Iceland – Meeting on Another Planet XVIII
26. 8. 2013
Laufskálavarda, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Kirkjugólf, Systrafoss
Our first stop is at the Laufskálavarda lava field. Basically, it is bank full of small statues. Tourists from all around the world build there stone statues. They believe they would return there in the future and this would help theme to have safe journey acros the island. This place is magical, colorful, and has its own atmosphere. I have seen similar statues on my journeys acros the world. As I had learned, stone statues is the oldest form of tourist markings. Tourists create these markings by themselves to help others navigate. According to the tradition, everyone passing by a small stone man should put another stone on the top, or more stone to informe people who would come after him that the road is the right one.
In the past, Laufskálavarda saw a huge farm that was destroyed in the year 894 because of the first eruption of Katla volcano. Noble house with 24 doors that used to be there completely perished. Only a field of small stone statues is what is left of it.
We continue to gorgeous gorge of Fjaðrárgljúfur. Originally, we planned to reach its edge, however our “ordinary bus” won’t let us. We don’t have large enough wheels and firm chassis. Our Karosa has no chance to get there. Perhaps we would get there but certainly we wouldn’t get back. We stop in the middle of the road and set off to the gorge itself. We have only 70 minutes to see it. Which is not really much. Nature is beautiful, hills covered with grass. The time limit restricted me from reaching the very edge where the water current really is getting faster and in the waterfall gets down to a lake. I have heard that the waterfall is really gorgeous. The return is really quick. For me there is, however, a short break. I climb up pretty high hill which offers magnificent vista to the landscape.
We are boarding the bus once again. Now we go to the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Near it is Systrafoss waterfall. The town itself, the name of which is really hard to pronounce, is shortened to Klaustur. It is set on steep mountain slope along the Skaftá river. The top of the waterfall we want to get to, has two branches (to make our hike even tougher). I find out only on the top. Our cook decided to follow the waterfall stream. So we climb among bushes, and elbow our way through brushwood, to have better experience of the climb.
Finally, I am on the top. Before me, there is beautiful flat land promising great hike in nice weather. Unfortunately, I receive information that we are about to start difficult trek that would take us couple of hours. We should reach local natural sight of - Kirkjugólf - or "Church floor ". Couple of us go back to the bus. Others walk about one hour on the flat land when they reach the basalt tiles, the said attraction. We move to the very same place by bus. For a long time, locals supposed that there used to be a church and the tilt was laid down in the time of its construction. Only later it was found out that the place emerged without humans getting involved in the process at all. Today it is protected natural landmark.
As we have spared a lot of time , we manage to see local thermal spa. After a bath, we go on to the camp of Skaftafell, the place we stay overnight today. It is 70 km away, and we will sleep only 3 km from the edge of the glacier. Our last stop, however, is the waterfall of Foss á Síðu which is only 10 km away. It is not possible to reach the waterfall itself, barriers prevent us. At the designated place, we can only enjoy the strams of water falling down.
In our next article, we will look at the place full of eruptions and to a kingdom of ice.
Text and photo: Magdaléna Radostová
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