After a very restful night we woke up bright and early again to have a nice hotel breakfast and set out on the road to our ICE CAVE TOUR!!!! The hotel breakfast was fine, everything you would expect a complimentary 3 star hotel breakfast to be. Bellies full we packed up the car and headed to the meeting point of the tour. The night before I did get an email from the tour company saying there was a chance the tour would get cancelled due to weather. We had the option to email back asking for the full refund or take the chance the tour would still go on and meet up at the designated location as planned. I knew this might happen but seeing as it had been snowing the last two days I figured everything would be fine and we would still be able to go. Even if the tour was canceled the other two things we had planned for the day we right next to the meeting point so we needed to head that way anyway, so off we went.
Well…I bet from the title of this post you can guess what happened. The tour was canceled. Friends, I have known disappointment in my life but this one…this one was rough. I had been research this for months. Iceland has the most beautiful ice caves in the world, unparalleled in fact. This was one of my three things I wanted to make sure we saw (the other two we haven’t gotten to yet). It was a tough blow knowing we would probably never be in Iceland again. I cant be upset with the tour company though, the guide was very friendly and showed us a video of the entrance to the cave…that was completely flooded. You would drown and or freeze to death if you went in the cave. Look, I will do a lot of things for adventure but freeze to death is not one of them. It was so disappointing but the tour company was so nice about everything. They offered to give us our money back plus a discount on a glacier hike if we would prefer that. Since we just did a glacier hike yesterday we decided to take the refund and salvage the day. Lucky for me I have a husband who is totally go with the flow and doesnt get upset by much. He was ready for the new adventure as soon as we got confirmation there was no way we could go to the cave. Below is a photo from their website, you can see why I was upset!
**A quick note about the tour company Guide to Iceland (link here). While we didn’t get to use their services I would still 100% recommend them to anyone looking for a tour on Vatnajokull. They were extremely helpful, very responsive to the facebook messages I sent and more than happy to try and accommodate us. If we ever go back to Iceland I will 100% use them and this tour.
First, now that the sun was up at 9:45am, we headed over to the glacier beach. Yes it was freezing outside, but it was so tranquil. There was no one around but us, the beach, and giant glacier pieces. It was nice to just take that moment to let go of the disappointment (as much as I could, it was really hard). Then we drove across the street to the diamond beach. I researched a lot of things to do in Iceland and I couldn’t quite remember why I picked this place until we walked out to the beach. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe the beach. Glacier pieces big and small were all over the black sand. Unfortunately by this time the tour buses had arrived and we were dodging eager tourists left and right. We walked a ways down the beach and found a quiet spot to watch the waves crash over the glacier pieces. It was wonderful. The sun was slightly peaking through the clouds, it was cold but nothing we couldn’t handle. Peace, pure peace.
I found a nice spot to try and take a cool picture of the waves crashing over a glacier piece Little Mermaid style…you know the scene…part of your world…the glacier piece I found was perfect for this. I had a primo spot! Then I got a little understanding of why people hate American tourists. I had my spot and had been standing there for maybe 5-10 minutes…patiently waiting, camera pointed at the glacier, waiting for that wave crashing magic. Then this RUDE old man, walks over, stands about 5 feet RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and sets up his tri-pod. Sure you can make the claim he didn’t see me, but I said something to him and he didn’t move. Sure you can say “Well Rachael, maybe he doesn’t speak English”…until he spoke to his other photographer friend a few feet away IN PERFECT FREAKING ENGLISH. I couldn’t believe how rude he was. If he had stood 3 feet to the left I would have gotten my perfect shot (because of course the perfect giant wave I had been waiting for came crashing down not 1 minute after he set up) and he could have as well as we would all be happy. Rude I tell you. Granted I was already hot from the tour being canceled but still, why did he have to set up RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. The beach is huge…whatever, I’m over it. Deep breath, its just a picture 🙂
After we walked around the beach a little and were getting a little too cold for comfort we decided to head back to the Vik beach we missed yesterday. There was also a nice little lunch spot where I had a decent fish and chips. Post lunch we headed down to the beach and were given a pretty serious warning. DO NOT walk close to the waves. There are sneaky waves that will come up and sweep tourists away to sea. What they mean by sneaky waves is, 9 out of 10 waves will be normal and only come half way up the sand. That 1 in 10 though, will be so strong and so powerful it will come yards past where you think you are safe. The waves are so strong they will carry you out to sea and there is nothing to be done. It was pretty scary hearing that, but when we got to the beach we could clearly see where the water would come up to and stayed a nice distance back from there.
