Day 4: heading back south

Day 4 route map
Driving time: 2 hours
Day 4, stop 1: Glanni waterfall
We woke up to a blanket of snow, and headed straight to Glanni waterfall.

Said to be a haven for elves and trolls, this waterfall on the Norðurá River had the most amazingly coloured water I'd seen - a deep blue-green, almost teal colour.

GPS POINTS N64° 45' 13.350" W21° 32' 46.761
Day 4, stop 2: Paradisarlaut Hollow
The short walk through the forest from Glanni waterfall to this oasis of calm was truly magical.

All the trees were dusted in a layer of snow an inch deep, and - as always - there was no one else around. No footsteps in the snow, no noise, nothing. Just nature.

'Paradisarlaut Hollow' means 'Paradise Hollow', and although it may sound like the title of a low-budget 90s American horror remake, it couldn't be further from the truth.

The secluded pond is set in the middle of a mossy lava field (not that we could see, given all the snow) - and the water trickles down from under the lava into the pool.

It was a little tricky to find, as there were no clear signs.

And just to spice things up a little, there was also no marked road, so with the heavy snowfall it was unclear as to whether or not we were driving on a snowbank or a road...a bit hairy!


Day 4, stop 3: Barnafoss waterfall
Like Midlina on day one of the trip, this location has a somewhat macabre folk tale associated with it.

Barnafoss means 'children's waterfall'. Nothing depressing about that, right? Wrong. There's an old story that's meant to explain the disappearance of a stone arch that bridged the river.

The story goes that on Christmas day, a family went to attend mass, apart from two children, who stayed at home. When the family returned, the children had vanished - and their tracks led to the river. The children had fallen off the stone arch and drowned. Their mother then tore down the arch to prevent another accident from occurring.

Cheery stuff - but a beautiful river and waterfall. There are three different viewing points you can admire the view from.

GPS POINTS: N64° 42' 5.569" W20° 58' 21.630"
Day 4, stop 4: the Icelandic goat centre
Anyone who knows me knows that I love goats - so a visit to the Icelandic goat centre was something I was very excited about.

Johanna, the farm's owner, kindly let us look round the farm even though it was officially closed for the winter.

In fact, she did far more than just let us look around: she gave us a personal tour of the farm, an introduction to the ancient breed and its history, and introduced us to dozens of her goats - all of which she knew by name, and all of which had a story. We were introduced to the resident 'celebrities' - two goats who had a cameo in Game of Thrones - as well as a sheep that was brought up as a goat.

The Icelandic goat was facing extinction for years, until Johanna stepped in. At one point, there were just 90 Icelandic goats worldwide.

Johanna's work has played an enormous part in getting the species back on its hooves. She bought a small number of these goats several years ago, and is now intent on breeding them for health on her farm, Haafell. Thanks to her efforts, the global Icelandic goat population is now more than 800-strong.

But it hasn't been smooth sailing.

Johanna told us how, after she had brought these goats to her farm, a disease outbreak in another area of the country meant that all farms that had imported animals recently had to go into lockdown for seven long years. This meant that she almost went bankrupt and lost the farm, which had been in her family for hundreds of years.

Luckily, though, a crowdfunding appeal donated enough to secure the goats' future - and the farm's.

After the tour, Johanna invited us to sample some of her goats' cheeses, and showed us the products that her and her family makes from the goats' milk, tallow, and soft cashmere fur.

Thank you Johanna for such a warm welcome!

GPS POINTS: 64° 42,842'N, 21° 15,375'W
A photogenic Icelandic goat showing off his horns
Day 4, stop 5: back to Reykjavik
We spent our last night in Iceland in the big city.

We drove back to Reykjavik and stayed in the 27 Soley apartments. Our room was spacious, clean, had its own mini kitchen, and was excellently-placed for walking into town.

We ate out in town for what would be the only dinner we'd eat at a restaurant for the whole trip. Delicious - but pretty pricey. House wine was £15 a glass!
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