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June 29, 2014

We left the hotel at 8:30 for our trip around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. It is named for the 5000 foot mountain that is capped by a glacier. The area marks the entry point to Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Unfortunately, the clouds hung low over the mountain all day (which we understand is typical) so we could not see the top. But fortunately the weather cooperated for our activities with only a short drizzle during one of our hikes. It is still cool with light winds but everyone came prepared for the weather.

Sheep beside the bayOur first stop was on the south side of the peninsula in the town of Boudir. In the old days, this was the sight of a marketplace where merchants traded with the fishermen who brought their catches in for goods. We walked down to the beach where we saw some sheep lying by the water's edge. Again the wildflowers were abundant and the lava outcroppings made for some dramatic sights.Wildflowers in lava

Kittiwake NestA little further down the road we stopped at the abandoned fishing village of Arnarstapi for a 1.5 mile hike to the town of Hellnar. The hike was really interesting as it was on the bluffs above the ocean. Initially we passed huge lava cliffs with nests of Kittiwakes, Fullmars and Cormorants. Lava ArchesThen the trail took us over and through lava fields with views of interesting formations along the coastline. In Hellnar we had lunch at a cute little restaurant whose specialty was a delicious fish soup, homemade bread and a yummy blueberry mousse-like pie for dessert. Our bus met us there so we didn't have to hike back.


Extinct VolcanoAfter lunch, we continued around the tip of the peninsula and headed back along the north side. Although we could not see the Snaefellsnes Glacier we did see many other cones of extinct volcanoes and lots of waterfalls.

We then stopped in Dritvik for a hike down to the beach. Hike to beach at DritvikThis was the largest spring fishing station in Iceland. The bay is surrounded on three sides by lava. The beach was the main landing site for fishing boats (rowing). 40-60 boats were based here with 200-600 men working. Beach at DritvikThe beach still has the remains of the 10 fishing huts and fishing gear scattered about. They are considered historical artifacts so cannot be moved.




Greenland Shark Aging on RacksOur final stop was to a shark farm where they age Greenland Shark meat. The fish is poisonous unless prepared in this way and it is considered an Icelandic delicacy. It is served with a cube of rye bread, then the cube of shark, followed by a shot of Brenniven (Black Devil) which is a strong 35 proof potato alcohol. The shark wasn't bad but we really enjoyed the Brenniven! To see a short video of Fred sampling the shark, click here.

We made it back to the hotel about 5:30 after a very interesting day. Some folks took the optional boat ride around the bay but we opted for a very nice dinner in town.


To view more photos from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, please go to Snaefellsnes Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Akureyri.

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