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Langjökull, going to Snæfellsnes


2 August 2007

We woke up and it was clear skies again. Amazing! After checkout we headed towards Langjökull. Jökull in Icelandic language means glacier. First 25 km was already familiar, but then we turned to F-road. The roads are marked with F are usually mountain roads and only good for 4X4 driving as they have a surface of loose gravel. The traffic is not busy in Iceland, but at F550 it was really rare. During 42 km-s we met only 5 cars. The views were amazing. Sometimes it felt like being on a Moon.

Langjökull was huge. We turned from the F550 to the base station. It seemed that from this place tours are organised to walk or drive on glacier. We drove to Langjökull and enjoyed the view - this is then you feel how powerful the nature is! Although it was quite cold (+5Celsius) and extra strong cold wind, I really enjoyed being there.

After the stop at the Langjökull we head towards Snæfellsnes. As suggested in the guidebooks, we made a stop at Hraunfossar. This is amazing fall. First impression is that water comes just out from the wall. Beautiful. It was alike to Seven Sisters' Fall in Geiranger Fjord Norway. Although this was lower but with more falls.

Another fall - Barnafoss - was just next to Hraunfossar. The story with that fall was sad and oppressive. The name means Children's fall. There used to be a rock arch over the river Hvita, but two children were swept off it to their deaths during Christmas time, so the beautiful waterfall got its name.

Just about 20km from Hraunfossar we made a stop in Reykholt. Reykholt is one of the most notable historical sites. It is a cultural center, church and vikarage. We actually turned in to the village as we saw beautiful churches - one very modern and new (Iceland's newest, built in 1996), an other just next to it, wooden, small and old. The area is most famous for being home for Snorri Sturluson (1178-1241). Snorri is Iceland's best known author, poet and scholar. He has written many Viking Sagas. We also saw an ancient thermal pool which is named after him - Snorralaug.

We had a late picnic lunch at Deildartunguhver (Icelandic names are truly difficult), Europe's biggest hot spring. 180 litres of boiling water bubbles from the ground every second at Deildartunguhver. This hot spring provides the whole region with its hot boiling water, 64km long pipeline goes to nearest towns Borgarnes and Arkanes. An excess heats the greenhouses. We also bought some tomatoes from the box at the hot spring and left 100kronas as requested.

After Reykholt it seemed to us that the day has been already very long and full of perfect moments. The whole driving from Reykholt to Grundarfjordur was really scenic, deep blue sea, beautiful Nordic mountains, fjords, sheep, wild horses.

We checked in to our prebooked hotel Framnes in Grundarfjordur. Honestly, the hotel was not our first choice. But as the most highly rated and suggested hotel in Hellnar was fully booked, we booked this. Looking backwards - we were just lucky, I believe this is excellent location to explore Snaefellsnes and the hotel itself was solid standard. 2007 is the first full year in charge for the current management: The hotel was really good - nice spacious rooms, friendly staff an excellent food. The manager welcomed us personally and gave suggestion how to get most out of Snaefellsnes.
Eyrarfjall Climb

Fist evening he suggested us to climb either Kirkjufell or Eyrarfjell mountains. He promised that there will be marked trails. Kirkjufell is considered to be the most beautiful mountain in Iceland. I can agree that this 463 meters high mountain looks unusal, so separately from other mountains and blue-blue sea at the background, beautiful and classic. But what we did not found, were the marked trails. Later it appeared that in Iceland the marked trail means something totally different than in Switzerland.

We drove to an other suggestion - Eyrarfjall. This mountain is 352 meters high. It was said by the hotel manager that there will be marked trails up and climbing takes about 1,5 hours. After that you can run down in 4 minutes. Again, we did not find any marked trails. But we noticed some people at one of the farms and asked the advice. The host showed us directions and said that he and his wife will follow us shortly.

The climbing up was difficult, but interesting. At one point we got the company and then it was much easier - we knew that we are on track. As the weather was clear, we had excellent views on Snæfellsnes peninsula and even Snæfellsjökull was well spotted. At the top of Eyrarfjall we signed in the guestbook (you will find it in the mailbox) and then it was time to run down. At first I was frightened. But when I saw how easily the others do it and I ran too. It was true fun and the whole climbing was one of the highlights of our Iceland trip.

We had a dinner in our hotel. There was a Day's special menu which included grilled codfish. This was really delicious. We can suggest that the kitchen in hotel Framnes can serve highest demands. By the end of this day we really felt that although we have been in Iceland only 2,5 days, the memories we have got so far equaled for much longer vacation.