There are some places, even touristy ones, that I never get tired of visiting. Areas along the South Coast of Iceland, time and time again make me smile. This time, we stopped at new places with Sola as well as returned to ones like ‘Diamond Beach’, Jokulsarlon Glacier, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Taking Edna to these locations were ‘must-do’s’ in order to give her the trip of a lifetime that I was seeking.
Properly called Breiðamerkursandur, but usually deemed “Diamond Beach” this beach is next to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon where icebergs flow out of the lagoon and into the Atlantic Ocean. When the tide comes back in, crystal clear and frosty chunks of melted icebergs are thrown onto the beach. As the crystal clear chunks of ice sparkle on the beach, they could be ‘diamonds’ in the sand. It can be a very pretty sight. When Cathy and I visited in 2021, the tide was coming in so the ‘diamonds’ were rolling up on the beach. With Edna, the tide was going out, so I was able to watch the icebergs going out to sea. What was already on the beach was from earlier in the day when the tide had come in.
The Glacier itself is pretty spectacular and we enjoyed watching the icebergs slowly bob their way towards the ocean.
Reynisfjara, also called Black Sand Beach is probably one of my favorite stops on the South Coast tour. The beach is beautiful, the volcanic ‘trolls’ are fun to talk about the myths of Iceland, and the basalt columns are stunning. But this trip, I get the best perk ever — PUFFINS! Puffins have eluded me on my other trips to Iceland and it was with great delight that Edna and I see hundreds of puffins nesting, flying, swooping — Amazing. Exciting! And one of the things I really wanted to experience.
I love puffins! Iceland is home to more than 60% of the world’s puffins. The island of Heimaey, where our family is from, has between 8-10 million birds each year and yet I have missed seeing them when visiting due to the time of year. Puffins only lay one egg per year and build their nests in grassy areas, often on rocky cliffs. With their brightly colored beaks and bright orange legs, they literally look like the are glowing when the sun hits them just right. They are so cute and unique.
After a long day to the south coast, we returned for dinner at Kol. It was crowded and I was glad that we had reservations. We watched a lot of people get turned away due to not enough room.
The server loved to discover Edna was 83 and travelling for the first time. He loved it even more when he found out we had Icelandic history. It was pouring rain by the time we went to leave and though it wasn’t a long walk to the hotel, he insisted she take a taxi. He had a hard time finding us a ride, so he resorted to two phones until a ride pulled up. Then he escorted Edna out to the car telling her how amazing it was she came to Iceland. It was a lot of fun that night!