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. We
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.
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.
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.
door in the photo is to a tunnel that led from his basement to the
Our final stop before arriving at the hotel was to Helgafel Mountain.
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. The
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. We
climbed to the top of a hill to the lighthouse with views of the
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.
Locations Visited Photos Map