Iceland Day 6: From the Westfjords to the west side

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Nelson and I just got back into our room. We were sitting in Guesthouse Kast’s lounge since there doesn’t seem to be any hiking trails in the area (Lýsuhól, within Snæfellsbær). Nelson ordered a beer, and I a glass of red wine – it was the same red from Spain as I got in Suðureyri except she poured such a large glass that it was equivalent to 2 glasses. As we had our drinks, Nelson blogged about yesterday’s events while I played a game of scrabble against the iPod. His style is to the point but still interesting and capturing important details. The only thing he missed was when we taunted the Arctic Terms, but we only did this for the sake of capturing the memory of the dive bombing on video.

Yesterday was such a full day. We woke at 7:30AM and didn’t get to bed until 2:30AM – part of the problem with having almost 24 hours of daylight. We didn’t really have a choice if we wanted to see everything before moving on from the Westfjords. In hindsite, this was the correct decision because we didn’t have much time this morning to do much before catching our 12:15PM ferry from Brjánslækur to Stykkisholmur. As we were one of the only guests staying at Hotel Radagerdi, the owner asked us what time we wanted breakfast when we checked in. Knowing that we were going to probably be out late, we opted for 9:00AM. When our alarm went off at 8:30, neither of us wanted to get out of bed. We were so exhausted. But since we could hear our host setting up breakfast, we dragged ourselves out of bed. You know you are getting older when you wake up with body aches from the previous day’s activities. All I can say is that I’m glad I don’t have to play ultimate frsibee any time soon because my legs and back are stiff from kayaking and scaling mountains.

The hotel is 2 years old, but the current owners only purchased the place 5 days earlier. Our room was on the main floor, right next to the reception/common room. The washroom was the strangest one I have encountered. It is best described as a walk-in shower with a toilet and sink. They provide a huge floor squeegee that you can dry the floor with after you have showered, but this also means that you have to move out the floor mat and anything else you don’t want to get wet while showering. This proved to be a bit of a hassle for us, but like always, we make do.

The breakfast was the standard stuff and after we checked out (around 10AM), we decided to try to check out a recommended hot spring pool near the ferry terminal. The pool, Krossholt, isn’t immediately viewable from the road. It’s down towards the beach, and it was deserted. Nelson and I were the only visitors at that hour. This pool costs 500ISK per person, and there is a dressing/shower building. We didn’t have much time as we needed to get to the ferry terminal by 12PM and we arrived at the hot spring pool shortly after 11. I think we had about 30 minutes in total (including showering and changing) and we sped over to the terminal in the nick of time.

Ferry Baldur is the company that takes passengers and cars to and from the Westfjords, with a stop at Flatey Island. Our trip took about 2.5 hours. You can purchase wifi service, though we did not bother. We spent a bit of time on deck enjoying the scenery, but as soon as I got cold, we made our way down to the dining area and grabbed a quick lunch, followed by a quick nap and some silly photos using the various settings on my camera.

After disembarking, we immediately started driving towards Snæfellsnes National Park. Snæfellsjökull (Snæfell glacier) National Park was established on June 28, 2001. The Park’s purpose is to protect and conserve the area’s unique landscape, indigenous plant and animal life as well as important historical relics. On the way, we saw those aggressive terms attacking a horse!

We also stopped and photographed some other birds. I’m not sure which bird or duck this is – I think it’s the Knot or Knutt, but it was funny watching it.

At the info centre, the representative provided us with a hiking map and some of the typical stop areas. There are lots of hiking trails in the park, but we didn’t have time to do all of them, so we decided to stop at the places the rep suggested but will do the actual shorter hikes tomorrow.

The scenery in the West is different from the Westfjords in that there are much more lava rocks and greenery. There’s also less sheep and more horses, probably because it is lusher. We stopped to take photos at a black sand beach, and we managed to find this little café in Hellnar which serves amazing fish soup. The café is only open in the summer, and it’s right on the beach with a fantastic deck. We each ordered a bowl of the delicious soup and we shared a dish of pesto pasta. To warm us up at the end of the meal, I had a swiss mocha and Nelson had a coffee. The view was pretty fantastic – a natural rock arch and interesting rock formations on the water formed by lava flow. We dined to the sounds of the waves and the symphony of sea birds.

After dinner, we headed towards our guesthouse to check-in. This place is clean and fairly new looking. We have some great views, but you do feel very isolated out here. This is the only place in Iceland where we are staying for 2 nights. Luckily we don’t have anything solid booked for tomorrow so we should be able to get good rest tonight (but it is 1:00AM now).

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