A funny story about this leg of our trip... When booking a hotel to stay near Vik on our third night we looked on booking.com for places that were in or on the way there. We were planning to spend some time at the beaches and had a glacier hike the next day. As we neared Vik and decided to call our hotel to make sure we were on track and ok to check in late (all the hotels and guesthouses we stayed at happily accommodated our late arrivals every night). Long story short, the hotel owner told us that in fact Vestmannaeyjar was an island and we would need to take a 45 minute ferry ride to get there. The ferry dock? Oh, we had passed that about an hour ago and the last ferry was leaving at 10pm. It was 8:30pm, no big deal. lol. We scurried back and made on time, thankfully. Honestly, I was not all that pleased that we hadn't taken the time to look into this further (it was my fault). We were a little disappointed that getting back to land the next day would cut into our time at the beach. Wrong...
As we approached the string of small islands around 11pm (still light out of course) we were so pleasantly surprised by rock formation, beautiful scenery, tons of puffins, and the cutest little fishing town (Iceland does not disappoint you guys, not in any way). Our kind hotel owner picked us up totally unexpectedly. He must have felt bad that we were clueless about the location and since we arrived so late it didn't leave us much time to explore so he personally drove us around the perimeter of the island. He took us to some beautiful spots and with so much pride, explained the history of his little island to us. There are only about 4,000 people who live on the largest island. The others are uninhabited but some have small hunting cabins (like our guides family had... as in one family owned cabin per island, ha). Vestmannaeyjar has many active volcanoes above and below sea level, when a huge eruption occurred in the 70's much of the island was damaged and people were evacuated. It was crazy to see the lava, the "new" part of the island, solely built up from this eruption (as were all of the smaller islands from various volcanic eruptions). Also, these photos were taken from about 11pm-12:30am. Craziness. After trying to find us food, then carrying our giant suitcases up four flights of stairs, our guide excused himself for bed and was back up at 6am making a delicious breakfast. What began as frustration and nervousness ended up being a completely amazing experience. We were so thankful for his kindness and willingness to accommodate us. We boarded the ferry in the morning only to wish we had more time there!
I have a few more posts on Iceland to share then I plan to do a complete itinerary roundup. Hope you all are enjoying the photos. They are taking me back and making me so happy to sort through.