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June 29th 2021
Published: June 29th 2021
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22nd June 2021 – 29thJune 2021

Well it was certainly a rollercoaster to get here!! First of all we booked a trip to IceIand 22nd – 29th June , but then the hospital phoned up and I was going to have a replacement knee on 23rd June, so the trip was cancelled. After being in the hospital on the 16th June as a standby patient, having various tests etc I was eventually declined because of a graze on my knee! The surgeon wasn’t keen to do it on the 23rd June due to the fact I was going to a wedding on the 2nd July so it was decided he would see me in 4 weeks time for a pre-assessment!! So the first thing we did was re-book Iceland!!

Iceland is a ‘green’ country so no isolation or quarantine when we get back to UK. What we didn’t realise is that in England, you can get your vaccination certificates online, but in Wales you have to phone up and they will send you a paper copy, which could take up to ten days. We were going in 5 days!! By the day before we were going they still hadn’t turned up so, in desperation, we phoned our Doctors who had records of our vaccination and dates, batches etc so we were lucky enough to get a print out! We had already had a PCR Fit to Fly test so we felt we were well covered.

Drove up to the Holiday Inn, Slough Monday afternoon! Really nice hotel, with parking, restaurant and duly booked a taxi for 4.45am! Our flight was at 7.50am and terminal 5 was about a 15 minute drive away. Everything went to plan but I am glad we had the Fit to Fly tests and the Doctors Print outs otherwise we could have had trouble, as I don’t think the vaccination cards would have sufficed!! We had to have a PCR test on arrival at Iceland and isolate until we had the results in about (hopefully!!) 6hrs!

After picking up the rental car at the airport (Iceland) we drove the scenic route to Reykjavic via Grindavic (4) (427) (42) past the Blue Lagoon and the volcano Fagradalsfjall (at 30kms,) which is erupting at the moment with a steady stream of walkers up to the volcano. Very dramatic scenery, millions of wild purple flowering lupins, black rocks and even though it was cloudy with a little bit of drizzle, it didn’t detract from the scenery of mountains, hills, long windy roads! Drove back up the No 42 where the road drove close to the edge of the lake Kleifarvatn with amazing views and there was still some snow left! Well, I think it was snow!! Found the Center Hotel Arnarhvoll very easily (opposite Harpa - the colourful music concert hall!!) and isolated for the rest of the day! Knackered!! This getting up at 4.00am isn’t as easy as it used to be!!

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

It stayed light until at least midnight, when we gave in and got a few hours sleep, before waking up early for our breakfast on the 8th floor!!! Beautiful sunny day, (albeit a bit windy & chilly!) fantastic views and we were set to explore the West Coast!

Quite easy to get out of Reykjavik, the followed the No 1 road, north through the tunnel , across the lagoon, past Borganes ( where we stopped for dinner on the way home!!) and up to our first stop, an hour and a half later, Gerouberg Cliffs!! A gravel road took us up to the cliffs which were quite impressive and we duly got out of the car for a little walk and admired them (along with other tourists, mostly Americans!) On to the next stop along the No 54 road – Ytri Tunga where there was supposed to be a seal colony!! No seals to be found, just other tourists, also looking for seals but a pleasant enough place to have a wander.

Our next stop (I think!) was Bjarmarfoss – a huge waterfall that you could walk up to…and then Chris clambered up to the top part. We then drove onto the Black Church at Budir – Im sure that it had a story – I cant remember it! but it was completely rebuilt in 1984 so not very old!! Quite a nice little church to walk around the outside ( it was locked so we couldnt go inside!!) Rauofeldsgja was our next stop, a gorge that we were able to walk up to – (Chris went inside the gorge, clambering over some watery rocks but said that he couldn’t walk very far inside the gorge and it wasn’t to impressive) before driving to Arnastapi, described as a small fishing village! Well, it had a small harbour that was very pretty and then we walked to an enormous statue and then down to the cliffs where a load of seabirds were nesting!!

