For our first full day in Iceland, we decided to see some waterfalls and go hiking, and I think that's pretty much the best and most beautiful thing to do in Iceland. There must literally be thousands of waterfalls in this country, of all sizes and shapes, each one more beautiful than the last. It's a feast for the eyes and the soul.
There's one major waterfall just ten minutes from where we're staying, so we decided to start there.
This is Hraunfossar, which means "lava waterfall", because it comes down off a lava field.
You can drive right up to it, and it's spectacular, although I should really be saving that adjective for later waterfalls. There are so many places in Iceland that would be major tourist attractions in any other country, but here are just another pretty place like those around every other corner.
Another waterfall, Barnafoss, is located just up the river. It's called the children's waterfall, after a sad story of a mother who went to church on Christmas Eve, leaving the children home. At the time, there was a natural bridge over the waterfall. When she came home, the children were gone, and their footsteps led up to the bridge. The grief stricken mother had the bridge destroyed.
This guy was painting the scene, which I think anyone with artistic talent would want to do.
There's a trailhead near the waterfalls, so we headed up that way, and it soon opened up on open fields like this.
I love the textures of Iceland. There's lots of moss and lichen, and these soft, hummocky plants that are amazingly springy to touch, and are probably the reason the sheep and horses are always lying cosily on the ground. As well as, of course, these delicate pink wildflowers.
The sheep have a lot of personality here. They run wild all year, and seem to suffer the human intrusion on their territory with barely concealed disdain. They stare balefully from their comfortable perches, or saunter off with their wool swinging back and forth like fancy fur coats.
The trail continued beyond this river, and luckily we didn't end up with wet feet.
The road goes ever on and on, and if you're in Iceland, it invariably leads to somewhere magical.
In our case it was this sheltered little valley between cliffs where we may or may have gotten carried away with the romance of it all and been a bit indecent, although the birds and sheep didn't seem to mind.
As the grand finale to our month of no kids, Iceland is looking pretty amazing.