A big surprise upon waking up... While vedur.is had announced a cloudy sky in the Landmannalaugar region the day before, today the site was forecasting blazing sunshing!
Landmannalaugar is an absolutely magical place that we never had good luck with: every time we wanted to go there, we had a storm or weather so bad we couldn't fully enjoy the walks there. We left quite early in the morning, around 8:45AM from Reykjavík to enjoy a picnic on site after driving all the way in the morning.
After stopping at Selfoss to stock up on groceries for the midday picnic, the trunk of the car packed with Skinka, Skyrr, and other smoked mutton slices in the tiny trunk of Jimny, we took Road 32 then 26 to the North.
This year, we decided to take the 208 from the North to join Landmannalaugar, while in 2006, we had taken the superb F225 with its stunning fords. Next time we'll take the F225 again, the 208 is certainly much less bumpy and devoid of fords, but the F225 is just that much more amazing to see.
Around noon, we arrived near Lake Frostastaðavatn and Suðurnámur where we stopped to take some photos. The place was magical and the reflections of the mountains on the lake were a sight to behold.
A few minutes later we reached the Landmannalaugar car park where we parked just before the ford crossing. Upon opening the doors of Jimny, we were quite literally invaded by a cloud of gnats... An impressive but unpleasant experience.
The sun was breaking through the thinning clouds so we left for a few hours of walking through Graenagil. The colors were magnificent, every contrast even more pronounced with the sun.
This day would have been perfect without the dramatic technical issue... As we were approaching Breinistensalda, I took out my camera again to shoot one of the splendid mountains but it wouldn't work. “Lens Communication Error.”
The worst. After 30 minutes of incessant lens cleaning (Canon 17-85 IS USM) it became obvious the problem was the lens itself, and I would have to finish a good part of the stay with my remaining zoom (85-300). No more “wide-angle” in Iceland where you need it most! Too bad.
When I told you my travels in Iceland were cursed... Luckily the lens still worked a bit from time to time (1 out of every 15 shots approximately). We ended the tour with lots of splendid panoramas (though not all of them made it onto the memory card) and left Landmannalaugar at 5 pm.
That evening we slept near Geysir in a guesthouse, so there was some hours of driving ahead. The guesthouse had a “hotpot” in which we relaxed for a good part of the evening, despite the light rain that was starting to fall.
Aside the glitch with my lens, the day was just sensational. To enjoy all the walks in the region I think you need at least two days because the place is huge and every site is just more beautiful than the last, you never want to stop.