Barnjafoss, Blönduós, Bogarnes, Bordeyri, Dynjandi, geothermal, greenhouse, Holmavik, Hraunfossar, Hvita, Iceland, Kaffi Kyrrd, Kroksfjardarnes, necropants, Ring Road, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, travel, wanderlust, Westfjords
After breakfast, we left our hostel outside of Blönduós and headed west on the Ring Road. We turned north onto 68 to test out the roads into the Westfjords. The road winds along sea cliffs, many without guardrails. It was mostly clear but areas still in the shade were icy. Every once in a while we would crest a windy hill and lose sight of the sea, only to descend with some steep turns and be right back at the sea again. There were points were I was scared I would have to pass a vehicle and a gust of wind would take us over the cliff and into the sea. As my mom said, “There really is no margin for error.”
We came across Hólmavík which, relatively speaking at least, is a significant town. We not only saw a hostel but also several restaurants which were open. We ended up at Restaurant Galdur where a fat cat named Hippo is “the boss” (but he sleeps at least until noon, so we completely missed meeting him!). There was stuff like pizza and soup on the menu, so we went with the soup: a seafood soup, complete with fish and even mussels. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever had mussels before but I completed my whole meal. I can’t say I’ve been converted either… mussels are just not really my thing…
I was intrigued by the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft, so I paid the $8 admission and checked it out while my mom waited at the restaurant. Some of it was weird and probably gimmicky, but it was still interesting to learn about witch burnings/trials across Iceland and the connectivity between some practices, beliefs, and views on magic. But I’m not so sure how much of it I think is rooted in actual practice, like… the necropants? I haven’t seen any reference to that outside of the museum…
2. Driving the Westfjords
I was hoping to go to Dynjandi and some other sites in that area, but the drive was many more hours than I had in mind and the weather wasn’t too great either. When we left town, it was probably for the better that I mindlessly turned onto the 61 in the wrong direction. This meant we crossed a snowy mountain pass which didn’t seem too bad until the wind picked up. I had to use the markers to keep on the road – the snow was blowing across too heavily. It blocked my view from seeing a few piles of snowdrift that dragged my back tires into a fishtailing motion right as we crested an icy knoll. I let off the gas and downshifted, and the wind calmed down, but we had to watch out after that. At the end of the road, we turned onto 60 in the direction of Króksfjarðarnes. We passed a statue of a sheriff and took some photos of the view, turned back up towards Borðeyri, south on 68, and back along the Ring Road.
3. Hraunfossar & Barnjafoss
We turned east off of the Ring Road and headed up the Hvitá RIver to Hraunfossar and Barnjafoss. Barnjafoss, or the Waterfall of the Children, is actually sad: it’s story is about two siblings who fell in and drowned, so their mother destroyed the bridge that crossed it. Hraunfossar in particular though is a unique falls to see: it runs out of several cascades which pass underneath a lava flow. You can cross the river next to the falls and ascend the hill above them to explore the lava field. On the way out from the falls, we stopped by a geothermally active area that also uses the heat for greenhouses.
4. Bogarnes & the 54
After getting back on the Ring Road, we got off at Bogarnes to take the 54 north and west to our next AirBnb. In Bogarnes, we stopped for groceries and grabbed some quiche at Kaffi Kyrrð (peace/tranquility). Many places in the town were sadly not open for the winter season. We filled up with some fuel and then headed for our AirBnb west on the 54 in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. We got to the farm and were shown our room: an actual bedroom where we shared a kitchen, bathroom, and other living spaces with a small family. In the fridge, there was a pint filled with fresh milk from the barn that is replenished every morning. We basically did some relaxing and unpacking and then went to bed, ready for a long day for our last full day in Iceland.