2 August 2007.
We woke up to see clear skies again. Amazing! After checkout, we headed towards Langjökull. Jökull in the Icelandic language means glacier. The first 25 km were already familiar, but then we turned to the F-road. The roads that are marked with F are usually mountain roads and only good for 4×4 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, we met only 5 cars. The views were amazing. Sometimes it felt like being on the moon.
Langjökull was huge. We turned from the F550 to the base station. It seems that from this place, tours are organized to walk or drive on glaciers. We drove to Langjökull and enjoyed the view—this is when you feel how powerful nature is! Although it was quite cold (+5 Celsius) and there was an extra strong cold wind, I really enjoyed being there.
After the stop at Langjökull, we head towards Snæfellsnes. As suggested in the guidebooks, we made a stop at Hraunfossar. This is an amazing fall. The first impression is that water comes just out of the wall. Beautiful. It was similar to Seven Sisters’ Fall in Geiranger Fjord, Norway. Although this was lower, with more falls.
Another fall, Barnafoss, was just next to Hraunfossar. The story of that fall was sad and oppressive. The name means “Childrens’ 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 20 km from Hraunfossar, we made a stop in Reykholt. Reykholt is one of the most notable historical sites. It is a cultural center, a church, and a vicarage. We actually turned into the village as we saw beautiful churches-one very modern and new (Iceland’s newest, built in 1996), and another just next to it, wooden, small, and old. The area is most famous for being home to 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 named after him—Snorralaug.
We had a late picnic lunch at Deildartunguhver (Icelandic names are truly difficult), Europe’s biggest hot spring. At Deildartunguhver, 180 liters of boiling water bubble from the ground every second. This hot spring provides the whole region with its hot boiling water, and a 64-kilometer long pipeline goes to the nearest towns, Borgarnes and Arkanes. An excess heats the greenhouses. We also bought some tomatoes from the box at the hot spring and left 100 kroner as requested.
After Reykholt, it seemed to us that the day had already been very long and full of perfect moments. The whole drive from Reykholt to Grundarfjordur was really scenic, deep blue sea, beautiful Nordic mountains, fjords, sheep, wild horses.
We checked into our pre-booked 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 an excellent location to explore Snaefellsnes, and the hotel itself was solid. 2007 is the first full year in charge for the current management. The hotel was really good-nice spacious rooms, friendly staff, and excellent food. The manager welcomed us personally and gave us suggestions on how to get the most out of Snaefellsnes.
On the first evening, he suggested we climb either Kirkjufell or Eyrarfjell mountains. He promised that there would be marked trails. Kirkjufell is considered to be the most beautiful mountain in Iceland. I can agree that this 463 meter high mountain looks unusual, so separate from other mountains and the blue-blue sea in the background, beautiful and classic. But what we did not find were the marked trails. Later, it appeared that in Iceland, the marked trail means something totally different than in Switzerland.
We drove to another suggestion—Eyrarfjall. This mountain is 352 meters high. It was said by the hotel manager that there would 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 for advice. The host showed us directions and said that he and his wife would follow us shortly.
The climb up was difficult, but interesting. We eventually got the company, which made things much easier because we knew we were on the right track. As the weather was clear, we had excellent views of the 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 did it, I ran too. It was great fun, and the whole experience was one of the highlights of our Iceland trip.
We had dinner at our hotel. There was a day’s special menu which included grilled codfish. This was really delicious. We can suggest that the kitchen in Framnes can meet the highest demands. By the end of the day, we realized that even though we had only been in Iceland for 2.5 days, the memories we had accumulated equated to a much longer vacation.