of Vatnajökull glacier.

I continue to shoot as much as I could. There is no words to describe what I see and feel at this amazing place.

I think the trip on the lake would be good too, but I'm already comfortable with the scenery, so I don't join the tour before I leave.

 But there is something you have to know. If you want to take a good view of glacier lagoon, you should arrive here in the morning. I'm lucky that I come here in the cloudy day. Otherwise, the big sun will destroy all you feeling when you want to take a good photo here.

Although I got a small accident today and the weather is not good, the beautiful glacier lagoon make this bad felling passing away. This is the wonderful day I have never had.

When I leave the lagoon and go to Hofn, the big sun apprears and that is not good for photographing already.

There is no doubt that Hofn campsite is the most beautiful campsite in Iceland.

The lake beside the campsite is quite peaceful and pretty.

I have never thought that I could see so many beautiful scenes in only one day. How lucky I am.

I arrived at Hofn campsite before the sunset, and the weather seems to be good. Camping here is a very enjoyable thing.

Hofn campsite provides washing and drying service. You just pay at the desk. The staff will do it for you, and you take back your clothes tomorrow.

There is a small lounge inside where you could charge your cellphone for a little money, and a kitchen outside the building.

As for bathing, the hot water is charged for 100 ISK every two minutes. It only accepts the coins so you must have some cash or coins with you.

When I finish my dinner and take a bath, I walk around the campsite, and watch the lake for a while.

The journey today got a good ending.

I cann't wait for the skidoo tour on Vatnajökull tomorrow. 

 

Attachment:Travelling Route Map

 

A:Vik

B:Kirkjubajarklaustur

C:Skaftafell Natonal Park

D:Jökulsárlón

E:Höfn

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