Monday, July 10, 2017

Day 5 - Coastal Drive, Lighthouses, Villages, Blue Lagoon, Haunted Church, and a Prison

We are on the south east side of the island.  From Reykjavik we have dozens of options on day trips. We did mountain trails yesterday so today we opted for a coastal route.  Heading south out of Reykjavik we drove the highway for a bit before getting off the road and into some small towns.  The entire southeast coast is a lava flow-mile upon mile of ancient lave covered with healthy sage moss. Check out the volcano in the first photo. There were plenty of colorful houses in the towns of Gardur. At the very end of the peninsula we found a quaint, lonely lighthouse at the end of a pier and his brother nearby on land.  The attendant served coffee and pastries.  The birds in the water were very playful.  Every now and then we found a wonderful sculpture.

A pretty awesome home built into the cliff along side the harbor.

From Gardur we continued along the southern coast past the airport.  The lupines were amazing. Millions of plants in full bloom....EVERYWHERE.

Along the way we discovered the Blue Lagoon.  It is a natural aquamarine mineral lagoon.  Stunning blues and greens edged in white alkaline.  Part of the area has been developed into a high end spa, complete with shops, restaurants, and a very pricy soaking pool.  $65 USD to dip in the water.  We enjoyed the site, and although we were prepared for a day of dipping, opted for later in the day at a less crowed and touristy spot.  The tour maps promised many more natural options along the way.

Continuing along the coast the landscape was stunning with lava and wildflowers right up to the water's edge.  In Sudustrandaveour we discovered a very hold Lutheran church that reportedly is haunted by the "spirit of the sea."   We stopped by and wandered the grounds.  The church was very quaint except for the crystal chandeliers.  They were getting ready for an organ concert and we continued down the coast.

We came upon the fishing village of Eyrarbakki with restored buildings and great colors, some dating back to 1765.  This is also the home of Iceland's maximum security prison.  Certainly much less "maximum" that any in the USA.  We wondered just how "bad" you had to be to get into that place.

Driving windy two-lane roads at 30 mph takes up a lot of time and by 4PM we realized we'd been out for seven hours.  We headed back over a mountain pass and into town.

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