Iceland’s South Shore: The Dyrhólaey Peninsula and Vik

Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, basalt,beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

The south shore of Iceland is a popular route for visitors to the island.   One can do a day trek from Reykjavik (though, arguably, a long day) to see the major sights along the ring road on the south (e.g., waterfalls, glaciers, black sandy beaches).  The south shore deserves more than one write-up so I will separate into the waterfalls, the Myrdalsjökull glacier, and the Dyrhólaey peninsula – Vik area.  Here, I want to share some of the views from the latter, the Dyrhólaey peninsula and Vik, just a short distance east of the peninsula, where our day trip ended before returning to Reykjavik.

Vik

I will start with Vik, since it is a small place to talk about.  Vik means “bay” in Icelandic hence why many towns on the island end in “vik” (Reykjavik, Dalvik, Husavik).  It is the southernmost town in Iceland.  When I read about Vik, it is called a village – it has less than 300 so “village” seems appropriate.  Be its size as it may, it is a scenic spot for sure, even if the time of day I visited was not the ideal light for great pictures (I wish I had been there at sunset though that was likely around midnight!).  The basalt rock stacks or towers coming out from the ocean (go straight south and you will not hit land until Antarctica!) are quite impressive.

Vik, Iceland, village, church, scenic, landscape, photo, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Church in Vik

Vik, Iceland, village, scenic, landscape, photo, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Beautiful fields of purple

Vik, Iceland, village, scenic, landscape, photo, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

These recall turf houses even if it is not turf on their roofs; note the layers of rock behind them!

Vik, Iceland, village, flowers, scenic, landscape, photo, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Isn’t this an incredible sight??!! Basalt rock spires in the water.

The Dyhólaey nature reserve

Dyhólaey was declared a nature reserve in 1978.  This covered not only the landscape but the incredible wildlife there, mostly birds I assume.  We saw plenty of cliff birds perching right along the edge of the cliff and then flying off.  The contrast of the white feathers and the black sands below was pretty neat to see.  The black sands are definitely a reminder of the impact of volcanic activity in Iceland, especially in the south of the island.Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, cliff bird,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

These birds are a sight to see as they fly to and from the cliffs.

There is a lighthouse at the top of the peninsula, one of two structures there (the other seems abandoned, maybe a former residence for the lighthouse keeper?).  The lighthouse dates from 1910.  I am not sure but I suspect no one lives in the property any more.Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, travel, photo, lighthouse, Canon EOS Rebel Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, travel, photo, lighthouse, Canon EOS Rebel

One can walk down to the beach right at the base of the peninsula where the black sands and smooth small rocks are right at your fingertips.Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, black sand, lava rocks, volcanic, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, black sand, lava rocks, volcanic, travel, photo, Olympus Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, black sand, lava rocks, volcanic, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, black sand, lava rocks, volcanic, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

As you can see the views from the top of the cliff are spectacular and worth admiring – definitely worth the drive over.

Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, basalt,beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Love this lonely stack of basalt

Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, basalt,beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

An arch that reminds me of the 12 Apostles in Australia

Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, glacier, volcano, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Looking inland to the glaciers and volcanoes

Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, basalt,beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Dyrholaey, peninsula, Atlantic Ocean, Iceland, south shore, black sand, basalt,beach,travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

I agree – the vista is worth soaking it!

 

——– More on Iceland ——–

My itinerary for my week visit to Iceland

A stroll around Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik

Þingvellir:  Where History and Nature Meet in Iceland!

The Blue Lagoon

Goðafoss:  The Waterfalls of the Gods

A Northern Town:  Akureyri

Whale Watching

Postcards from Iceland:  Dalvík

Michigan Wine Country: Unexpected and Beautiful

Michigan, wine, Leelanau Peninsula, Traverse City, Sip and Savor, wine tasting

I was looking forward to visiting Traverse City, Michigan and exploring the neighboring areas but little did I know my timing was going to be SO good.  You see, that weekend, the Leelanau Peninsula Spring Sip & Wine was taking place (check here for other events!).  Over 20 wineries participated and the ticket included a small appetizer and several tastings of wine at each participating winery.  Heaven!Michigan, wine, Leelanau Peninsula, Traverse City, Sip and Savor, wine tasting

I did have to mind how many places I visited as I only had one afternoon and I would not want to rush just to score more wineries!   (<- crazy talk)  Plus, it was my first time in the area so I wanted to also admire the scenery.

Upon entering Leelanau Peninsula, our first stop was the Ciccone Vineyards.

Michigan, wine, Leelanau Peninsula, Traverse City, Sip and Savor, wine tasting, Ciccone, Madonna

If the last name sounds familiar, it is Madonna‘s last name:  it is her Dad’s winery.  I don’t know the full story but I know at some point (and maybe still) they are not close.  The “savor” part at this winery was the homemade chili by the owner.  It was delicious and perfect given the rainy weather at that point in the day.  We enjoyed chatting with the staff!

Michigan, wine, Leelanau Peninsula, Traverse City, Sip and Savor, wine tasting, Ciccone, Madonna

The grounds of the Ciccone vineyards

My partner-in-crime, er, fellow traveler and I moved on to Blustone Vineyards which stole a piece of my heart…  Why?  They were serving CUBAN PERNIL (pork)!!!!  As a 100% Cuban-blooded human being and cook of Cuban pork myself I was impressed with the quality of the pork.  The pork was from Georgina‘s in Traverse City (I looked at their menu online and I immediately started salivating!!  Next time in TC, I will HAVE to visit!).  Kudos!

Michigan, winery, vineyard, Traverse City,  Blustone winery, Leelanau Peninsula, wine tasting, wine tasting room

Plus, the wine at Blustone was the most impressive of the whole lot I sampled on this visit.  I also did love the space:  modern, spacious, and well lit with natural light.  It got quite packed after we arrived but there still was plenty of space to hang around.  Good job, Blustone!

Michigan, winery, vineyard, Traverse City,  Blustone winery, Leelanau Peninsula, wine tasting, wine tasting room

Random driving led us to encounter 45 North winery.  “What’s with the name?,” you may say?  Well, it is near the 45th parallel, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole!

45 Parallel, Michigan, road sign, halfway

The place was festive on the inside and out as you can see!  We enjoyed being served our tastings there and watching the “hat scene”.  Good job, 45 North!

Michigan, wine, vineyard, winery, 45 North, wine bottle, Leelanau

The tasting area and the bottle tree that greets visitors – pretty cool!

Michigan, wine, vineyard, winery, 45 North, wine bottle, Leelanau, food, white wine

What greeted us upon entering the testing room!

Michigan, wine, vineyard, winery, 45 North, wine bottle, Leelanau, hat, clever

One of the cleverest hats I saw!

It was time to keep on trucking along and we decided to go to Old Mission Peninsula to try a winery that was recommended, Brys Estate.  I enjoyed their reds – and the view of the east bay.  Though there was a great outdoor seating area with Adirondack chairs, because of the slightly weather, we did not partake of the outdoor.  But that was fine because we enjoy chatting with our server and some of the other visitors.

Brys, Estate, winery, vineyard, Old Mission, peninsula, Traverse City, Michigan

Brys, Estate, winery, vineyard, Old Mission, peninsula, Traverse City, Michigan

A view of the east bay

So, after this Saturday spent driving around these and other Michigan wineries, I can safely say it is a GREAT way to explore the beauty of Michigan – and enjoying delicious food and wines!  I do hope to return as there were many wineries I did not get to check out.  I love having a reason to go back to places I like!

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