Iceland Day 12 – Thursday, September 18, 2014
Snæfellsnes Peninsula to Mosfellsbær
We went to breakfast extra early this morning, before 9:00, to
avoid any cheese rationing, but we needn't have worried.
Yesterday's cheese shortage was an aberration, and today they had
stack of it. When you run out of something in Iceland, it can be a
loooong way to the store.
Horses at Gistiheimilið
At 11:00 we checked out of our cute little cabin. It was raining
pretty steadily earlier, but it stopped by the time we left. The
car was making a weird noise yesterday afternoon, and today the
sound was even more pronounced. We pulled over at a little
emergency hut on Rt. 54, and Tom looked under the car and found our
problem – a piece of the undercarriage just behind the bumper was
hanging loose and dragging on the ground. There was no fix to be
done here, so we continued on.
Emergency hut, Rt. 54,
north of Öxi
We turned east on 57 to take a second stab at the scenic drive
between Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur. It was gloomy out, but at
least it wasn't raining like yesterday afternoon. The sugarloaf
mountains in Gjundarfjordur are striking, and as a bonus, I think I
found my next car. I wonder what it will cost to ship it from
Kirkjufell mountain in
Before reaching Stykkisholmur, we turned off the main road onto
577. A side road off the side road leads toward Bjarnarhofn, home
of the Bjarnarhofn Shark Museum. This is a working farm that is
Iceland's leading producer of hákarl (fermented shark meat), a
traditional Icelandic food. Basically, they let the meat of the
otherwise poisonous Greenland shark rot until enough uric acid
(urine) leaves the flesh that it won't kill you to eat it – You'll
just wish you were dead. This is the dish that made Anthony
Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern gag and Gordon Ramsey throw up. If you
take the tour, a bite of this delicacy is included at no additional
cost. No, we did not take the tour. I wasn't even tempted. And you
wondered why we relied so heavily on sandwiches, ramen noodles, and
PB&Js on our journey.
This way to the rotten
Thanks, but no
The road here was rough and gravely, and hence we learned that the
piece of car dragging on the ground is the piece that keeps gravel
from being thrown into the undercarriage. Crap! Something must be
done! But for some reason, Tom didn't want to lay down under the
car right there in the wet gravel, so we limped on down the
We continued to Stykkisholmur, the biggest town on the Snaefellsnes
Peninsula, population 1,100, hoping that we could find a dry,
covered area to pull into. We could not find such a place. Instead,
in the parking lot of the weirdest looking Icelandic church yet,
Tom crawled under the car to try to fix the problem. There was no
fixing it, but he decided he could tie it back in place with a
piece of wire, which of course we did not have.
So next we headed over to the port. Surely there would be a piece
of wire laying around there. There wasn't, but we found a few
strands of string, and Tom manged to rig up a temporary solution.
Maybe we shouldn't have gone on that “F” road yesterday after all!
Actually, this piece was loose when we picked up the car initially,
and Tom pointed it out to the rental agent, but the guy waved us
off like it was no big deal, and we stupidly did not insist that he
write it down. Too bad, because our insurance specifically excludes
damage to the undercarriage. Great.
Anyway, from the port parking lot, we climbed up a hill to a little
lighthouse and were rewarded with great views of dozens of the
hundreds of cute little islets in the bay and views down into
Stykkisholmur and its port. It was raining lightly again, and it
was so windy I had to tie on my knit hat to keep it from blowing
off my head. It looked like our trip might end the way it began,
Tom found a free car wash at a gas station in town and gave our
filthy rental car a good washing, in an effort to not incur an
extra cleaning fee when we turn it in tomorrow, and in hopes that
they might think we actually took good care of the thing. While
there, we got gas yet again.
Leaving Stykkisholmur, we immediately turned onto a gravel road,
and our newly clean car was instantly grimy again. Figures. We
crossed the peninsula going south on 55 through some striking
jagged mountains and then were back to pavement and quickly off the
Passing through Borganes again, the town we'd come through by
accident two days ago when we missed our turn onto the peninsula,
we decided to make one more liquor store run, to prevent any
rationing on our last night. And then Tom washed the car again –
after all, it had been almost a couple of hours since the last car
Twice in two
View from the car
Next we decided to drive around the Akranes Peninsula. The town of
Akranes is located only 10 kilometers from Reykjavik across
Hvalfjordur. You can see Reykjavik from here, but not very well
today with all the gloom.
It's 45 minutes to Reykjavik from Akranes via a 5.7-kilometer
tunnel (1,000 ISK) or an hour and 45 minutes if you drive the coast
of Hvalfjordur. We took the long way and were glad we did, as this
was one of our favorite fjords of trip. And I'm happy to report
that it finally stopped raining, so we could really enjoy it.
Thanks to the tunnel, there was almost no traffic on the road,
despite its close proximity to Reykjavik.
Hvalfjordur has some interesting history. During World War II, it
was an important port for American and British naval vessels, with
over 20,000 soldiers stationed here.
At the village of Brautarholt we turned down a side road for one
last chance at a view of Reykjavik, but the weather just didn't
cooperate. However, we were rewarded with the discovery of a
gorgeous little black church in a dramatic setting.
By 7:00 p.m. we reached our accommodations for the last night of
our trip, 2CozyApartments in Mosfellsbaer, a northern outer suburb
of Reykjavik. This is the second place we stayed that required a
cash payment, 12,000 ISK ($100). We rented the smaller of the two
apartments, a very cute little studio with a flat-screen TV,
kitchenette with free tea and coffee, of course the ever-present
free wifi, and a nice private bath. The lovely proprietress,
Gundrun, on our last night in Iceland, was the first person to warn
us how hot the tap water is here.
Gundrun gave us a discount card for a cafe down the road, but we
stayed in to finish the last of our food supplies. No, we didn't
have Ramen again – We had run out. Rather, we dined on cheese
sandwiches and the random last bits of our groceries.
2CozyApartments (one of
them) in Mosfellsbær
Lounging on our last
Sign our guestbook