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Published: August 27th 2017
Blog 6 Our last two days of driving Snaefellsnes Peninsula/Reyjkavik
Today is our biggest day of driving – 460 kms on not the best roads. After our amazing breakfast we headed down the road across the bottom of the fjord to Blonduos and onto Pingeyrar. My reason for stopping at Pingeyrar was to do with a book I had read called Burial Rites (thanks to Sue Thompson). The book told the story of the last 2 people to be executed in Iceland in the 1830’s. Amazingly the book was written by a young Australian author Hannah Kent. We found the little marker on the side of the road and just like her story, the historical marker pointed out where the execution of the young man and woman took place. It is amazing to think that Australia’s last hanging occurred in the 1960’s in Melbourne but Iceland removed the death penalty in 1830.
At Bordeyri where we started a 40kms stretch of dirt road. Given that it was showering, our little car turned into something that looked like we had been in a mud rally. What seemed like hours later we arrived at the Eiriksstadoir Archaeological site that was
the home of the Viking Erik the Red. His story is crazy but true. Back in time he discovered Greenland as well as doing a lot of violent things as part of settling Iceland. Work has been done to excavate a 10th
century longhouse where it is believed he lived. We visited the site but felt that it was a long drive to see a lot of green grass, the stone remains of where the original longhouse was located and the reconstructed longhouse.
By now the sun was shining and the mud on the car was baked hard – there was no way to read the number plate! Along the way we saw a canyon where lots of tourists were taking photos – joined them and liked what we saw.
Continuing for another 70kms of dirt highway we followed Iceland’s largest bay called the Breidafjordour. The bay is very shallow and there are about 3,000 little islands. It is really beautiful and we were lucky to drive this area in full sunshine. Took lots of photos but felt that none really captured the true beauty of this 70kms of beach.
Stykkisholmur was the next town we visited.
Good place for an icecream and a harbour walk. We followed the coast for quite some time before reaching the small village of Grundarfjordur. Along the roadside was yet another impressive waterfall. The main landmark near this little village was a strangely shaped mountain called Kirkjufell. Depending on the time of day and position from where you take the photo it appears to change shape. This area was really different to other parts of Iceland.
We then entered the Snaefellsjokull National Park and the dominant feature was the beautiful Snaefellsjokull volcano and glacier. It looked fantastic in the afternoon sun so of course we stopped to take more photos. Amazingly there is a lot of lava in this area but there has not been an active eruption in the area for almost 2000 years – that is a long time here in Iceland.
Stopped at the Saxholl volcanic crater and climbed the many stairs to view the crater at the top. Not a lot in there but the exercise up and down the stairs was great. Also the views from the top of the surrounding area were truly stunning. Further along the coast we saw the two lava
formations at Londrangar Beach as well as amazing lava tubes. Saw long queues to do the lava cave visits at Vatneshellir but we were way out of time!
Driving a little further along the coast we finally arrived at the tiny fishing village of Hellnar and the Foss Hotel. We were exhausted and so happy to get out of the car. The view from our room looking up at the Snaefellsjokull volcano shimmering in the sunlight was fantastic. The clouds had lifted for a while and we were able to see the volcanic plug popping out at the top. Mother Nature is truly amazing. We were exhausted after our big drive – time for a relaxing wine and a good meal overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Breakfast on the deck in the sunshine meant it was going to be a great start for the last part of our Icelandic drive. We walked along the cliff tops and met a young couple from Romania. They were exploring the sea caves and were quick to tell us how to find the best photo spots. The arched cave looked fantastic and we had to be careful walking across the cliffs because the
caves were all over the ground as well as the cliffs being very fragile and exposed.
Heading towards Reykjavik we passed thee iconic black church at Budir but it was gone before we could take a photo. Then we came upon the Eldborg Crater sitting high above the surrounding lava field. Got out to take a photo and witnessed a Spanish couple having an almighty fight – two quick photos and drove off!!
The traffic was light and we decided to do a detour around the Hvalfjordur Fjord. This meant a bit longer in the car as we bypassed the direct tunnel back to Reykjavik. Thought we were going to see the Glymur Waterfall but when we arrived at the carpark we found out it was a 2 hour hike on a steep path – forget it we said and hopped back into the car.
Arrived safely back at the Thrifty car hire in Reykjavik with a totally scratch free car. We were wondering how he could see any problems under the layer of dirt covering the poor little car. Then it was back to the Storm Hotel to prepare for a very early morning departure to
We had a wonderful 10 days driving around Iceland and experiencing a country like nowhere else we have been to. Iceland is a very clean place – not a piece of paper, rubbish or graffiti to be seen anywhere. The people were helpful and the scenery was truly amazing – a great place to visit in the Summer.
Cheers Leanne an
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