#iceland

Yesterday the Icelandic Met Office issued a warning that heavy rain is expected in south and west Iceland in the days ahead.  The temperature in Iceland is also supposed to be warm for this season so in addition to the rain, water is coming from the mountains and melting glaciers. The wind forecast is a south and southeast 13-20 m/s. This is not good news for those traveling in or near the Highland.  As there are many rivers in the Highland and Highland roads one has to cross; the situation becomes more difficult and often impossible under such circumstances.  A river that was o.k.

This news and warning from the Icelandic Met Office is only a reminder of how important it is to follow the weather when traveling in Iceland.

For those interested in history and the Icelandic Sagas, Borgarvirki is a very relevant place to visit. Although originally formed naturally by an ancient volcanic plug of columnar basalt, that base is believed to have been transformed into a defensive fortification dating around the Settlement (879 - 1030 AD). There are some debates about whether that is true or if it was simply used for peaceful purposes but either way it is a great spot to see and perhaps decide for yourself.

 Borgarvirki

Often the journey towards a recommended sight seeing spot is just as interesting as the final destination. That is definitely the case for this photo. On the way from the camping area in Drekagil one can drive for about 15 minutes towards the popular Askja and Víti. In good weather conditions this drive can be quite amazing. On one hand there is a huge field of pitch black sand and rocks and on the other there are hills of layered rock formations ranging from brown to gray and black contrasting with the untouched white snow patches.

Between Drekagil and Askja

Traveling in Iceland in autumn, in the months from October to the beginning of November, is such a joy for two reasons.  On the one hand, you have all the colors of autumn as the leaves on the trees change colors.  This is so magical because all the green trees and the green leaves take on many different colors, mostly yellow, orange and red. For this reason, a large area can change the character for a few weeks and seem quite different to the bright green and light yellow that dominates the summer.

​Lake Myvatn in Autumn
Oct 8 2016

Autumn is a beautiful time to travel in Iceland.  As the leaves start to change color in late September the overall color of landscape with trees and vegetation begins to change. When driving from Reykjavík to the northern part, you drive through a landscape that during summer is more or less green through the landscape of many colors. Red, yellow and orange starts to take over large areas giving the whole landscape scenery a new look.  This is very true if the weather has been calm during the period of color changing, from the middle of September through late October. 

As we are traveling in the north of Iceland and staying in Akureyri, we noticed that the autumn is exceptionally beautiful

Travelling specifically around the westfjords of Iceland is a trip on its own. Preferably one should spend at least a week threading each fjords with their powerful mountains and their small and charming towns. This is photo is from Arnarfjörður, the second largest fjord of the westfjords. Situated between Tálkanafjörður and Dýrafjörður is 30 km long and 10 km at its widest. With this in mind, it makes sense that within Arnarfjörður there are a few smaller fjords one of them is Dynjandavogur where the majestic waterfall Dynjandi is along with a camping area.

This is photo is from Arnarfjörður, the second largest fjord of the westfjords.

Everything about the sculpture Sun Voyager is fascinating.  The Artist Jón Gunnar Árnason was a mechanic who left a successful career as a mechanic in his early career to become an artist.  As an artist, he was a pioneer and a philosopher with a vision. In his life nothing had a higher priority than art. He is considered by many to be one of Iceland's most remarkable sculptor and artists. Jón Gunnar was born in 1931 and passed away in 1989 only 58 years old.

Solfar is not a Viking ship but a dream machine

The mountain ridge Jarlhettur, “The Earls Cap" is easily visible from many places and many angles in southern Iceland. The ridge is 15 kilometers and consists of 20 mountains where each peak is similar to the next, although the height and diameter differ. It is a spectacular sight seen by most visitors driving the Golden Circle with the ice cap Langjökull glacier in the background. The direction of the ridge is the same as most geological fissures in the area, from southwest to the northeast. The visibility is on the east side, and most of the west side is attached to the glacier. It is almost odd to find the name Earl in the Icelandic landscape since Iceland hardly ever had any real Earls governing the land or the people. On the other hand, Icelandic Viking traveled a lot to Europe and was acquainted with Earls and Kings. Unfortunately not alway not always in a polite manner.

Jarlhettur mountain ridge is in contrast with many natural wonders in Iceland

The mountains are of palagonite nature and almost entirely lack vegetation. The lakes and small rivers at the bottom of the mountains are all glacial waters, so everything is gray and somewhat from another planet.  This contrast with many of the magnificent natural beauties in the Icelandic nature makes Jarlhettur ridge, also interesting. Most of the mountains are around eight hundred to nine hundred meters high but the highest one Tröllhetta or Troll Cap, little less than eleven hundred meters.  Most of the mountains are barely climbable as the surface of the steep palagonite mountains is made of small rocks and hard to climb. But those who prepare and dare will enjoy a spectacular view.

Access by car to enjoy the view to Jarlhettur requires a good 4WD car

There are mainly two roads to see Jarlhettur in proximity.  One is to drive from Þingvellir north on the Road Uxahryggjavegur Nr. 550 and take a turn on the rugged mountain road Skjaldbreiðarvegur F338.  On the second part, a few kilometers before you reach Kjalvegur you will have a good view to Jarlhettur in the north.  The second one that will bring you to a proximity of Tröllhetta is to visit Nýifoss waterfall.  

The mountain ridge Jarlhettur, “The Earls Cap" is easily visible from many places and many angles in southern Iceland.

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