We missed Hellnar, but found Djupalonssandur Beach where they have lifting stones. The fishermen were taken down to the beach to test their strength by the size of the rocks they could lift! There were also remains from a British Trawler , the Epine GY7 that was wrecked on 13th March 1948, the ruins left around as a memorial. Five of the crew of 19 were saved.

We the completed the tour of the peninsular by driving the north coast, before heading back down the No 56 road to join up with No 1 road to retrace our steps back to Reykjavik. The scenery on the North Coast isn’t quite so dramatic – or maybe we have got a bit blaise – maybe you can overdose on sunshine, volcanoes, snow, glaciers, a purple haze from millions of lupins, blue rivers, waterfalls, alpine flowers, harbours, – the scenery all day has been outstanding!

Eventually got back to the Hotel about 10.30pm – still light so it felt like the afternoon!!

Thursday 24th June 2021

Today was the BIG day!! There was high cloud and the forecast was cloudy all day so we thought it would be a good day to walk to the live volcano Fagradalsfjall, so after talking No 40 road to get out of the city we then took No 42 and 427 to find the parking! A huge car park and absolutely no problem to park but we had to pay 1000 IKR …….online!!! Thank goodness we had a French person to help us!!!

It was easy to find the correct track as there was a steady stream of people going to visit the volcano!! The track was fairly flatish to start with, and then after about 1¼ miles….a WOW!! The lava had blocked the track!!! It was still hot with steam/smoke coming up in various places!! I could go on no-more because of my knees, as the track then climbed upwards quite steeply so I sat down and volcano / people watched while Chris went on!! He went right up to the top and saw the volcano glowing, bubbling and spewing out whatever it spews out!! It was a climb of about 900 ft, quite hard because of the loose lava rock , very windy and along a ridge, so I wouldnt have liked it anyway, and had to content myself with a field of black lava!

Upwards and onwards! Back to see a black church just off the No 42 and then onto Seltun to see boiling water spewing their steam and boiling hot mud puddles. Parked at the top of the old lava fields at Kleifarvatn to see the black beaches next to the lake and then drove onto the harbour at Hafnarfjordur – it looked good on the pictures – not so good in real life!! Drove on out on the peninsular to Bessasfaoir which is where the President of Iceland lives!! Felt a bit like an intruder so after looking at the church (shut!) we left.

Tried to book whale-watching for tomorrow but they are unsure if boat will go due to weather (phone at 8.00am tomorrow am) and after a quick shop in Bonus went to 101 Street Food on the rainbow street that leads to the Church, that had been recommended to us! Had some lovely lamb stew – could have eaten it again!! And also a complementary large chocolate wafer, Walked up to the Church (shut!) and had a wander around before deciding to have a fairly early night……in the hope that whale watching is on tomorrow at 9.00am.

Friday 25th June 2021

We phoned up at 8.00am and the whale watching trip was ON so it was a quick ‘dash’ (I dash nowhere these days due to my knees!) to buy the tickets for the whale watching trip, unsure of what we would see, due to the ‘very rough weather’ notified by the ticket office. who were dishing out the tickets and sea-sickness pills!!

There was only about 20 people on the boat and it was quite rocky out to the whales feeding ground! Well…….it was more than rocky – it was rough! Plenty of seabirds and puffins flying about and then we saw a huge pod of white-beaked dolphins! They were playing by the boat and were absolutely magic to see – must have seen about seven diving and riding the waves.

Chris by this time had gone on top the ship, when we saw the hump-backed whale! Totally amazing – it was playing with the waves and dolphins and rolling on its side. Waving his fin in the air! The boat had turned off its engines by this time and it was really, really rough. I had no sea legs ( It felt like I had no legs!!) and was tossed around in the back of the ship, falling over a few times!! After watching the whale for quite a long time, and suffering with sea sickness (thank goodness I didnt feel too bad!) it was back to the shore. No photos as I had forgotten to take the camera battery but not so sure I could have taken any photos anyway with the boat rocking about!!!

Anyway, back to the hotel to warm up, (it was absolutely freezing cold wind on the boat!) and recover before walking up to the Church to look inside! Very simple and modern but quite unique – Chris climbed the tower!!

