Today I woke up to a pleasant surprise. It was slightly sunny, and it was now possible to view the magnificent Patreksfjordur from my living room. I hurried to pack and set off whilst the good weather lasted, since the weather forecast was from cloud (meaning rain). My destination was Laftrabjarg, the far westernmost tip of Iceland, located 46km down a track off the main road. As often happens here, the road was initially good, and then turned into an unsurfaced track.
Halfway to my destination, I stumbled across a museum of regional history and the wreckage of an American military plane – there was no explanation of how the latter got there.
I didn’t have time to visit the museum and continued my route. The road got rougher and rougher, but after a bumpy ride I finally rolled into the car park at the end of the track, and the very end of Iceland – and of Europe. Across the sea, somewhere, there was Greenland.
Laftrabjarg is famous for its cliffs, where in summer millions of sea birds, including puffins, nest in safety away from arctic foxes. It was the end of August, and the birds had gone, but the cliffs were still impressive. A path led up from the car park along the cliff, and a I went for a walk. It continues for at least 14km, but I only had time for a short one-hour hike. It was a strange walk – the views were better, and the wind was stronger, at the bottom. Further up, the wind was gone, but the cliffs lay hidden from view for those like me that didn’t dare go too close to the edge. I turned back regained my car and retraced my journey. The way back seemed even more scenic than the way out, and I took lots of pictures.
My next destination was on the same picturesque peninsula. A side road led steeply up the mountain and descended equally steeply on the other side to the sweeping bay called Raudasandur. The place is named after its beach’s red sand (which looked orange to me) and was one of the most scenic spots I had visited so far in Iceland. The weather was still partially sunny, and the sun would occasionally light up the brilliant colours of the sand, the sea, or the mountains surrounding the bay. I strolled aimlessly through the grass and along the beach, enjoying the sensation of walking on soft grass or wet sand rather than hard volcanic rock.
Too soon, it was time to go. I was booked on the ferry to take me from the Westfjords back to the Icelandic mainland, a shortcut that would save me several hours difficult driving around lonely Icelandic roads. The ferry marked an important point in my trip – a return to the beaten track of the main tourist circuit, the beginning of my trip back home, and a return to certainty – I would no longer need to worry that my struggling car might break down on a steep mountain road and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere. The lonely Westfjords had been one of the highlights of my Iceland trip, maybe because they are so remote – only 6% of tourists coming to Iceland visit them.
The ferry sailed for three hours, navigating its way through a calm sea sprinkled with hundreds of small islands to reach the town of Stykkisholmur in the dark at 9pm. I just had time for a drink and to write up my blog before bed.