Iceland 🇮🇸 Day 9 of 18
🗓: 28 Aug | 🌍: Stykkishólmur to Kolviðarnesvegur
Map of Day 9: 183 km around the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
So far so good. Cloudy skies but no rain! In the morning we explored the seaside town of Stykkishólmur and the lighthouse, before hitting the road towards the west.
This part of Iceland is very lush and volcanic so the lush green moss grows thick over black lava rocks.
It was an incredible ride to the Snaefellsjoekull National Park where we enjoyed some hiking down to a few beaches.
A beautiful church in a sea of green.
Snaefellsjoekull National Park
Snaefellsjoekull National Park was full of beautiful scenery at nearly every turn.
Skarðsvík Beach and the hike down to Djúpalónssandur beach.
The beach contained orange rusted pieces of the British trawler, The Epine GY7, which was wrecked east of Dritvík cove on the night of 13 March 1948 still remain on the black beach. The rocky beach is composed of black lava rocks made smooth by the churning of the ocean waves.
The impressive volcanic geology of Iceland.
One of the best shots was of a waterfall called Bjarnarfoss located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. This waterfall sits high on a cliff face and without the drone you wouldn’t be able to get close enough to see the detail.
Black Church at Buðir
After the falls we stopped to take some pictures of the famous black colored church in Buðir. It’s a beautiful church that sits alone in a lava field.
It was starting to get into the evening and we needed gas. The GPS showed gas at Rjúkanda restaurant but it turned out there was no gas. I’m actually glad that the GPS was wrong because we discovered a great place to eat dinner. Rjúkanda restaurant was also a favorite because I got to try something I’ve wanted to eat since arriving in Iceland – fillet of foal. Yes, you read correct… Horse meat. How did it taste? Much like a beef streak but with just a bit different taste. I thought it was really good!
Horse meat – “it’s what’s for dinner”
After dinner it was near dark so we searched on the map for the closest camping spot. Great news! There was one only a few miles down the road. Bad news. It’s not there any longer. We ended up trying to find a place to set up camp until well after 10PM and finally settled on a flat area behind a small hill just off of the side road. Good enough.
Iceland 🇮🇸 Day 10 of 18
🗓: 29 Aug | 🌍: Kolviðarnesvegur to Sandgerði
Map of Day 10: 322 km from Kolviðarnesvegur, to Surtshellir and Reykjavik, and ending in Sandgerði.
We got an early start, partly because we were camped just off the road and didn’t want to arouse any more suspicion, and partly because we were excited for another day without rain.
Deildartunguhver Hot Springs
Our first stop was Deildartunguhver hot springs but they were under a lot of construction making it difficult to see the boiling water coming from the depths of the Earth. The steam, on the other hand, was noticeable for miles around.
As the morning progressed we realized that we were definitely within hours of the capital of Raykavik because the roads and tourist attractions were full of rentals and tour buses. If you wan’t to avoid crowds in Iceland stick to the northern side and western fjords.
Our next stop of Barnafoss falls was not the most beautiful of Icelands falls but it did have a nice hike.
We wanted to explore a lava cave but many of them have become “touristized” and require a steep fee to have a guide walk you though. Not my thing; I’d rather explore at my own pace.
Fortunately, for those adventurous enough there is Surtshellir cave. We parked well north of the parking area and walked south underground exploring each of the caves and entrances. The caves really are quite large some featured beautiful metallic looking stalactites.
Heading to the Surtshellir cave via a well traveled dirt road.
On our walk to the Surtshellir cave you see huge cube shaped rocks that were pushed upwards along the fault line. The power of Mother Earth!
One of the cave entrances. Inside it was cold and damp; kinda like you expect a cave to be. Once you were in the cave about 100 yards it was completely black.
This black. No kidding. Black so black you can’t see anything. Not having a lamp would be death by a thousand tiny volcanic rock cuts.
Leaving in search of other sites…
On out way back from the caves we came across Fossatún Falls. This is a really relaxing area with a great walking trail that taught about trolls and the Icelandic folklore that surrounding them.
Tröllafossar or the Fall of the Trolls.
The trail has many displays with the artwork from Steinar Berg who has written three books on trolls and has erected several trolls from his stories. The hag looking one is Grýla, the mother of the Yulelads. She is not the nicest of the trolls because she eats naughty children and cooks them in her cauldron. Maybe she’s not so bad because she only cooks the naughty children.
Many cairns dot the landscape in Iceland because many people place their burdens or problems in the rocks and them put them in a pile like this one. How often do we let the burdens of our past keep us from progressing into the future?
It was really nice and relaxing at Fossatún. If we didn’t have a schedule to keep, I would have stayed here for the night.
We continued south-west making our way to Reykjavik via the 1 but bypassed the tolled (not trolled, that’s for bridges) tunnel to enjoy the ride around Hvalfjörður via the 47. This was some of my favorite pavement riding of the trip; beautiful views, twisty mountain roads, and minimal car traffic. Apparently other two-wheeled riders felt the same way because we saw more motorcycles on the 47 than we’ve seen the whole trip so far.
Hvalfjörður via the 47
Some of the best road riding of the trip so far.
One of the many churches that dot the landscape in Iceland. Many of them are the centerpiece of the town. I managed to capture the time of the day when the shadow of the cross was cast right on the roof.
Sunny, warm, and a perfect day for riding uncrowded roads with great scenery. Beautiful!! This feeling should be able to be bottled so it can be shared with others.
Hallgrimskirkja Church, Reykjavik
Arriving in Reykjavik was a bit crazy with people and traffic all racing around. We managed the maze of congested roads and arrived at Hallgrimskirkja church without getting lost or going against the myriad of one-way roads. We seemed to have timed our arrival perfect because I was able to take some great pictures of the church with the late evening lighting.
The statue of explorer Leif Eriksson stands proudly at the front of the Hallgrimskirkja. At 74.5 metres (244 ft) high, it is the largest church in Iceland.
Since it was going to be dark soon, we pressed on to dinner at, of all places, Kentucky Fried Chicken. After another 30 minutes we stopped in Sandgerði where we camped for the night.
Onward to PAGE 3…