“Kemst þó hægt fari”

Because “I hate reading about Vikings and seeing their beautiful landscapes” has been said by no one, ever, here are some pictures from my final day in Iceland.

Dramatic view from the road
Dramatic view from the road on the way over to Seljalandsfoss

I dropped ST at the airport for an earlier flight than mine but had a few extra hours in country.  I decided to see the waterfall you can walk behind, Seljalandsfoss.  But to get from Keflavik back to Rt 1, you either have to go up to Reykjavik again or you can take a shortcut through Rt. 417 that drops you out on Rt 1 and saves you about 30 km of driving.  Anyone who knows me knows I picked the shortcut. It was both glorious and terribly ill-advised. It turns out Rt 417 is unpaved — so you hop off Rt 41 at the City of Elves (I am not making this up – it’s just north of the City of Vikings) to pick up 417.  Signs in Iceland have the road to which you’re eventually connecting highlighted with dotted lines instead of solid, which is not as helpful as you’d think. They don’t tell you how far away said connection is or its condition. Anyway, I toodle along on the connector road and turn onto 417 to discover it is volcanic-rock gravel.  Funny things about volcanic rock: it’s crazy sharp and strange to drive on. And after an unfortunate flat tire in a rental car in Scotland last year, you can safely call me gun-shy about getting another one in a foreign land.  But, life is very short. So, rationalizing the gravel might be temporary (spoiler: it wasn’t), I proceeded.  The scenery on 417 was amazing — a little like I imagine driving on the moon would be, but surrounded by beautiful, bright-green-moss-covered hills and mountains.

One shot of the landscapes along the shortcut.
One shot of the landscapes along the shortcut.
More landscape along the shortcut route
And it was isolated — no buildings or humans anywhere for miles. I successfully completed the route without a flat tire, albeit going an embarrassing 30 KPH.  So the shortcut saved me miles but not time.

Once back on pavement, I hot-footed it out to the waterfall site, which was better than I expected. I climbed the walkway up to and behind the waterfall.

View from behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall
View from behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall
Seljalandsfoss waterfall from the front
Seljalandsfoss waterfall from the front

There were tons of backpackers out there, and I was amazed to see how many hitchhike all over Iceland. I know it’s a safe country, guys, but come on.

I then retraced my steps back to the airport, avoiding the shortcut for my own sense of calm. I was rewarded with a lovely rainbow as I was leaving the waterfall.

Rainbow on the way back to the airport
Rainbow on the way back to the airport

It’s a good thing I had some extra time getting back to the airport though because dropping off a rental car in Keflavik was very confusing and took longer than I expected.

Title quote: Icelandic proverb, translation: You will reach your destination even though you travel slowly. Source: Íslands, Landsbókasafn (1980). Árbók. Bókasafnið. p. 71. ISBN 9979911107 via Wikiquote 

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