Snaefellsness Peninsula

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May 3rd 2014
Published: June 6th 2014
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I awoke and met up with a Polish traveler named Karolina that I had met the previous day in the hostel. She and two other companions, Adam and Magda, were planning on renting a vehicle and setting off to explore more of the country and I was definitely in! We discovered that Riley had gotten stuck in some sand with his rental car the night before and needed assistance to get free. He only returned at four AM but he was also in for the journey. I didn't know the rest of them very well yet, but they seemed decent enough, and in any case this is one of the main reasons to travel since you never know what kind of people you'll meet. We rented another Toyota, but this time a station wagon so we could fit more gear. They were all planning a journey around the island over a two week period, but sadly I only had three days left on my trip, so I could only stick around for a short part. Having a job to go back to is good in one sense, but absolute shit in another. We said goodbye to the hostel and then headed to the southwest tip to see the touristy Blue Lagoon hot springs. Ominous clouds had come in and droplets of rain began falling as we approached. I had been lucky to avoid rain for the most part on this trip but I knew I was overdo. The Blue Lagoon was, as the name suggests, blue tinged hot springs that the locals claim hold rejuvenation properties. We all agreed it was way to overpriced to go for a dip so we just grabbed some snaps and then left. We explored several other hot spring spots on the way back through towards Reykjavik. The temperature had cooled considerably and heavier rain had come. At this point I realized my camera had some weird spots in the lens and I was focused on fixing it up.

We headed north, back through Reykjavik. We stopped at a store so Riley could pick up much needed jacket and hiking shoes. We also stopped at a Bonus supermarket and stocked up on supplies for our roadtrip. We then continued towards the Snaefellsness peninsula. I honestly knew very little about this part of Iceland, and had heard that many travelers tend to skip this region in favour of the north and east but man was I pleasantly surprised. Mountain ranges and volcanic moss covered rock littered the landscape, and beautiful stretches of coastline were a feast for the eyes. We stopped often for picture opportunities despite the miserable weather. Adam was our constant driver and he had an excellent map depicting different attractions. During the day we explored canyons and caves, and found landmarks strewn about. We rounded the peninsula in a few hours and then traveled eastward along the northern part of the peninsula. My Polish companions had realized that they left their tent behind at the Bus hostel. My tent could only fit a maximum of two people, so we were on the lookout for caves or abandoned structures to set up for the night. The rain had continued falling and visibility began to decrease as the sun was beginning to dip at the late hour of 2300. Soon darkness enveloped the vehicle and it was difficult seeing more than 100 metres in any direction. We came upon some scattered farms and stopped at one hoping some locals could give us suggestions for shelter. Magda and Riley approached a farmer still working outdoors and returned to the car with news. Apparently the farmer, named Hatller, had offered us shelter in his small guest house right in front of his barn. We were all quite tired and gratefully accepted. Two farm dogs happily jumped and licked us. We began warming up some food on Adam's portable gas stove and Riley serenaded us with some finger picking acoustic tunes. Hatller joined us for a bit and we talked about our cultures as well as our Icelandic experiences so far. Hatller was in his early fifties, spoke passable English, and lived alone on his dairy farm. He seemed incredibly kind and curious. We also discovered he loved chocolate, which we gave him from our stash. It was 0100 in the morning and we decided shut eye was in need. It was a little crammed for five people but I had some amazingly deep sleep.

Karolina and I awoke first the next day and went outside to find Hatller there and inviting us into his home. He made some coffee and tea and I sampled some amazing fresh milk. The others joined us one by one as they woke. We were hoping to repay his kindness with some farmwork and Hatller was happy to oblige. He gave us some overalls and boots and we went into his main barn to begin the days work. The dairy farm contained 26 cows, which Hatller had all named, and about a dozen sheep. Hatller showed us to our tasks and we began feeding and giving water to the cows, cleaning excess hay and cow stool, and setting up the pumps for milking. The milk that was pumped fed directly to a pasteurization machine, and could be drunk soon after. We worked until about lunchtime and I was having a blast! It felt like some of the most honest work that could be done. We then stopped to eat lunch. Soon after we realized we would have to continue onward and thanked Hatller for his incredible hospitality and then loaded up the car and moved on.

We made our way to the town of Stykkisholmur, which was a beautiful small town along the water and overlooked seemingly hundreds of small islands to the north. The view was exquisite. Riley pulled out his guitar and played while we walked up towards the lighthouse. Once there we had an awesome panorama. We lingered in the town for a while and then continued heading east. Along the way Riley had an nostalgic urge to listen to Ronny James Dio, and so we did as our vehicle traveled along. At this point the views kept being so amazing that we stopped almost constantly. A beautiful clearing by the roadside presented itself to us and we stopped to eat. Soon after we came upon an almost alien landscape of islands and water and started to hike down towards one of the closer islands to get a better view of a beached ship. The views were so amazing that I became overwhelmed. Sadly at this point I was wishing I had a serious SLR camera to truly capture as much of the quality as possible. For more than an hour I explored the landscapes and then we returned to the car. The sun was beginning to dip and again I found myself wondering how the day was almost over. We were now technically out of the peninsula and passed by a calm lake. The light was perfect and the water was almost completely still. We took some reflection shots. We eventually found an abandoned barn that was still full of hay, and we brought in our sleeping bags and set up there for the night. One of the best sleeps I've had in a while.

My final morning in Iceland had come and the longing to remain a vagabond was consuming me. I ultimately knew that going back to work and setting myself up for much longer travels sometime down the road would be so worth it. We had some quick breakfast and set out on the road. My companions would be continuing to explore this amazing land for a few weeks still, and I needed to reach Reykjavik so I could catch a flight home. They left me on the side of the highway, and I embraced them all, knowing full well I would probably never see any of them ever again. I stood by the side of the road and within moments an SUV puled over to the side. A middle aged woman named Gudrun was on her way to Reykjavik and decided to give me a ride. I had heard that hitchhiking in Iceland was easy but this was ridiculous! I recounted my short experience in her land and she listened intently to my stories. She was quite pleased I had explored the Snaefellsness Peninsula that so many other travelers skipped. She dropped me near the main bus station back in Reykjavik. By this point I knew the city well and still had a few hours to get to the airport. I went to a cheap noodle restaurant I had seen previously for munch. Then I headed back to the station and bused it to Keflavik. My last ride there was non-surprisingly filled with incredible scenery.

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26th June 2014
Snaefellsness Peninsula

Great pic. Evokes the imagination...what secrets are within? One of many fabulous pics in this blog. Time to share more gems with the Dancing One...pressing Follow without further delay.

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