The sun came out for our trip back to Keflavik to return the motorhome.
One last shot from Porlakshofn and a few from the road:
Our Last Supper – Oops! I mean breakfast — with our farm-fresh eggs:
Sights on the way to and in Reykjavik:
Our last gas up:
Last goodbye to the motorhome, and we’re off to the airport!
Too tired to take photos, but friends met us in Los Angeles and arranged a welcome home smorgasbord at Sally’s house. What a wonderful trip, but we’re so glad to be back! We’re recovering for a couple of days at Terri’s before we come back to Cambria. See you on the next trip!
Rainy, windy day today as we completed our circumnavigation of Iceland. Our guest house tonight is in Porlakshofn. This is an interesting word, as the first letter is not in our alphabet. In Icelandic it looks like a strange “p” but it’s pronounced “th” like in “the”.
We had lunch pretty late.
After lunch views:
As we approached Reykjavik, we entered our final tunnel. This one was only 5 kilometers long, and it had two lanes:
This is our guest house in Porlakscofn. Since we had eaten lunch so late, we didn’t feel like dinner, so we walked to a nearby restaurant for dessert. On the way, we captured this rainbow, which was the perfect end to our trip.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s breakfast, Jay asked the restaurant if we could buy 4 eggs for breakfast. They had local, farm-fresh eggs and since they were small, they GAVE us 6 eggs!
We’re remaining in Grundarfjordur again tonight, so today was a trip around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
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:
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.
It was still rainy this morning, and the “gravel” road out to the street was really only dirt because this is a new development. The van slid backwards in the mud, and we got stuck. The construction workers across the way were on coffee break and we couldn’t reach the landlady by phone, so we started walking to town.
Fortunately, we met a lady taking her daughter to soccer practice and she spoke very good English. She called the tow truck for us and waited with us until he came so she could explain our situation to him in Icelandic. Here’s the documentation of our first two hours this morning:
After the rescue, we realized that we had left our food in that nice, large refrigerator back at the room. No way were we going back to risk getting stuck a second time… That would be just too embarrassing!
With all the excitement, I still didn’t get any outside photos of the town, but we finally set off (still in the rain) for Grundarfjordur.
Morning shots… Notice the roadside portapotties are chained down so you can’t steal them!
And the old photo above shows that Henry Ford was here! The bridge, called “Cat’s Arch”, was originally a road for horse-drawn carts and since 1930 it’s been used for motorized travel until the modern road was built.
More of the morning… This church was built in 1880, but it replaced earlier churches on the same spot. The oldest was built in 1002!
We’ve really been lucky with the weather, but here’s proof that it DOES rain in Iceland during the summer:
Today’s lunch stop:
Finally, the sun began to return:
We reached Grundarfjordur around 4 pm:
This is another port our cruise visited, but Jay was sick and missed the shore excursion, so we’ll plan to recreate it for him. There’s not time tonight, so after checking in at the guest house, we just drove along the north side of the peninsula.
We had dinner at the church below, before returning to the Old Post Office Guest House! The wide waterfall at the right below is very near our town, and it’s called Kinkjufellasfoss.
We’ll check out the rest of the peninsula tomorrow.
We deviated a little from the Ring Road again as we headed from Husavik to Hvammstangi (another town I can’t pronounce).
Here are sights between Husavik and Akureyi.
We stopped in Akureyi, which was one of the stops on our cruise. It sure looked strange to see a large ship where our pretty little ship had docked. Visited a few shops, including a nice knit store. Here we found relatives of Aunty Wooly from the Ball n Skein in Cambria!
More views along the way.
Lunch at the next town. Notice Jay’s new knit puffin hat? He got that at the knit shop in Akureyi.
These deviations from the Ring Road add interesting attractions, but they also make for long days!
Today was a day of tunnels! There’s a sign here that means (roughly) a one lane road with areas to pull over to let oncoming cars pass! Some of these one-lane tunnels were a little scary!
Once the tunnels were finished, we had pretty dreary weather:
Let me explain the wrapping of the haybales… The hay (or grass?) is rolled, rather than baled into rectangles. Then it’s wrapped in plastic to keep for use during the winter. The standard plastic wrap is white, but there are alternate colors. We were told pink is for “girls” and blue is for “boys”. Apparently, part of the proceeds from the pink wraps goes to breast cancer, and the proceeds from the blue ones goes to a men’s charity. In this part of the country, we’ve also seen green, yellow and black and I don’t know what those mean.
Then, a quick do-it-yourself carwash…
We booked a one bedroom condo for tonight – wow! A real refrigerator, a real stove, and lots of space. It’s rainy and foggy, so not many outside photos of this town. But here are views from the front of the condo, and inside, including dinner.
However, we had an early morning upset — AT&T cut off our e-mail. It’s very frustrating to try to fix something like that from overseas — especially when the “chat” function isn’t working because it’s the middle of the night at home.
First stop was the Visitors’ Center, which was supposed to be in the library/museum. However, it had been removed, so the librarian helped us! There were three areas in the building (besides the actual library)… We started with the Maritime Museum.
