Sept 19 The Arctic via Iceland & Paris: Part 3 ICELAND – N West of Reykjavik

PART 3 – N West Iceland – coast:

So, by-passing Reykjavik we continued up the North West route of the Ring Road heading for Borgarnes & Stykkisholmur. It was still raining 🙁 no let up in sight nor in the forecast which was a bit depressing – on the other hand it made for some magic cloud photos.

We travelled past & through vast landscapes and high hills & low valleys – farms very far apart – lots of sheep & horses –

We were heading that day for Borgarnes for one night – this was also a town of some size but not a city – we had planned to avoid the toll tunnel and to go around Hvalfjordur “lake” – in the event we missed the turn off and suddenly found ourselves entering an inconspicuous entrance which then promptly descended into the depths at some gradient and then flat for a considerable length before the long climb up and out the other side. Wow – that was some tunnel – in the event there was no toll but we made a note of the turn off so that we could go around on the way back – which was well worth it. The whole coast line is jagged with lots of inlets so we went via akranes and up and over various mountains before coming down into Borgarnes over a long bridge into the town.


They do love their stainless steel structures

The town was busy with a pretty church perched up on the hillside, an eclectic coffee shop with oil paintings stuck on the ceiling facing down LOL – and a very good restaurant as recommended by the hotel owner. The hotels we stayed in were all 3, poss 4 star type, whilst nothing exceptional, were well appointed & clean with good facilities and of course with free wi-fi.

The Icelandic people are quite serious, maybe a bit dour, but that sounds unfair and they certainly have bounced back from the 2008 crash. One wonders what the effect of 3.5 million tourists is doing to their society, this has a total country population of about 360,000 people – but every so often you meet one who has bounced off the wall and is a loon – hence this cafe – super nice it has to be said.

The spartan Churches are everywhere, a minimum of decoration

I think you would need to be quite stoic to live under such constantly shifting clouds – they seem to have occasionally 4 seasons in an hour LOL – It must be depressing to have only 3 hours daylight in winter.

We walked around the town quite a bit then drove back over the long bridge to the other side to walk on the tundra and marvel at the colours of the flora.

Panoramic of the bay

The hill opposite town

At farms all the buildings cluster together

When you get to junctions on the ring road, turning off, they often have these helpful & colourful signs

Another heavy sky

The Tundra

Borgarnes at night – cell pic

Next day after a good breakfast we set off again, but decided not to take the direct route to Stykkisholmur, but rather heading for the coast and work our way around all the inlets & coves – dirt roads –
On the Road, still tar at this stage:

Travelling through the land – and yep this really was this green

Plenty opportunities to do “silky” water !

Isolated Farm community church – you see them all over the place –

Rushing waters

Peninsula Map – if you look at towards the tip you see that the thick road goes across – in fact it doesn’t, it is the glacier road which is closed; you have to go all the way around through the Park which is very nice – of course being me in spite of a sign saying road impassable & closed I went up 10kms to the top and whilst a rough road it was perfectly passable – what might have awaited us on the way out on the other could have been another matter so I turned back from the top at what there is of a glacier – not much – and came back down to the coast road. Had I been in my Cruiser I would have gone on; but with the crap light-weight Nissan – who knows…………

In Stykkisholmur before going off around the peninsula

More steel structures plus we came across the “Ocean Diamond” in port sailing under different colours – we went on this boat in 2015 to The Antarctic with Quark – it was quite a nostalgic moment for us.

Cliff top and taken from the top

Lamp in working order

Another church

In Town

Another Church enough said !

View from our hotel

Walk around at night – safe everywhere especially in Reykjavik – such a pleasure

So back on the winding road around the Peninsula

More waterfalls at the turn off to the Glacier (closed) road

Glacier road

The top

Like previous photo not much glacier left at the moment

Turning back to come down to the coast road, some magnificent views

At the coast again

More Amazing falls – countless –

Coastline in the national Park – no entrance fee

So many light houses and look outs around the coastline – very rocky –

A Little sandy cove

A hole in the wall – well we’ve one of those too 🙂

Crashing Waves and yet more water

Having travelled all the way around the peninsula I wanted to go back East a bit to a gravel pass road that we had previously travelled on as I had seen briefly an idyllic little church down on a farm right on the lake and I wanted to find the access road.

What a place for a farm

Some of the graves record that people lived over 100 years of age – must be the clear air and all the fish LOL

The church was locked ! Picture taken through window

The Vicar & his two vergers came to check us out 🙂

What a spectacular position

The tip of the lake – road comes down to water level

Sunset back in Stykkisholmur – lovely town with some good restaurants – very friendly

Next day we have to head back to Reykjavik and hand the car back and go to a different hotel to join up with our group of 64 people who will be flying to Constable Point in Greenland tomorrow to join the boat sailing for the arctic. We take the direct route south travelling on what the GPS hilariously says “Continue on THE ONE” – we find the turn off road before the toll road & tunnel to travel around Hvammsfjordur.

Lake side Chapel

What a place to be buried……..

Around the lake – sleepy now with just the odd tourist – but must have been extremely busy before they put the tunnel in.

Around the other side


Back on “THE ONE” we head back into Reykjavik and into traffic – stop off at our new Hotel which is called “The Grand” – quite so – not; – a typical pretentious modern hotel – this was a Holiday Inn once upon a time – nuff said. Anyway drop our bags off; we thought the weather was clearing but by the time we got to hertz the heavens opened again. They had the courtesy to drop us off but being after 4.00pm the traffic was a nightmare – who would think that Iceland would have traffic issues. The Hotel is sadly a bit further out of town but still walking distance – we are booked to come back here for a few days after we come back from the Arctic – wish we were going back to our nice small hotel that we stayed at on arrival – oh well – we go off to the fish & chips restaurant but this time splash out on a bottle of wine – don’t ask LOL

To follow in due course PART 4 The actual Arctic

PHOTO ALBUM for this report: North West Iceland: Google PHOTOS N West Iceland

Previous: Part 1 – Paris – PARIS REPORT

Paris Photo album: Google album Paris

Part 2: Iceland South East Coast – South East Iceland REPORT

Photo Album South East Iceland: PHOTOS S East Iceland