Ilaria and J's Photo PageIlaria's Page    J's Page
Iceland in winter Day3 Borgarnes, Deildartunguhver, Revkholt, Snaefellsnes, and Olafsvik
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
IMG  8057
We woke up early on our third day in Iceland,
 
Rekjavik church
checked out the view from our hotel room, and headed downstairs
 
IMG  8063
for Icelandic breakfast.

lunch meat, hard-boiled egg,
 
IMG  8064
muesli.
 
IMG  8072
Then we said goodbye to the really nice hotel we stayed in,
 
IMG  8074
goodbye to the church that by now I'd photographed about 20 times (strange they have a Leif Erikson statue out front instead of a religious person),
 
IMG  8081
goodbye to the cute little city
 
IMG  8084
of Reykjavik.
 
IMG  8085
And we headed back
 
IMG  8087
to the Ring Road!
 
IMG  8093
We started the day with sun, clear skies,
 
IMG  8104
and ice-free roads.
 
IMG  8109
I liked this
 
IMG  8112
long tunnel.
 
IMG  8122
J in the side-view mirror, Iceland out the window.
 
IMG  8125
Who lives in these solitary houses by the mountains?
 
IMG  8136
Like most of our journey, the ring road followed the coastline this morning. As we approached this bay, the water was settled enough to be a mixture of ice and water.
 
Map of Iceland day 3  1
Our first stop was the city of Borgarnes.
 
IMG  8138
Where we stopped at the
 
IMG  8157
Settlement Museum.

It was a tiny museum; like everything in Iceland it was expensive. However, I think it was worth the price, because it had a great explanation about how all Icelanders are basically descendants of a handful of Norsemen around 900AD. They've also kept great genealogies over the years, and many folks in the country can trace their roots back to the founding of the country.

The best part of the trip was that Þorleifur Geirsson was working there. During the warmer months when Iceland has more than a handful of tourist, he runs a tour company - Hvítá travel. Þorleifur was very knowledgeable about the area and suggested we checkout out a couple sites in the area, which ended up being really good.
 
IMG  8201
The first of the two sites was Deildartunguhver (good thing I don't have to pronounce any of these words), which is Europes largest hot spring.

How do you find a hot spring in the winter?
 
IMG  8167
Look for the giant snowless patch of grass with steam pouring out.
 
IMG  8159
The 212F water is piped out to the neighboring towns
 
IMG  8195
where it is used for fossil-fuel-free heating.
 
IMG  8170
When you got up close the water was just boiling away; it is really something to see all of that heat when 100 feet away there is only snow and ice. It was also nice that we had the place to ourselves.
 
IMG  8172
The steam was full of sulfur though, so after we'd had a noise full
 
IMG  8192
we walked across the
 
IMG  8199
lava gravel
 
IMG  8177
to the Suzuki.
 
IMG  8207
We then headed on the slightly icy roads to the town of Revkholt.
 
IMG  8231
Where we saw Snorralaug.
 
Snorralaug
Snorralaug (Snorri's bath) was mentioned in Icelandic Sagas dating back almost 1000 years.
 
Map of Iceland day 3  2
 
IMG  8221
After a quick look at the town's old
 
IMG  8222
and new churches,
 
IMG  8220
we left Snorri (here's his statue) and his bath
 
IMG  8237
to head back to the
 
IMG  8246
Ring Road.
 
IMG  8248
We then headed west to leave the Ring Road and explore the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Here we saw our first glacier on the top of Snæfellsjökull volcano.
 
IMG  8256
As far as you could see the landscape was only snow-covered lava -- pretty neat.
 
IMG  8257
We began running low on gas, so I drove into the town of
 
IMG  8260
Arnarstapi.

Like many European towns, there was only an unattended gas station (i.e. no one worked there, you just pay by VISA and pump your own gas). The snow was pretty deep around the gas pumps and you could tell that the station's main users were snow-mobiles.

I figured our super-Suzuki 4WD could handle the snow (and with an experienced deep-snow driver it probably could have), and proceeded to get stuck, just a few feet to far away from the pumps to get any gas.
 
IMG  8261
After much trying, Ilaria managed to back the Suzuki out of the snow I got us stuck in.
 
IMG  8278
And with a trickle of gas left, we drove the windy snow-covered mountain roads across Snæfellsnes to the north end of the peninsula
 
IMG  8281
to arrive in the fishing town of
 
IMG  8282
Ólafsvík.
 
Map of Iceland day 3  4
 
IMG  8285
We were pretty much
 
IMG  8287
the only tourists around.
 
IMG  8288
We took a little walk around the city
 
IMG  8290
and considered swimming in their public swimming pool, but changed our minds.
 
IMG  8297
 
IMG  8302
Ólafsvík is a popular place in the summer time, but at this time of the year it was only Ilaria myself and a few (mostly foreign) fisherman in the town's motel.
 
IMG  8306
Even the town's restaurant wouldn't serve us. The meal they were serving was for the fisherman only, which struck the American part of me as strangely uncapitalistic given that the restaurant was half empty and seemed to have overflowing amounts of yummy food on their buffet.

So we retired to our hotel room and ate crappy sandwiches for dinner again.