We started the day with coffee & pastries from a local bakery before trying to locate replacement windshield wipers for the car. The mechanic in Stykkishólmur advised that ours used a new style that would be unlikely to be found outside of the Dacia dealership, back in Reykjavik.
We detoured back to Reykjavik, obtained new wipers, and then continued our trip to begin the Golden Circle with a visit to Þingvellir National Park.
This is where the original parliament of Iceland formed back in 930. And also where the tectonic plates are pulling apart, separating the Eurasian plate from the North American. We walked through the park, seeing early Icelandic cultural sites & enjoying the natural beauty. We spent the next 2 nights at Lambastadir Guesthouse, on a small farm outside of Selfoss. We had a wonderful dinner (seafood pizza for me, lamb for Donny) & relaxed in the hot tub before heading to bed.
We started the day with coffee & pastries from Reykjavik Roasters & pastries for the road from Brauð & Co., which were delicious, then headed north to the Snæfellsness Peninsula. Scenery was beautify as we drove – snow topped mountains to one side and water to the other, more moss covered lava fields, and farms with horses and sheep.
Our first stop was Gerðuberg Cliffs, formed similarly to those at Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. It was crazy windy there, but we climbed up the very sketchy path to the top and back down. Our next stop was Ytri Tunga Seal Beach, which is one of very few white sand beaches in Iceland. There were no seals, but we did see a coast guard ship off the coast and some replica whale bones.
We drove a bit further down the peninsula and stopped at Bjarnarfoss, a waterfall where we walked partway up the cliff for a better viewpoint. Looking toward the sea, we spotted our next stop, the Búðakirkja Black Church, one of the only black churches in the country, with the rest all white, often with a red roof. We stopped for lunch at Arnastapi – soup & fish & chips.
We walked to the coastal cliffs past the Bárðar Saga Snæfellsáss Statue but it was getting late and so windy that we didn’t want to walk them. We drove to the end of the peninsula, past the Lóndrangar Cliffs, to Djupalonssandur Black Beach, the first black “sand” beach of the trip, though it was more pebble like then sand to me.
There are bits of shipwreck on the beach from The Epine GY7 fishing boat that sank in 1948. As well as stone that traditionally were used by fisherman to prove they have the strength to go out on the boats. I was able to lift the 150lb stone and Jeanette tried but failed. Casey and Kat did not give the rocks a try.
We caught glimpses of the Snæfellsjökull glacier through the clouds, where the entrance to the center of the earth was located. There were very high winds all day and it was raining off and on, though luckily the rain hit as we were driving. Unluckily the Duster only had one working windshield wiper, in front of the driver.
We crossed the mountains to our guesthouse on the northern coast. Stykkishólmur, the largest town on the peninsula, has a lighthouse & ferry across to the West Fjords, but only a few restaurants – 3 were open, 2 of which were booked until late with reservations, so we ate burgers for dinner at the gas station. With all the rain, it was too cloudy to see the Northern Lights (a common problem throughout the trip) and we headed to bed early.
We landed and cleared customs/immigration in time to see the sunrise as we took the shuttle to the car rental depot. We got a Dacia Duster rental from Lava, got all loaded in & headed over to the blue lagoon after a brief stop for coffee and pastries at a local bakery. Iceland scenery is so different from everything I’ve seen before – very desolate lava fields with little moss and few trees. After showering & changing into swimsuits, we relaxed in the lagoon.
The water felt wonderful as we were all very tired & jetlagged. We got 1 drink and 2 masks with our entrance package – the cleansing silica mud mask and the rejuvenating algae mask, and spent time floating and bobbing around the lagoon. It’s definitely geared for tourists, but makes a wonderful first stop after a red eye flight.
We decided to head to Reykjavik and discovered the rental car was dead – we couldn’t get it started. We got a blue lagoon employee to come over to help us try to jump it (pushing the rental out of its parking spot and over so the cables would reach, but no luck. We then were able to get it running by Casey dropping the clutch while myself, Jeannette, the Blue Lagoon guy, and Kat were pushing the car as fast as we could.
It worked & we took that car straight back to the rental place and swapped to another Duster. We were tired and annoyed so went straight to Reykjavik, instead of driving past the new volcano, which we could have done if heading to Reykjavik from the Blue Lagoon.
Luckily Fosshotel Baron had our rooms ready (even though we arrived well before check in time) so we went up and took naps. Our room was so small! After a few hours nap, we went exploring Reykjavik. We walked up the hill to Hallgrimskirkja, the iconic church in the center of downtown and got dinner at Café Loki, which offered traditional Icelandic foods.
We then wandered through the streets, down Skólavörðustígur painted rainbow colors and Laugavegur Street, filled with restaurants, bars & shopping. We stopped for White Russians at the Lebowski bar, walked down to the harbor for a few pictures of the Sun Voyager Sculpture, before returning to the hotel to sleep.
I’ve started uploading some photos to the Hobbies section. So far just the Game of Throne set I shot from my drone in Belfast. Also changed to a more simple theme for the page, but not sure how I like it. The layout is fine, but I’m struggling to get the menus at the top to cooperate how I’d prefer.
I’m working on getting content added. It’s a slow going process as I’ve not been very good at keeping all my stuff organized over the years. Locating stuff that I want to get added to the site is a combination of digging through old phone photos, Facebook posts, and around my computer. It’ll take some time, but I’ll eventually get this page to where I want it. In the meantime, sit back and relax.