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June 28

After a wonderful breakfast buffet at the hotel, we boarded our 19 passenger van and left Reykjavik, heading north along the west coast for the start of our tour around Iceland. Weather was partly cloudy, 54 degrees with very light winds. We drove through the rolling meadows of the verdant Borgarfjordur agricultural district. Hay balesWe passed farms with bales of hay dotting the landscape. Sheep grazed on the hillsides, almost hidden in the tall grass. They were usually seen not in huge flocks, but in family groups of 3-4. Large fields of wildflowers covered the hillsides, especially purple lupine, yellow buttercups and white cotten grass.Field of Lupine

Hraunfossar WaterfallsOur first stop was to Hraunfossar waterfalls. Water from a glacier field seeps out of old lava flows and into the glacier river below. Click here to view a short video of the waterfall.

We then stopped in an active geothermal area where nearly 50 gallons of boiling water per second is emitted. The area has the highest flow of any hot springs in Europe. The hot water is piped to the towns from hot spots.Over 95% of the houses in Iceland are heated by geothermal energy. Geothermal pipeline Some places are starting to use geothermal energy for electric power as well. The place where we stopped was actually a ranch that uses the hot springs to heat their greenhouses where they grow tomatoes.


The first people to come to Iceland were Vikings from Norway. We stopped at the Settlement Center in Borgarnes for lunch and a tour of their interactive museum to learn about the Vikings and how they settled in Iceland. They did not have any written language until the 12th century when the missionaries came in. Then they started to write down stories, called sagas, which had only been previously in oral memories. They used vellum made from cattle as paper and ink from nature. We stopped at the site where one of the most revered saga writers, Snorri Sturluson, lived in the 12th century. He even had a jacuzzi outside his home with water from the nearby hot springs. Ancient spaThe door in the photo is to a tunnel that led from his basement to the jacuzzi.

Our final stop before arriving at the hotel was to Helgafel Mountain. Helgafel MountainIt was considered a sacred hill in heathen times. People were thought to enter the mountain upon their death. An Augustinian monastery was located here from 1184 until the reformation in 1550. The hill is about 330 feet up a rocky slope. We were told that if you climb up without speaking, without looking back and once at the top face east, you will be granted 3 wishes. Naturally, we did the climb. And the view from the top was worth it. In addition, the wild flowers on the hill were really beautiful.

Our home for the next two nights was in Stykkisholmur along the north side of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Stykkisholmur ChurchThe church in Stykkisholmer is another of the very interesting church architectures we've seen in Iceland.After dinner at the Stykkisholmur Hotel, we took a walk around the town and down to the harbor. Group at LighthouseWe climbed to the top of a hill to the lighthouse with views of the area.






To view more photos of our trip to Stykkisholmer, please go to Stykkisholmer Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Snaefellsnes.

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