The South


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View from Ingólfshöfdi A large part of the Southern coast consists of plains, with a high cliff at the shore, like here at Ingólshöfdi. The farms lie all close to the mountains, a lesson learned in 1362, when the volcano under the Öraefajökull glacier erupted and floods from the glacier the lower lying farms were washed away.  
Sheep can be found all over Iceland, providing the people with wool for clothing (hand knitted sweaters are for sale everywhere) and flesh (usually the meal of the day is fish or lamb).  

Sheep

Sign

River crossing at Stöng

At the roads leading from the Ring Road you find signs like this, with a complete map with every farm and touristy site listed. At those smaller roads, you can find rivers which you have to cross through fords. Before crossing, do not only check if the river is not too deep, but also if you really have to be at the other side. At the picture above, we found out after some time the 'main' road stayed at the side of the river where we arrived first.
Not an art object, but the remains of the bridge over the Skeidar-river. The ring-road was only closed here in 1974, making the original U-road a ring-road. In 1996 the volcano just north of Grimsvotn erupted under the glacier. The ice melted very fast and broke through the glacier in only one day instead of the 'usual' 10-14 days. The flood carried about 10,000 m3 per second, breaking away the road and bridges over a distance of 30 kilometres.

Damaged bridge

Stone-men

East of Vik you have to cross the Mýrdalssandur, a sand-desert. With strong winds sandstorms are likely to occur, stripping the paint of your car. And the volcano Katla, lying under the glacier Mýrdalsjökull, is expected to erupt any time now, since it usually does every 70-odd years and hasn't erupted since 1918. The sandstorms and the to be expected flood are reason enough to built a stone-man to ask or thank for a safe journey.

Vik has a beautiful coastline, with several rocks. Dyrhólaey is the most Southern point of Iceland. You can make a boat trip here, sailing around the rocks and even through a natural formed portal. Or you can sit down having your lunch, like a lot of other tourists do here. 

Dyrhólaey

Hvolsvöllur is the centre of the old Viking-area. Most of the inhabitants didn't live near Reykjavik, but in the area between Selfoss and the Markarfljót. In Hvolsvöllur there is a museum about the Vikings, following Njals Saga. This is quite a complicated story, with a lot of men and women acting in it, and explaining what happens takes quite a long time. 

The museum is interesting as well as you don't know the story (like us), because it shows a lot of the clothing and weapons used by the Vikings, as well of the world as they knew it. The map above shows a picture of it. The small islands in the west are America, which is connected with Africa in the south.
Everywhere to be seen, and not only in the South, is this plant, cotton-grass. It grows in wet places, so make sure you have watertight shoes or a telephoto lens when you make a picture like this.


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