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Campervan Adventures in Iceland: Day 3 - Stokksnes, Diamond Beach & Jökulsárlón

We woke up on day three to lots of clouds. This was from the water at Höfn where we spied to see what we could see



This area was so beautiful and one of my favorite days of the trip!



We spent the morning at Stokksnes where you can see Vestrahorn. Even though the top of the mountain was in clouds we both loved it! We spent 4-5 hours total here which was really nice. I was glad we had so much time and didn't have to rush. Lots of time to just sit and enjoy!




The first stop was the Viking village on the left of the photo. This was made for a movie that was never made and they just left it there (so not historical). And yes there will be a billion photos of these mountains!









There were lots of horses roaming around by the village






Then we went a bit further down the road to the beach with black sand dunes!

It was really cold and windy here but with all our layers we were toasty (I really had all of my layers on! Again I was so glad I had the snow pants as they kept me nice and warm! And all the base layers/jackets/hats/balaclava/gloves that actually kept my fingers warm).








Having a snack on the beach



These sand dunes were really fun to wander around in



Then off to spy on the area around the radar station that was there



We had gotten a map of the area when we paid to come in (you have to pay at the Viking Cafe before going through the gate and driving down the road) which showed seals at this spot and I was pretty excited because I love fat seals, but also trying not to be too disappointed if they were not there. Most times when traveling and a map shows an animal in a spot they are not always there, but in Iceland it was nice because they were always where the map indicated! You can't really tell in the photo above as they are on the little rocky area in the background in the middle, and it was too far away for our iPhone photos, but they were there! 

We did bring our binoculars with us and tried to take a photo of them through the binoculars

And the birds. So many fun birds in Iceland!

And fancy ducks!







The seals would sometimes swim around a bit and then just pop their head up and bob there (seal is on the bottom right of the photo!)




The radar station & lighthouse from the seal spot

This area had a lot of rocky coastline to wander down











And lots of fun little plants. All the plants were so small!


After exploring we headed back towards the car stopping at the lighthouse


And radar station



First European Golden Plover sighting - when facing you the black parts made them look like they were angry and would cut you if you came across them in a dark alley. I loved them!

Once we got back to the car we ate some lunch then spied on the beach one more time before we headed out

Our car in the dunes!



On the gravel road back to one - this road was fine to drive down (some of the gravel roads were...not the best) and well worth it



First views of glaciers!


All the glaciers!

This is where we took the photo before this one, though we didn't wander out to the glacier as we scheduled time another day for glacier fun








Our next stop was Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón which I LOVED! The glacier lagoon was definitely my favorite stop of the trip! I could have sat there all day! Lots of Common Eiders which were so funny. They make noises that remind me of the aliens in the machine in Toy Story. Like oooooo....and they are all enthralled in the same thing.  

We parked on the east side of the outlet since that was first the way we were coming and were going to spy on the beach, but there were no ice pieces on this side so the lagoon was first!

Now I was looking through my photos and thought these don't look real. The color is just...it doesn't look real. I thought did I edit the photos to make them look different? I normally don't unless it is to crop it or rotate it, but I thought I must have...only when I looked to change it back there was no editing done! This was just the color of the ice and water and one of the reasons I loved this stop so much! The colors were incredible! Prepare for all the iceberg photos!

This big iceberg was stuck there at the mouth of the outlet with lots of birds flying around


















A common Redpoll just hanging out on the rocks

The ice was so blue and so much fun! These photos above were all from the east side of the lagoon, where the parking lot is for the lagoon. We had parked on the other side of the road by the beach and walked over under the bridge

Afterwards we drove to the west side parking lot to explore the beach and see the icebergs that had washed up and...

It was a bit disappointing. Lots of tiny pieces of ice and none that were really clear...

They all looked like they were cracked into a billion tiny pieces that were still holding together




It was nice, just not as nice as I had expected, though this is really a spot where how fun it is really depends on what it is like at the time you are here. We ended up coming back the next day and it was so much more fun! I enjoyed it so much more 24 hours later because there were more, larger ice pieces and it was just a lot cooler. 


Great Skua hanging out

After the beach we decided to check out the lagoon from this side as well and had a long break sitting and watching the ice. 





We were the only people on this side which was nice as you could just enjoy the nature. There were a couple of seals swimming around in the water and it was fun watching the ice break into pieces. It was also fun watching the pieces float down the outlet and out to sea!

Here on the right is that big piece that was stuck when we first got here on the other side - while we were sitting there most of it fell off into the water! Really if you came back here again and again it would never be the same - the ice moves around and breaks apart too often which is fun


Then it was off to Skaftafell campground for the night. 


It was a really beautiful campground and the clouds started clearing up a bit! Though the sun was going down later and later and soon would set way after our bedtime. 

This was such a wonderful day. I loved wandering around Stokksnes and the spooky clouds there, the glacier lagoon was incredible, the drive between the two was so beautiful. I kept being surprised by the colors of Iceland. The water, the rocks, the mountains, all of it was so much more colorful than I expected, and not colors you normally find in nature (at least not the places we have been). Total walk for the day was 14.1km

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