Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Skógar, Seljavallalaug

Photos: (1) The waterfall Sógafoss; (2) View from along the trail at Skógafoss; (3-5) The old swimming pool Seljavallalaug, once in a green lush valley, now blackened by the ash of two volcanic eruptions

Morning coffee with Sigrún. Light rain, not much wind. It’s nice to be inside and just look out the window at the ocean. My friend Katja arrives at 10:30 and we make a big breakfast before heading out for the day. Katja wants to hike along Skógafoss, and I love doing anything in this area so that’s fine with me. After the pleasant hike, we stop for coffee in the museum café and then head off for a swim to Seljavallalaug. It’s raining quite hard, so the perfect thing to do is swim. The old pool at Seljavallalaug is only reachable on foot after a 15-minute walk. It’s nestled deep in a valley that was heavily covered with ash from the last two volcanoes. A friend reported that the ash was removed from the pool just a few days ago. The whole valley is black with ash and the changing house this year is quite damaged and run down. It used to be kept in good shape, but the damage from two volcanoes in just a short period of time is taking its toll. The route up the mountain to the pool is also blocked, and now leads entirely along the river. A few people come and go at the pool but it’s far from crowded. A couple of Icelandic girls are particularly chatty and pleasant. The water is warm and relaxing and the only problem is getting out again and drying off. Brrrrr.

In the evening we camp at the campsite in Vík. This is a bit unusual for me since I usually stay in this area at Sigrún’s so I’m curious to see what the campsite is like. Unfortunately I have to complain about the facilities. Despite a girl working in the office most of the day, for some reason all the toilet stalls except one is locked and there is no toilet paper. The weather is dry as we make dinner but the rain starts coming at 9:30 and I crawl into my sleeping bag.