Iceland in miniature

Today I explored the Snaefellsnes peninsula, a 50km long strip of land, which juts out into the North Atlantic Ocean just north of Reykjavik.  It is reputed to represent a condensed sample of everything Iceland has to offer – mountains, a glacier, strange lava fields.  And so it proved to be.

The day started bright and sunny, and I immediately after breakfast I left the hotel on foot to admire the pretty small town of Stykkisholmur.  I had arrived here at night, so had missed the colorful houses and view of thousands of islands from the town’s lighthouse.

The port of Stykkisholmur and my ferry (again)
View of the town from the lighthouse
Hundreds of islands in the bay at Stykkisholmur

My road led west along the north side of the peninsula.  There was brilliant sunshine – a rarity on this trip – and I stopped repeatedly to take photos

Strange lava fields….
Beautiful mountains….
Waterfalls….yes this is Iceland in miniature!

………including lots of shots of the distinctive triangular mountain of Kirkjufell, reputedly Iceland’s most photographed mountain.

Endlessly photogenic Kirkjufell

I continued west in the hope that the good weather would continue and I would see the massive Snaefellsjokull glacier that covers the western end of the peninsula, but cloud blew in from the sea, and I found myself driving through mist. I abandoned my plan to drive to the very tip of Snaefellsness, to a spot where you can apparently see whales in the sea – I wouldn’t see more than 100 metres. Instead I made a few small stops, one at Malariff by the sea, where there are more strange lava formations………..

Lava columns – supposed to be two petrified trolls

……….then for coffee with sea view at Hellnar……….

Hellnar – good coffee, an interesting cave (pic), seals and diving birds

……….and finally at Raudflesgja, where a stream emerges from a strange cleft in the mountain. I walked in as far I dared; if you are willing to get your feet wet, it is possible to walk into the cleft for quite a distance.

How far dare you go?

I passed the side road that led up to the glacier, but after some hesitation decided to drive on.  I could already see the upper stretch of this road disappearing into cloud, and I didn’t think I would see anything.  Its true that the Snaefellsnes peninsula is a microcosm of island – not just the scenery, but also the weather.  I had experienced sun, mist and the usual overcast weather all in the same day.

The remaining two-hour drive back to Reykjavik was very boring – along a straight, flat featureless road with low clouds hanging overhead. I then spent another 30 minutes driving through endless suburbs – for a city with a small population, Reykjavik is surprisingly spread out – and reached my hotel in the centre around 6pm. Time for my usual ritual – buy food, cook, and write my blog!

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