We got perhaps our earliest start today, enjoying a traditional Icelandic breakfast from our host, Gretta, before heading out around 9am to explore the Snaefellsjokull peninsula. The day trip is a loop that without stops takes about 2.5 hours to drive, but with side ventures, takes double that time.
One of the first major attractions was the majestic Kirkjufell, which happens to be the photo of the day. I had seen many images of the peak lit up by beautiful sunsets by various photographers, and knew we would see it at some point on our trip. But like Dittifoss, its appearance was somewhat of a surprise! The mountain looks very different depending on where you stand, so until we drove to one particular perspective I had no idea what I was looking at. While many climb the 463-meter peak, it takes ropes and about four hours, so we passed and continued our loop.
Driving around Iceland you see many remnants of past volcanic activity. Lava fields covered in thick, luscious moss are everywhere. Walking on the spongy surface is a strange feeling, almost like being on a trampoline.
Our next stop was an old church towering over the fishing village of Olafsvik. While nothing to write home about, some horses corralled next door were some of the friendliest Icelandic beasts we have encountered. One immediately walked over to us for some attention.
They are such stoic creatures; looking into their eyes feels like they can see inside my soul.
We then made our way through the small fishing village of Hellissandur before entering the heart Snaefellsjokull National Park. As you wrap around the giant glacier, various gravel road offshoots lead down to the ocean. We took one of them to an abandoned old rock structure that made for a nice hike.
The glacier that dominates the park was immortalized in Jules Verne’s classic story Journey to the Center of the Earth. While we could have taken longer exploring the area, it’s clear we are getting a bit tired of being in the car and have become more discerning as to when to stop. Had this part of Iceland been on the front end of our journey, we no doubt would have taken more time here.
The south part of the peninsula was perhaps the windiest of the entire trip, and driving straight took some effort! I can’t even imagine how much fun bikers were having fighting the winds. Although we made a few stops hoping to find lunch, selections were limited and prices steep, so we waited until we got back to Stykkisholmur.
We spent the afternoon playing at a local park, swimming in another geothermal pool, and finalizing the day with dinner at one of the pubs near the dock. Walking back to our room we caught a glimpse of the final sun on the modern looking Christian church overlooking the city.