Again, the beach is crowded because its a famous black sand beach. We took a few photos, but really how much time can you spend looking at sand. We headed over to a cliff that was a popular spot for puffins in the summertime and had a cute lighthouse. Y’all…we almost fell off the cliff here it was so windy!!! I’m not even joking I had to stop several times and hold on to the flimsy railing to not fall over. It was intense but hilarious all at the same time. I tried my best to take non-blury photos but it was a challenge! It was beautiful though, felt like it was straight out of a movie to be sure.
After almost flying off the cliff we decided to make our way to the hotel which was about 2 hours away. We took our time driving there and stopped as often as we wanted to take photos of the landscape. Now that we had more time to drive during the day it was beautiful to see all the mountains now covered in snow. Of course we also stopped for some Icelandic ponies in a snow covered pasture, because I am now obsessed with these adorable creatures.
On our way to the hotel we decided to stop at the Geyser. This was also on our list of locations to see but the first night when we were going to stop by it was too dark and we got in too late to see it. It was still dark when we arrived but we decided to try and check the geyser out anyway. Guys…going to see a hole in the ground that might shoot up water is LAME. I wasn’t a fan and its really a waste of time seeing as the impressive geyser rarely goes off (like old faithful but less impressive). We thought about going to Gulfoss today, a waterfall, but it was much too dark in the area and we headed to the hotel.
By about 7:30pm we made it to the hotel, Frost and Fire. It was a nice hotel but I thought this was going to be in the darkness like all the other hotels. Nope, it was in a city surrounded by lights. I was not happy, but I chose the hotel so I can only be mad at myself lol. I chose this hotel based on the recommendation of one of my favorite bloggers Hand Luggage Only. They loved this hotel, it was in my budget, and it was close to where we needed to be the next day. Again, I also thought it was going to be dark so it ended up not checking that box but the room was amazing, and I would stay here again for the comfort it provided. Plus, we had this gorgeous river view from our room! You can even see the snow coming down in the photo, just amazing!
We checked in and had another expensive but delicious meal. Our server though, was the standout of the night. He was so friendly, gave us great recommendations and helped us figure out the northern lights. He told us it probably wasn’t going to happen tonight but if we wanted to take a drive he told us an area that might work out. It had started snowing at this point but I wanted to try and see the Northern Lights so after dinner we took about a 30 minute drive and parked in a dark spot for a while. Nothing happened, the snow was getting heavier and we decided for our safety to head back to the hotel. On the way back as we headed through the town we just couldn’t resist. We stopped and took some picture of the sleepy town covered in a fresh blanket of snow. It was beautiful, romantic, and made my winter loving heart happy.
Upset about the ice cave tour and the northern lights I stayed up until 3am hatching a plan (because sleep is hard when your mind is racing). In the morning I would message the tour company and see if they thought in 2 days the cave would be water free and we could reschedule. I was also going to ask the Blue Lagoon to move our dates (you have to reserve those tickets in advance) to tomorrow so we can see the ice caves if possible. I had a plan dang it and it was going to work!! Stay tuned for the next post to see how it all worked out!!! In the meantime, here is a sneak peak at our day.
CHIME IN!!! How do you deal with disappointment? Would you tour an ice cave? Would you rather drive in rain or snow?