Iceland – March 20, 2016 (Day 4)

Day 4 Drive Map

Relatively less driving with less luggage in the trunk on Day 4 when we spent the whole time driving around the northern shores of Snæfellsnes Peninsula between the towns of Hellissandur and Stykkishólmur. As usual, the day started with a bit of rain, biting cold, and strong winds and so it was time to chase waterfalls. As we had a good darshan of the Kirkjufellfoss & the Kirkjufell Mountain the previous evening, we decided to hit the Baejarfoss in the town of Ólafsvík first. It was terribly windy when we parked the car behind an apartment building on the southside of the town and took a short hike up to the falls with a little bit scrambling.

Baejarfoss Ólafsvík
Baejarfoss in Ólafsvík (64.8938, -23.718)

After Baejarfoss darshan, we took a very short pit stop in front of the Ólafsvík Football stadium and the church next to it we drove west to the town of Hellissandur.

Ólafsvík School
Ólafsvík Church and Olafsvikurvollur Football Stadium (64.896199, -23.711561)

Hellissandur is a village on the northwest shore of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with a few interesting places to see. One was the Icelandic turf house. Icelandic turf houses were the product of a difficult climate, offering superior insulation compared to buildings solely made of wood or stone, and the relative difficulty in obtaining other construction materials in sufficient quantities. We spent about 20 minutes walking around and inspecting the house from the outside. Also notice along the left edge of the image below the 1350′ communication antenna which is the highest in Western Europe. The structure was built by US army during the cold war. Today the antenna is used by Iceland national broadcast company.

Hellissandur Turf Homes
Hellissandur Turf Home (64.914094, -23.885466)

After visiting the turf home, we headed to the western tip of the peninsula to see the Svörtuloftiviti Lighthouse. After leaving the main road, a smaller but very rough road wound tightly through lava fields for about 15 minutes before we arrived at the beautiful orange structure. The scenery around the lighthouse was spectacular including amazing rock formations. We walked on the lava field for 30 minutes or so socking in the majestic scenery while the weather was switching between sunshine and light drizzle every 5 minutes. As usual, there were just 3-4 couples vising the area. In general, we hardly saw anyone (tourists or locals) during the 2 days we spent in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Skalasnagi Lighthouse Near Hellissandur
Svörtuloftaviti Lighthouse (64.885394, -24.044516)
Rock Formations Near Hellissandur
Rock Formations Near Svörtuloft Lighthouse (64.885412, -24.045343)

It was past 1pm when we drove back to Ólafsvík in search of a restaurant for lunch. Hraun, a restaurant/pub looked enticing from the outside based on the number of cars parked in front of it. We ordered 2 veggie pizzas. After lunch we retraced our route back to Grundarfjörður and no clouds were to be seen anywhere. Along the side of the road we saw a cute red roofed barn next to a farmhouse. By this time, the trio had figured out that the car stops anytime it locates a red or orange colored structure near the road. Bala found a small patch on the side of the road and squeezed the car into it. Out came the camera bag & the tripod. A few shots were taken.

Barn in Grundarfjörður
Grundarfjörður Barn (64°55’33” N 23°12’38” W)

Then we headed out to the northeast section of the peninsula towards the town of Stykkishólmur. Along the way, Susheela spotted 2 Icelandic horses. They were totally uncooperative and were just standing still like statues with showing their butts most of the time.

Icelandic Horse 4
Icelandic Horse (64°57’38” N 23°4’59” W)

We then we drove to Bjarnarhöfn where there was a church built in the 1800s. It was about 15-20 miles from the main road but when we reached there, we did not find much. May be my lat-long was wrong. Anyway, it was a disappointment. Then Bala realized that the car was running on reserve and the nearest gas station was 15 miles away. We were joking that if we ran out of gas we can have Indu, the marathoner, should do a sprint to fetch 2 gallons of gas to get to the gas station. We reached Stykkishólmur by 530pm without any issues. If my mom were in the car, she would have promised breaking 101 coconuts!!! We went to the harbor first to view the small lighthouse.

Súgandiseyjarviti
Súgandiseyjarviti Lighthouse as seen from Stykkishólmur marina (65°4’40” N 22°43’34” W)

It was time for coffee/hot chocolate and toilette break. We walked to the Narfeyrarstofa cafe next to the marina and had the drinks and a carrot cake. Sun was setting and so we quickly went to the  Stykkishólmskirkja church in town to take a few pictures.

Stykkishólmskirkja
Stykkishólmskirkja in Stykkishólmur (65°4’24” N 22°43’30” W)

After picking up groceries in Stykkishólmur Bonus grocery store and filling up gas, we returned to our apartment back in Grundarfjörður. Bala again made salad and spaghetti for dinner. The sky was clearing a bit at around 1030pm and we decided to walk out to the front of the apartment. We saw a Chinese couple  with a cameras mounted on tripods and talking in excited voices. Ha, it should be Aurora Borealis time. Susheela & Indu were good AB spotters and both noticed a slight green pattern in the sky. The Kp index that night was rated a 3. I took my 1st shot of the AB with the Rokinon 24mm f1.4 lens that was purchased just for this occasion. The image on the LCD screen looked pretty good but when I processed the images in Lightroom back in the apartment, excitement quickly turned into a disappointment. The Kirkjufell mountain that was the foreground was not in focus. I trashed all the AB images. It was now time to go to bed imagining Day 5.

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