Iceland: Vík

After our brief stop at Eyjafjallajökull, we continued on to the southern-most town in Iceland:  Vik (Vík í mýrdal).  We approached through lush farm fields and sweeping slopes that serve as pasture for those hardy little Icelandic sheep.  Everywhere are mesa-like mountains, often impossibly green.

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As we approached the town, we saw the Reynisdrangar: a set of sea stacks at the foot of Reynisfjall.

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We drove through the town, heading straight for the beach.  We had been looking forward to seeing the famous black basalt beaches, with volcanic sand.  Past a veritable sea of beautiful purple lupines…

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…we came upon the sand.  It was quite a sight, and our photos do not do it justice.  It truly is black.  And soft.  And WARM!

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We strolled along and played on the beach for a while.  It was quite windy, and not terribly warm, and we we got a lot of sand in our eyes and shoes.  Nevertheless, we had a great time wandering on that beach.  From the shore, we had wonderful views of the mountains surrounding the town…

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…and of the town itself.  There is a gorgeous little church perched up on a hill above the town.  Since Vík is in the floodplain of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which sits atop Katla, an active volcano, the townspeople regularly hold safety drills.  When Katla next erupts (many think it is overdue for eruption), it is believed that the church is the only safe point in the village, due to glacial melt that will likely flood the town.

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Legend says that the Reynisdrangar sea stacks were actually trolls trying to carry a ship to land during the night.  When they got caught out at sunrise, they turned to stone.

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I really wish that we had taken our shoes and socks off.  The basalt sand was so warm from the sun despite the chill in the air. It would have felt soooooooo good!  Next time…

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After our play on the windy beach, the kids did the “I have sand in my shoes…and trousers…and my underpants!” dance.

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