Most of the tool pictures were taken by Jay, while most of the boat photos are mine. There were also some additional surprises in the museum.
Next, Jay went to a car museum while I worked on the blog. All the cars in the museum had spent at least part of their “lives” in Iceland. The owner opens the museum only during the summer, and he spends his winters restoring more old cars.
Remember how foggy our dinner stop was last night? We returned for lunch, and look how beautiful it was in the sun!
Today we traveled from Egilsstadir to Husavik. However, we deviated from the Ring Road for a very special waterfall.
Here are sights on the way toward Dettifoss. First a really nice one named Rjukandafoss, where we captured our first rainbow:
Today’s lunch stop:
This is Dettifoss, which seems to be in the Icelandic equivalent of our Grand Canyon. This is the Waterfall of waterfalls!
Two other magnificent waterfalls were nearby:
Here are more sights after the waterfalls but before Husavik. The lake below is called Earthquake Lake, as it was formed as a result of a series of earthquakes in the winter of 1975-76. In the thaw of spring 1976, the melt water didn’t drain as usual, but left a large lake.
At this stop, Jay birdwatched, while I photo’d mushrooms
When we finally reached Husavik, we were tired and dusty from all the gravel roads, but the waterfalls were well worth it. Here’s our dinner stop, and as we were eating, the fog began to lift.
We’re spending tomorrow in Husavik also, so hopefully we’ll have better photos then.
Today is a day of rest(?) because we’re not driving to a new town tonight. The fog worsened overnight, so we cancelled our planned hike to the waterfall. Instead, we took a day trip to Borgarfjordur.
It was dreary, but here are some of the sights along the way:
And we found Lands End to have lunch.
Sights around the town of Borgarfjordur:
Jay also hiked to some puffins, but I don’t have those shots downloaded yet. Instead, enjoy the swans we saw on the way home.
Oh! And I need to tell you about the Worm (“Wyrm”) of Lagarfljot. (That’s the lake near our hotel.) The story is reminiscent of the Scottish Nessie… Legend has it that once upon a time, a young girl acquired a gold broach. She placed it in a box underneath a slug because she thought that would increase her wealth. When she checked on it, the slug was enormous, and she threw the box into the lake.
The “wyrm” grew and became dangerous, and the locals called in the Finns (!) to battle it. They were unable to kill it, but they fastened its head and its tail to the lake bottom so it couldn’t harm anyone.
Since that time, there have been periodic sightings of the “wyrm”. If you want to see a video from a sighting, go to www.youtube.com and search for “Iceland Lake Monster.
We saw it — in an artist’s garden display of sculptures:
Today we’re going to cover some serious territory, and we’ll probably get into the hotel late. Good thing it’s still light at 10 pm! Here’s the day’s map:
Our first find of the day was a giant chair attached to a boulder alongside the road:
And, here’s today’s lunch stop:
We had our first TWO tunnels today – these cut right through mountains. One is 10 km long:
And, we had our first sighting of swans:
We found egg sculptures at the beach. This outdoor display consists of 34 stone eggs, each one representing a local bird. They’re all similar in size except the largest that belongs to the red-throated diver, the official bird of Djuipivogur (the town). We had lunch nearby.
After lunch, Petra’s Stone Collection brought back fond memories of our mothers. Petra must have been about the same age as our mothers and she amassed the largest private collection of rocks in the world. Her descendants maintain her collection and have made a little private museum.
Both of our mothers loved collecting rocks, but Petra also loved flowers, as did our mothers.
Miscellaneous sights along the road:
Notice our map has a little extra side trip – the loop off to the left of Egilsstadir? That’s because once we checked into our hotel room, we decided to drive along the lake to a waterfall and have dinner. The fog had come in, so we postponed the hike to the waterfall until tomorrow.
We woke up today in pain… The bed in this motorhome is NOT going to work. We have two choices, drive back and return it (probably without a refund) or go forward with nights spent in hotels.
We chose the latter – it’s more expensive, but we have a refrigerator, a stove and a coffee pot, so we can save on our meals – and we can stop where ever we want to enjoy our meals. More about that later…
So, after obtaining a hotel room for tonight in Hofn, we drove today from Vic to Hofn.
Our first stop was at a scenic location where tourists have created hundreds of cairns. It’s so popular, that the locals have trucked in supplies of stones for the tourists to use!
More shots from the road:
Wow! Iceland is the land of fire and ice, and just a couple of days ago we were surrounded by the evidence of fire. Now we’re heading into the areas of ice, even at the height of summer.
Of course, we already knew that there were a lot of beautiful waterfalls in this country. At first, I diligently found out the name for every waterfall I shot. No longer… Too many to keep track of!
Now we’re so inundated with waterfalls, that we don’t even shoot them all. Seems like the land just continually LEAKS!!!
Here are a few shots from Hofn.
So, here’s today’s lunch stop (by an unnamed waterfall, of course):
And tonight’s dinner stop:
Tomorrow we’re heading to a town we can’t pronounce…Egilsstadir, where we’ll spend two nights. (Time for laundry.)