Time for the third trip of my break, Iceland.
I woke up early to drive to Luton airport. I’ve not flown from Luton for a while, and it’s not much better than last time I used it. It seems to be trying to serve twice as many flights as it should, so the departures area is jam-packed with people, nowhere to sit, and is generally quite unpleasant. The flight up to Iceland with EasyJet on the other hand was great, mainly as I had no one else in my row!
We landed at Keflavik under some heavy cloud. For the first time ever, I was stopped at customs on the way out! My bags went through a scanner, and I had to show the lady my booking confirmation for my various hotels and guesthouses. Weird. Anyway, the rep from Blue Car Rental was waiting in arrivals with my name on a card, and drove me the short distance to their offices.
I’ve got a decently-specced Kia Sportage- although I’m not going on any “F” roads (most are already closed for winter) the 4WD might be handy on gravel roads in bad weather. Documents signed, I set off towards Reykjavik, passing around the edge and joining the “1” road (the ring road that goes around the whole island) heading north.
For lunch I stopped off at a little bakery in Borgarnes. I had a tasty sandwich (well, once I removed the tomato) of ham, cheese, egg and lettuce, and then decided I’d better have one of their cakes. Good coffee too. If it looks familiar, it’s because it featured as “Papa Johns” in the Walter Mitty movie.
After my snacks, I continued on the way to the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The weather, typically, was getting worse, but I made it to my first stop, the little church at Budir. This tiny little church is perched on the coast in the lava-fields close to an old hotel (well it was old- it burned down in 2001 but was rebuilt to look the same).
From here I continued along the road, pausing to grab a shot of the autumnal mountains. The cloud base is pretty low, so I’ve not seen the top of anything yet!
I carried on to the little village of Arnastapi. There was a walk I was hoping to do here, along the coast path to the next village down, however the weather had reached “utterly-useless” level with horizontal rain in strong gales (reminiscent of Norway, now I think about it…) so I took a quick photo of the interesting cliffs before retreating to the car.
I drove on to the next village (Hellnar), rather than walking there, and took a photo of the church. Not as photogenic as the one from earlier, but still rather quaint- although this one looks a little like it could do with a lick of paint too.
Finally, I headed back the way I came and took the mountain pass road to the northern side of the peninsula towards my overnight stop in Grundarfjörður. The mountain pass turned into a gravel road once I was up in the clouds, so the 4 wheel drive was reassuring (the people I passed in a little Citroen hatchback seemed a bit nervous!)
I chose to stay at Grundarfjörður as it neighbours the Kirkjufell mountain. I’ve not got a picture of that today though due to the weather (I did drive back up the road after checking in but got utterly soaked and nearly blown over as soon as I left the car. I’ll go back in the morning, hopefully things will have calmed down a bit!