Day 2 started way to early considering we had almost no sleep the night before. We met our tour guide for our South Shore tour at 8am and headed out on an all day bus ride. Our first stop was the Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
Our tour guide was really good. He told us all about the major volcanoes in Iceland as we saw them from a distance. There are volcanoes with lava and ash eruptions and ones with toxic fumes, at least one of which is long over due for an eruption. :) Let's drive faster!
Charming Icelandic countryside.
Josh is Fabulous...
After checking out the glacier, we headed to the coastal town of Vik where we had a hot lunch of traditional Icelandic lamb stew. Then we checked out Reynisfjara, which is a black sandy beach.
According to legend, the rock formations out at sea were actually Trolls who stayed out too late fishing and the sun turned them into rocks. Speaking of Trolls...the Icelandic Christmas story is full of them!! In Iceland they have 13 "Santa Clauses" or yule men. They are the children of the troll, Grýla, and they aren't very nice. Historically, the Yule Men used to be mischievous tricksters who would steal from and harass the people. Modern Yule men are now more Santa-like and they bring gifts for the children. They also have a Christmas Cat who prowls along looking for naughty children. The Christmas Cat then takes the bad children to the Grýla and she eats them! Merry Christmas!!!!
See...I did go on a beach vacation!
Josh made me include this.
Church in Vik
We loaded up in the bus once more and headed to another waterfall, The Skógafoss.
Back to Rekjavik for a quick supper of hot dogs...yup Hot dogs. After walking aimlessly around the harbor for what seemed like forever, we finally found the little famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins beztu Pylsur. This is supposed to be the best hotdog in Europe. I will have to take their word for it because I have never seen another hotdog in Europe!! It's served with condiments that include ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remoulade, which is a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. Locals order is with "the works" and so did we!! It was very tasty and the cheapest meal we had in Iceland!
Night 2 of the great Northern Lights search was much more rewarding than the previous night! We stopped in the national park (along with about 20 other tour buses) and wouldn't you know...the lights came out to play!!! I spent the first two hours standing in the freezing cold trying to figure out settings on my camera. (yay camera class!) Turns out you can't capture the northern lights with a regular camera but that didn't stop people from trying. Their flashes kept throwing my pictures off! Also...it was cold...and I was shaking! So I have a lot of pictures with blurry stars!! Here are some of the better ones I took. I had to wait for more people to give up and get back in the bus. After three hours in the cold I was rewarded!!! Totally worth the wait.
Notice the blurry lights? It was cold!!! Shaking is to be expected since I was shivering and had to use such a long exposure time.
Yay!!! Minimal shake!!!