Grettislaug - Grundarfjördur
Trip Start Aug 05, 2012
20Trip End Aug 19, 2012
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Nonetheless, we wake up only at 8am. It's not raining any more, but the sky is still pretty low. We leave Grettislaug around 9:15am towards Vatnsnes peninsula.
We first stop at Borgarvirki, which is a volcanic plug (gosstapi), and the Icelandic sagas mention that in earlier centuries it was used for military purposes. At 177m above sea level, it dominates the surrounding region. Made out of basalt strata, it has been used as a fortress for centuries. Borgarvirki is a natural phenomenon, altered by humans in earlier centuries. In 1949, the main entrance was renovated by workers.
We then stop at Hvitserkur, a high basalt rock formation near the eastern shore of the peninsula. Hvitserkur, which translates to "white shirt" and derives its name from being covered in Shag and Cormorant guano, rises 15 metres, or nearly 50 feet from the sea.Once the plug of a volcano, over the years the craters surrounding the rock plug gave way to the pounding Atlantic Ocean leaving only the unusual outcropping Hvítserkur behind. Curiously Hvítserkur itself would have given way to the ocean as well, had its foundations not been shored up with concrete some years ago.Said to look like a dragon drinking from the water, the Icelandic legend has it that it was a troll who forgot to retreat from the light and was turned to stone in the sunrise. The geological oddity was commemorated on an Icelandic stamp in 1990.
We then drive along the peninsula towards Illugastadir which is an excellent location for spotting seals and arctic terns, as a lovely hiking trail leads from the parking lot down to the seashore. Don't forget to bring your binocular though...
We then leave Vatnsnes peninsula and drive to Hvammstangi. On the way, we stop at a wool shop and visit the factory. It is very interesting to discover and know more about that important traditional icelandic industry.
We then drive again to Snaefellsnes peninsula. It has been named Iceland in Miniature, because many national sights can be found in the area, including the Snaefellsjökull volcano, regarded as one of the symbols of Iceland. With its height of 1446 m, it is the highest mountain on the peninsula and has a glacier at its peak. The volcano can be seen on clear days from Reykjavik, a distance of about 120 km. The mountain is also known as the setting of the novel Journey of the Center of the Earth by the French author Jules Verne. The area surrounding Snæfellsjökull has been designated one of the four National Parks by the government of Iceland.
The peninsula is beautiful due to the huge numbers of fjords and islands. Seeing it is definitely one of the many reasons why we came to Iceland and chose this itinerary.
We finally arrived in Grundarfjordur, one of the largest cities in the peninsula, nested between ocen and mountains. The city is almost deserted due to icelandic holidays which makes it even more unreal. We stay in a very comfortable youth hostel in the city center.
After dinner, we go and wander around the harbour and enjoy the amazing sunset light...