Day 4/10 – Part 1/3

Akureyri -> Grundarfjordur

This morning I get up early, although it doesn’t go easy. Got to bed a bit too late yesterday. Today I return to the south, to Grundarfjordur on the Snaefellsness Peninsula. I haven’t been there before. Yesterday I already booked a room in this hotel: Hotel Framnes. One of the things I intend to see there is Kirkjufell, a bizar shaped mountain. There is also the Kirkjufellsfoss, a waterfall with three streams very close to the mountain. I have seen nice photographs from that combination and would like to do some work there as well.

Once back in the car I have to find a way to attach the GoPro somewhere in front of the wind shield. But so at first sight I can’t see that many possibilities. I start again with the sun protector, but whatever I try I can’t get the camera in the right position. The only thing possible seems to be to mount it upside down, but even then I still get a major part of the dashboard into view.

The next thing I try is to mount it on the mirror, but that doesn’t work at all. After having another look around, I notice a small cabinet on top of the dashboard (to put your glasses in?). It’s possible to open the cover but it’s not very stable. After having tried everything, the best option seems to be to mount the camera on top of the cover as tight as possible and then to close the cover. Now, I only have to find a way to keep that cover closed. Something to tie it up with, hmmm what do I have here, ah floss wire. That should work. Wire around the cover and then down bound to the two turning knobs of the radio. Looks rediculous but seems to work (-;

The camera will shoot during the whole trip (at least that’s what I hope) a photo every 5 seconds.

Vatnsnes Peninsula

It will take about 4-5 hours driving and it occurs to me that a lot of the snow of a couple of days ago has already gone. Now it’s primarily brown grass Im seeing. After two hours driving I notice a sign with a map for a little excursion to the smallest peninsula before the Western Fjords, the Vatsnes Peninsula. It doesn’t seem to be a too long detour and it’s only 11:30, still having lots of time left. It looks like its about 35-40 kilometers, one hour maybe.

After a while I arrive at a sign indicating a numbered road, while the road straight ahead doesn’t have a number. With the map still in my head I continue straight ahead. The road becomes narrower and narrower and has many turns and ups and downs, sometimes with even 18% and sometimes sheets of ice and loose snow. I’m wondering whether I’m driving the right way. It continues and continues while not having much progress on the GPS.

After half an hour driving I have only completed less than a fifth. While I have still a little less than 3/4 of the fuel, I start to worry a bit about it. This morning I covered 200 kilometers, yesterday evening another 100 and the indicator seems to go faster to the left now than it used to do a little while ago. That distance I estimated from the map doesn’t seem to be right at all. I don’t feel like returning now either. I decide to continue for another 20 kilometers and then there has to be another road or a while turn around after all.

After a while I reach a T-split, 35 kilometers left to end up on the main road again or ? kilometers to the right to complete the detour. This road is much wider, and I think I should have taken that other numbered road, which most probably comes in from the left. Going right I should reach the most northern tip of the peninsula after about 30 kilometers. If that’s correct I can return to the main road via the other side. If it proves to be much longer I will turn around. I intend to end up on the main road with at least half a tank of fuel.

Via this road is going much faster and soon I’m at the most northern tip of the peninsula. At a certain point I get out for a short stop at a location where there should be seals, but I don’t see them. There is almost no wind and no sound either. Unimaginably quietness which is only disrupted by a screaming seagull in the distance once in a while. Such a difference with al that noise at home. I really like it, and would just want to stay here for a while, just to enjoy the sea view and the silence. But I’m not even halfway and I don’t want to have to look for my hotel in the dark tonight, so I guess it’s better to continue.

A bit further I notice a small lighthouse with an Icelandic horse in front of it. These horses are a lot smaller than those at home. They have a 4th and sometimes even a 5th gear. The latter I didn’t know. Besides walk, trot and galop they also can walk in tölt and sometimes amble.

Together they are forming a nice composition. It’s impossible to avoid the electric wiring without ruining the composition, so it just has to do.

Vatnsnes Peninsula

Vertical comes out the best. The mountains in the back are the most northern part of the Western Fjords.

Vatnsnes Peninsula

Meanwhile it has become clouded so the light isn’t that good. Hereafter I continue to the main road. A small slippery sheet of loose snow on a descending road is the only tricky part I encounter. All in all, this detour has taken 2 hours and I still have a little over a half tank left. Should be enough.

Grundarfjordur

After another two hours of driving I’m at the hotel. In half of the room I have to watch out not to bump my head on the sealing. The lady behind the desk asks me whether I want to join a boat tour tomorrow. I say ’Boat tour, to where?’. ’Watching whales’, she says. ’Whales?’, ’Yes Orca’s, we are having them here in the fjord’. Nice, yep I do want that. Booked immediately.

Kirkjufell appears to be here just on the other side of the harbour. I already saw it earlier, when I arrived here. Thought that it was located a bit more towards the west. Handy. I start searching for Kirkjusfellsfoss, the small waterfall that must be closeby, immediately. I find it quicky, but the light is ugly right now. Maybe it will be better in the morning.

Driving further I start looking for something else and I find that only a few kilometers down the road. A long cliff in the ocean being nicely illuminated by the sun.

Grundarfjordur

After a couple of photos I start driving back, because I notice that this side of Kirkjufell has come in nice light meanwhile. A good spot for a couple of photographs is easy to find, a rocky shore, ice on top of the water a couple of hundred meters from the mountain.

Kirkjufell

The ice at sea is moving and is making cracking noises. At first I’m thinking that it’s caused by seals surfacing between the ice and pushing away pieces of ice but it appears that it’s just caused by the tide and the waves that are crushing the ice.

Kirkjufell

I decide to stay here for a while, waiting for the sun to set.

Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell

One and a half hours and a lot of photos later, the sun is only halfway up the mountain. I’m having a couple of icy feet and decide to call it quits. The mountains behind which the sun is setting, are much higher than Kirkjufell, so nothing exciting is going to happen here.

Around 19:30 I attend dinner, fish of the day is Halibut with roasted potatoes. Tastes very good. I read for a bit, but soon it’s starting to get darker outside and the Northern Lights are never out of my mind. I had better go outside. While getting up I fall off my chair. Before I know what’s happening I find myself sitting on the ground. The people next to me are startled. Completely in thoughts I apparently thought I was sitting on a bench and moved myself to the right, but there was nothing, because I was actually sitting on a chair. Unbelievable. I tell them ’Thought that I was sitting on a bench’, but they look at me like they think I’m completely crazy. I better get out immediately.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Iceland Winter 2013, Day 04

Download the original gpx file here.

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