I haven't travelled far today and I have taken my time about it. When you're moving every day to somewhere new a holiday becomes tiring. After what felt like a push around the Reykjavik peninsula and making my way onto the 1 by the scenic route, I felt able to knock back a little and take some time. This morning I knew where I was headed, I will probably stay here in Skoga for two nights use it as a base to branch out and explore from. I slept well,really well and am glad that I spent what I spent on my ridiculously thick camping mattress. I don't bother to deflate it in the mornings, just lay it across the back seats of the 4x4.
Skoga is a town that consists of a few houses, a handful of farms and then a hotel and hostel. I'm sat on the terrace of the hotel drinking Gull. It's Happy Hour, so a large Gull (the reasonable local lager) is £4. I'm on the second and as HH finishes in 5 minutes, I'll be stretching out the second. There is the temptation of having a burger here, about the same cost as the two pints of beer, else it'll be back to my tent for 'chicken flavoured' noodles as I failed to stop at a supermarket on my way South. I might treat myself tomorrow!
Back to this morning. I slept well, waking only to roll over a few times and sleep some more. Then it was 8am. I had best get up. I made a huge coffee (I love my jet boil too!) and sipped it. Lots of the previous night's campers had escaped even earlier and I was a little gobsmacked. Maybe it comes from having so many hours of daylight? Maybe they were just on short trips and felt the need to be moving, but not me. The green colour of my tent is just enough to make the bright nights bearable and I was going to take every ounce of joy from my warm sleeping bag into the rest of the day.
As I pottered around, I remembered that I had a small pot of natural (I had guessed right!) yogurt that I had picked up in the supermarket and a bag of granola to mix with it for breakfast. By 10 I had taken the chance to use the facilities and started to break down my little camp. The sun was peeking out from behind the curtain of grey that I had been under for a few days and all of a sudden it was very warm, beautifully warm, should I break out the emergency shorts that I packed warm. Instead it was time to break out the solar panel. It's something I spent a small fortune on as I wasn't sure about how often I would get access to power. So far charging my phone whilst driving had been fine but beyond going from base to base, I don't want to do too many long drives whilst I'm out here and so with about 20 hours a day of light, it seemed like a good idea to use some of that to keep batteries charged.
Eventually, everything was back in the car. I feel compulsively bad about some of my fellow campers. They have the chance to pitch in some of the most beautiful places in the world but can't pick up after themselves. I take my little plastic bag of a few items of rubbish and scour 'my pitch' for fag ends, plastic straws and other crap I simply wouldn't want to pitch my tent on. Dropping this all off in the bin and filling up my water bottle, it's time to make a move. The 1 is an easy road to follow but not what I expected for Iceland's primary highway. The stretch that I took yesterday was a well maintained dual carriageway. Today it's just about a two lane road. I'm not sure we'd call it /an A-road. Maybe a top-end B at best?
The problem with driving in Iceland is that it's all so stunning. It's very easy to find yourself desperately trying to look at the passing views and then jerked back to reality as you hit the rumble strip. I had Skoga planned as the first and only place I'd stop today, making a really easy day of it, but then to my left I could see a large waterfall tumbling down a cliff side.
In Iceland you go from hills or mountains to flat pastures in all of a few metres. It got closer and closer and then I started to wonder about when I'd get to an appropriate turning. Of course it was well signposted and I pulled into a heaving car park and looked at what I felt was a pretty substantial waterfall tumbling down the cliffs. It has a walk way that runs behind the waters and as people come around the far end they look like they've stepped off a flume at a theme park.
Turns out this is Seljalandfoss - a stunning waterfall known for it's rainbows when the weather is nice. I didn't see any whilst I was there but I lost hours playing with filters and my new smart cable release and being told 'God Bless' by a Japanese photographer. It seemed to have become his customary goodbye as he wished it me every time he bumped into me and said goodbye. After I felt like I had tried every combination and explored the faults and limitations of my new release cable (yes, I'm a camera geek), I sat on the grass looking at the falls and had a few ham and cheese sandwiches. The car park continued to fill with people parking in more and more creative ways. Time to get a move on again.
A short stop for petrol and 30 minutes saw me arrive at Skoga. The town sit under Eyjafjallajokull and as I had come round the 1 you can see the tops of houses buried under ash from its last eruption that brought flights across Europe to a halt.
From the pictures I knew the campsite was right by the falls and I had emailed earlier in the day to check that it was officially open as we are early in the season. Lena replied. I should be fine. I text her on arrival and have yet to hear back about how and who I pay for the nights I stay. We shall see what happens.
Skogafoss makes Seljalandfoss look like a baby! It's huge. After shuffling the 4x4 around a few times and figuring out where I could and could not camp, I pitched as close to it as possible. I should note that as I'm sat here (on my first and final beer outside of HH) I am watching someone pitch closer, in the 'no camping' area, jealously! Still from sticking my head out the porch, I can see the falls and from where I am sat now I can hear their thundering into the plunge pool below. Behind their drop a chest of treasure is hidden and there have been historic attempts to recover it without success! Maybe tomorrow, eh?
It's getting late (and cold) so the tourists are thinning. I spent some time before settling down for a few beers figuring out where to shoot from and I might have a chance to go and take some before turning in. Today's final choice is a hard one and it's a close call between a burger in the restaurant behind me or more noodles (Hahaha!). My failure to find a supermarket today has its consequences! I'm tempted to hold off on the burger tonight and really enjoy it after a day of walking by the black sand beaches of Vik tomorrow!