Snæfellsjókull and the Snæfellsnes Peninsular

Day 6. 20 June 2004

Sunday. I am first to rise on this morning and at around eight-thirty I take my shower. I then venture out into the garden to photograph the morning. Half an hour or so later Janet and Adi join me. I breakfast and finish writing up yesterday before Signý and Níls join us.

Whilst the rest of the family breakfast and sort out their packing I descend into the cellar and explore the fragile foundations and the precarious beams that hold up the floor above. A coal cellar was down here, along with a buttery where Adi’s grandmother would work used to be down here, I am told.

A little before noon, I head out, once more on the StykkishÓlmur road, though this time in Níls moster jeep, with Kjartan and my two cousins. We leave Janet and Adi at Brautaholt to finish sorting thougs and out and wind their way leisurely back to Reykjavik, whilst we travel round the Snæfellsnes peninsular and across the Snæfelssjókull.

We make good tme on the un-paved roads in the truck with the big wheels and the speedometer that reads 20km/h more than is actually being driven. The drive up is sunny, yet the glacier remains in cloud.

Our route takes us through the fishing town of Grundarfjórður with its little harbour and newly built shops and services, but we turn off in the outskirts to Glafsvik onto a rough mountain tarck that takes up to the foot of the Snæfellsjókull, the peak of which is still cloaked in cloud.

And thus to the decisions: they only take a minimum of 8 to run the snowmobile and we are 5—radioing down the mountain it looks like there is no one else to go on 3 o’clock tour. They could take us on skidoo’s, but these are expensive—6,000 IKR—and then there’s the cloud. If it was blue sky and sunshine, we all agree that there would be no question, but the prospect of paying a lot of money to stand on white glacier in while cloud—it’s not inviting.

In the end we decide to head down the otherside to Arnasapi and Signý Drífa and myself will have a hot chocolate at the café there and then go for a walk round the pretty little harbour there. Níls and Kjartan meanwhile, will go back up to the glacier and go up in the skidoos and ski down.

The hot chocolate is, as always (and to quote from a previous holiday), gorge! WE then walk over to the cliffs to a sculpture of a Viking warrior made from dry stone, a monument to a local family.

Taking a short cut downto the harbour we find ourselves in the thick of arctic terns again, as they mob us and get within inches of strikingus with their clawed feet.

Back on the road we pass a couple of charming, almost Hobbit-like, Shire houses, before we arrive at the harbour, a natural cove of turf-topped cliffs full of gulls nesting. Here, Drífa settles down for a sleep, whilst Signý and I walk on up to the headland and from there round to a lighthouse and a foul smelling cave before returning via a little natural pond.

By now the cloud has lifted from the peak of Snæfellsjókull and, when Níls and Kjartan rejoin us it is with ecstatic tales of their skiing down across the glacier. We move around Breiðavik bay—yes, another Breiðavik—to visit Buðir. This is an old wooden, black painted church, situated precariously between a lava field and the soft, rounded sand dunes and the golden beach beneath, accentuated by volcanic black lava. It is beautiful, and what with the blue sky, turquoise blue sea, golden sound, lush green dunes and he soaring temperatures, were it not for the glacier looming over us, this could so easily be the south of France.

We drive on a little further until I spot another road to the beach from where I correctly imagine that I can take some spectacular photos to illustrate the beauty of this afternoon.

Over the course of the last four or five days I have travelled well over a thousand miles (or once round Iceland’s Route 1) and we all pretty tired. We make for the straight road back to Borganes and from there the Saurbær tunnel and to Reykjavik.

Back at Funafold 13 I shower, and eat supper, plan the next three days in Reykjavik, complete my journal and by 11 o’clock I am ready for bed.

Day Seven: Midsummers Day and a City of Culture…