Day 9 of Our Icelandic Road Trip

We’re remaining in Grundarfjordur again tonight, so today was a trip around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

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Here are morning sights.  We started so early that even the sea gulls were still sleeping!

I think this is our first breakfast on the road:

Continuing westward on the peninsula, we had more interesting views…The ship’s shore excursion missed this Maritime Museum, which I really loved:

The reconstructed turf house was last lived in 1942, and we were even able to go inside to see how the kitchen and bedroom would have looked like.

There was a replica fish house where the catch of the day would have been hung to dry. And there was an 8-oared boat built in 1826.

Outside, Jay found a set of lifting stones.  You may recall that this was how it was determined if you were fit to work on a fishing boat.  If you qualified, you were paid more for the heavier rocks you could handle.

The following is a place (Djupalonssandiur) Terri and I visited from the cruise ship.  I knew Jay would love it and he was sick for that shore excursion.

We searched for the perfect “beach pearls”.  You can tell I’m more discriminating than Jay.

The rusted bits are pieces of a trawler shipwrecked in 1947.  The winter storms have broken it apart and washed pieces way inland.

More lifting stones and a very cold ocean:

Lunch

After lunch sights:

We stopped to see the Black Church, which Terri and I had seen on the cruise’s shore excursion.  It was closed, so we just walked around outside and through the cemetery.

From the Black Church we could see Bjarnarfoss in the distance so we had to go closer to explore it:

We have not been following Icelandic tradition of taking hot baths so we went to this carbonated geothermal pool:

More sights returning to town…

We had dinner at Grundarfoss, just a little east of town.  By now, the Icelandic winds were roaring and we didn’t make the hike up to the waterfall…

The next two blogs may be delayed as Day 10 takes us back past Reykjavík, where we need to repack for the flight home on Day 11.

Day 1 of Our Icelandic Road Trip

I no longer have those cute little maps the cruise line provided, so our blue dot is done!  Instead, I found this post card of Iceland, showing in dashes the “Ring Road” we plan to drive.  I’ve marked our beginning and ending points for Day 1 in red.

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We’re on our own now…  We were picked up at our hotel and taken to pick up our motorhome, which is smaller than we expected.

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We reserved our vehicle about a year ago, and since then, the company has retired the type of vehicle we requested because they were having mechanical issues.  (We certainly don’t want to have a breakdown in the far reaches of the country!) However, the type of vehicle they used for a replacement is smaller, and their larger vehicles were all booked.

We were able to fit all our “stuff” in and we headed back through Reykjavik:  first stop… Food.  And, surprise of surprises there is now a Costco here!  We laid in a few supplies, but we were fascinated by some of the different offerings here:

One more market stop for small supplies then we reached the Ring Road and headed South East.  A few views:

There were a couple of unusual road hazards:

We took our time and arrived late at a campsite in Vik.  All the warm water for the showers was gone, so we stayed dirty.  Big change from the ship?  Tomorrow we’ll continue East to the town of Hofn, but in the meantime, here are a couple of morning shots from Vik:

Day 7 of our Icelandic Cruise

Our blue dot has docked in Reykjavik again, and our shore excursion was an 8-hour tour of the “Golden Circle.”

At our first stop, we visited Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO site. We walked along the rift valley between the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate.  So, we stepped on two continents today.

A word about the flag above… The “normal” Icelandic flag is rectangular, but if you look closely, you’ll see this one has a notch.  That’s because the national park is an “official” place so they can fly this “official” flag.

Next stop was Gullfoss Waterful, meaning “Golden Waterfall”.

Then on to the geothermic area of Geysir.  We enjoyed lunch there, along with a little tourist shopping.

The next visit was to a power plant where they harvest the energy of the hot water and steam to create much of the island’s electricity.  Electricity is so inexpensive here that other countries send their raw materials to the aluminum smelting plants here.

Finally, before returning to the ship, we had a surprise visit to a horse ranch.  This was a family affair with youngsters as young as six displaying their Icelandic horses and putting on an exhibition, where we were able to view all five gaits these horses use.  Beautiful!

And, to show us how smooth the horses’ gaits are, a couple of the adults rode around the rink several times holding full beer steins without spilling a drop.

Back at the ship, the evening was spent packing for tomorrow’s transfer to the Grand Hotel in downtown Reyjkavik.

Day 5 of the Icelandic Cruise

Our blue dot shows we’ve docked in the fishing town of Isafjordur.

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In spite of its relative isolation, the town is known for its rather urban atmosphere, flourishing cultural life and rich heritage of music and art.

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We started our shore excursion with a scenic bus drive bus drive to a hike.  This is the first shore excursion that really required boots.  The hike was fairly flat but we had to cross several small streams.

At the end of our hike, we discovered a waterfall named Valagil.

On the way back to our bus, we had our first close up encounter with Icelandic horses.  These are small horses – the size of ponies, but they are true horses. They apparently have an extra, unusal gait, but we didn’t have an opportunity to ride one.

Next, we drove to the Arctic Fox center.  This is mainly a research center, but there are two foxes living here.  They were found as orphaned cubs.  Now that they’ve become accustomed to humans, they can never be returned to the wild. They seem happy, though.

There are two color “morphs” of artic foxes. The white ones are very white in winter and live mostly in the hills.  During the summer, their coats are more tan.  The two foxes we saw are called “blue”  and that type  lives mostly at the coast.  During the winter, they become lighter brown.

Before dinner, San Simeon Travel hosted a cocktail party on the bridge.

After dinner we had a surprise visit by whales. The tail flukes below are humpbacks, and the dorsal fins are orca (killer whales).

More to follow tomorrow…