June 18:

Rauðasandur Beach

Our campground was right on the coast. The orange sand, blue skies and glistening water were breathtaking! We went on a morning walk on the beach when we woke up. It was warmer in the morning, about 12 degrees Celsius. Some of the warmest weather we have experienced so far in Iceland!

The locals tell us that this is an unusually cold summer, and things are expected to warm up in the next few weeks. But we have also heard (and seen) that the weather can change on a dime. In some places in Iceland, you can experience all four seasons in one day. We’ve heard quite a few people say that the worst job in Iceland is to be a meteorologist!

At this campground, they had a wonderful community center with a free clothes washer, stove top, and a cupboard full of dishes and silverware for travelers to share. Before we set off, we cooked up some oatmeal and brown sugar and ate it in an actual bowl with warm coffee in an actual mug.

Oatmeal and coffee on the finest of fine china!

On the road again

Our little camper van driving through the countryside courtesy of Graham’s drone!

Today was filled with driving! Lots of beautiful sights were seen as we drove. The Westfjords are some of the most beautiful parts of the island. The purple flowers continue to be some of our favorite sights to see as we drive!

A quick side note and some interesting facts that we learned about these flowers after further research. The purple flowers are called Alaskan Lupine. As you can tell from the name, they aren’t actually native to Iceland. Seeds were brought over in a suitcase in 1945 to help revitalize the land after several hundred years of logging and farming. The Alaskan Lupine helps take nitrogen from the air and pump it into the soil – helping farmers grow future crops, while also preventing erosion (which is a big problem here). The flowers were kept only to the Reykjavik capital region until 1976 when they were released to the rest of Iceland. Fast forward to today, and Alaskan Lupine now covers about 0.4% of Iceland’s land surface and it continues to grow exponentially. One estimate puts this flower at over 10% coverage of the island by 2085.

Everybody in Iceland has an opinion about these flowers. Seriously. You can walk up to anybody who lives here and ask, and they will inevitably fall into one of two schools of thought: Either they love the flowers – the way they look, the benefits they provide to the soil. Or – they loathe how invasive the flowers are in completely taking over the island, killing off some of the native flora. Who knew flowers could cause such a ruckus?

If you’re as interested in this drama as we are – we highly recommend some further reading on this. The broader story is quite fascinating and involves Neil Armstrong and a NASA training facility in the center of the island, now completely swallowed up in purple flowers. Check out this article: https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/why-iceland-is-turning-purple/

Lunch Stop

After eating a lot of dried foods, it was so nice to pull into a restaurant/hotel and have a fresh meal! Our bodies were in much need of this!

Char fish (same family as salmon) and a cheeseburger!

Camping Þorisstaðir

This was not our original desired campground. The one we originally had planned to stay at was all full due to a local little league soccer team playing. A lot of local Icelanders (supportive grandparents and relatives of the kids playing) were camping in this town for the tournament this weekend. But we were able to find another spot close to stay at.

On the way, we found a beautiful lighthouse right next to the ocean. There are so many cool lighthouses here!

Lighthouse in the city of Akranes

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