Walked around the Old Town, shopping and wandered down to the lake before stopping for tea and delicious carrot cake in one of the many coffee shops! Wandered about some more and then had our main meal before getting back to the hotel about 7.00pm.

Friday 26th June 2021

After breakfast, we had a zoom with friends left in the UK, that we usually see in Spain, as we had a Covid test booked for midday! Went to a liquor store before having the horrible test and Chris bought a bottle of gin – well I wouldn’t have bothered!! It was £36.00 and not even a litre bottle!!!

After the test we drove out on No 1 road before heading off on the No 36 road to Pingvellir National Park! After calling in the visitor centre we turned right and parked in P2 before walking up to ……. waterfall. Retraced our steps and walked along the American Tetronic Plate admiring the blue lake and views before coming to the place where they had the old Parliament. Carried on walking up to the 2nd Visitors centre, before walking to the church and then back to the car!

Drove onto Geyser – Im not sure if this is the name of the place or just a place that has geysers!! Walked the loop round watching Strokker erupting and releasing its spume 4 or 5 times! Walked up to the viewpoint to take photos of the many lupins that create a purple haze over the mountains!

Onwards to Gullfloss! The last time we saw this waterfall it wasn’t too impressive but it had a lot more water this time and was very impressive! Walked to the end for views before walking downwards and along the track, past the spray ( yes we got wet!!) and onto the viewing platform for the gorge!

Time was now getting on, so we thought we would go back to Geyser to eat! Wrong!! All shut at 7.00pm. Drove onto Laugarvatn, where there was a small café/restaurant but a 50 minute wait for food. Pingvellir café was also shut but we came up trumps stopping at Blik, a Golf Restaurant in Mosfellsbaer. Excellent food albeit the menu was only written in Icelandic!!

Sunday 27th June 2021

Collected the CC that Chris had mistakenly left at Blik Restaurant and then went to Reykjavik Botanical Gardens founded in 1961! A very pleasing garden with lovely flowers and plants, bridges and ponds and a beautiful café with a glass roof and pergolas covered in Passion flower, grapevines, wisteria, bouganvillea and jasmine.

Then went to the Saga Museum! It was basically a museum that explained about the Vikings and how they came to Iceland and folk lore stories – some quite grizzly!! Im not keen on museums, but the figures were so life like it was untrue!! Watched a film afterwards of how the figures were made using real people as casts and then wondered why the guy infront of us was engrossed in the film!!!

As it was still very murky and cloudy outside, we went to the Perlan Museum, Reykjavik No 1 experience!! It was excellent giving an insight into the land of volcanoes and ice, as well as the ocean and a cliff of seabirds. and various hands-on experiences including a walk through a real ice cave!! It was freezing cold, so we warmed up having a hot chocolate and cream cake in the rotating restaurant in the dome!! A fantastic film of the Northern Lights viewed over a ceiling and in 3D completed our experience.

Back to the Hotel to order our home testing PCR testing kit for 2 days after we get home, something to eat (recommend Matsedill Restaurant, Ingolfsstraeti - just up the road from the hotel and past the park on the left!! ) and an early – ish night

Monday 28th June 2021

An easy day as we had the Blue Lagoon booked for midday so we drove to have a look at Grindavik. Not a lot there at all – apart from a Salted Fish Museum!! Found it ( we were the only people there – surprise, surprise!!!) and it was Free Admission, lovely toilets, free coffee so not too bad! The museum was upstairs of the Tourist Information and took about 10 minutes to read the boards and look at the old photos. The girl then advised us to drive top the left as there was huge thermal activity there! She wasn’t joking!!! Drove up to one of the boiling geysers – I think they are trying to harness some of the power as there are quite a few pipes and chimneys around.

Droved back to the Blue Lagoon and after admiring the colour spent a relaxing 2hrs in the huge pool! I was the only person on the pool that was offered a noodle – the lifeguard could see I wasn’t too comfortable!! I was ok after I had a beer!!! Had a lovely meal before going back to the hotel to sort out boarding passes and pack ready for our BA flight at 10.45am tomorrow am

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