An Unattractive Glacier
Now that we've headed east along the southern coast of Iceland, our bitter guidebook is getting snide again.
Our national park hotel, Hotel Skaftafell?
"...an ordinary, modern affair on the highway. Rooms here are overly pink and flowery with cheap wooden panels and flooring; bizarrely for such a prime location they don't have views of the glacier."
The giant glacier looming over us, Vatnajokull?
"... streaked with mud and grit and surprisingly unattractive."
It is -- indeed -- a little odd that the hotel's restaurant windows overlook the highway rather than the glacier and mountains. But why carp about the decor?And how can you find a glacier unattractive? They are mountains made of ice, more grand than clean.
The hotel is too pretty and the glacier is too rough. Goldilocks's guide.
The great glacier's grandeur was apparent constantly in the Skaftafell area. Every farm, every road, every hill peeks out from under the looming white ice which dominates the horizon. When the weather changed from cloudy to clear, Vatnajokull gradually revealed itself, its extent ultimately astounding, higher than the tall mountains, beyond where the birds soared.
It was like being a crumb in the crust of a huge lemon-merengue pie.
This morning we took the bus to Jokulsarlon, a lagoon between the glacier and the sea. Pieces of the glacier break off in the form of blue icebergs which float slowly through the lagoon to the open sea. Seals swim and play around them. It's a surreal dream come to life, a picture that constantly changes before your eyes.
Tonight we'll be in Reykjavik again, and tomorrow back to Santa Cruz. I wish we were staying another couple of weeks. The bitter guide was giving me second thoughts before we got here but it's just the auhor's take-no-prisoners style, I guess. If you look closely, you'll read that they visited every little town and tried most of the hiking trails. They reviewed the island thoroughly and for details the guide is accurate. You just have to read past the attitude. Perhaps they loved Iceland as much as we did.