The next morning we got up in Hvammstangi with a plan to scope out the seals. Turns out that there is only the Iceland Seal Centre but no seals in Hvammstangi. We drove up to Illugastadir to find seals… actually the girl told us Svalbard. Again we saw seals basking in the sun on rocks out in the water. No great up close experience.
As there was only two nights left, we needed to make a decision. We decided that it would take more time than we had to see the West Fjords (that big arm in the north west). So, we skipped it and headed for the Snaefellnes Peninsula. Nic had done lots of reading on this peninsula and had several things she wanted to see. It was a beautiful drive but honestly we did not do a whole lot of sightseeing. We overnighted in Hellissandur.
There was more to see on the south side of the peninsula. In particular, we drove up this extremely steep gravel road to Snaefellsjokull glacier. It was only a 7 km drive but the road was narrow and there was pulling over to allow others to pass. At the top, there was two vans for search and rescue and one guy sleeping in one. The others were hiking way up at the top. We assumed it was training. Other people brought their downhill skis and were hiking up the glacier and skiing down. Some guys had snowmobiles and they were going to drive up and ski down. It is easy to see why they need search and rescue.
After the very hair-raising drive up the glacier road, we decided we were going to go looking for an amazing waterfall near Husafell. The water comes out of the rocks (not on top of them) for a stretch of about 1 km. The water has passed through a lava field and is glacial melt water. It is pretty spectacular. We camped in Skorradalshreppur. A small campground that seemed mostly to have locals.
The next morning (after our last night of camping), we got a flat tire. I am not sure what caused it. I swear we had been on terrible roads for 11 days. I do not think our Icelandic adventure would have been complete without getting a flat. The hardest part of the job was getting the spare off the bottom. The bolts were so rusted it was very difficult removing them. One of the bolts broke while I was trying to remove it. It took me about 45 minutes or so to get the job done. In the end I was dusty and greasy.
We drove to Bogarnes to get the tire repaired. It took about 30 minutes and cost less than $50 CAD. We were expecting a more expensive cost. From Bogarnes we drove back to Keflavik to return the campervan. The guy seemed impressed that we had repaired the tire. And my system to hold the bracket where the bolt had broken, was to use a pair of my socks to tie it all up together. It held perfectly.
For our last three nights in Iceland, we booked an AirBnB in Reykjavik. We rented a car from the airport because it was cheaper than the airport shuttle for two. It was $72 CAD for three days for a Hyundai i10. It is very small but actually it had a lot of leg room for me. We had to put our backpacks in the back seat…. They would not fit in the trunk 😉
When we checked in at the AirBnB, there was no one here. Nic washed a couple of things in the sink. Then I went to wash my sweater that I had been wearing for days. A Russian man came in and started yelling at me. I suspect to him he was not yelling, but it sure seemed that way to me. He was intense and there were lots of rules to review. It is his home and he has high expectations about how he wants things kept. Needless to say, his first impression made us very uncomfortable and apprehensive. Nic read all of the reviews and they are all about Rudolph. On our last night he came around and was quite pleasant. He was chatty with us while we had dinner.
We spent one day in Reykjavik touring around. First, there as an air show on at the city airport so we went and acted like we were locals. Kind of cool to see an air show. Then we went and did a free walking tour. There are a couple of companies in Reykjavik that do them so it was a matter of picking the one with the best timing for us. We always find these tours interesting. Then giving a tip in the end is our way of paying them but it can be based on whether we thought it was good or not. It was very informative.
Today was our last full day in Iceland. We left the Golden Circle for our last day. We picked up a hitchhiker, Beth from the UK, and she ended up spending a few hours with us as we made our way around. There were two major sites to see… Geysir and Gullfoss. Geysir is just that… a geyser that erupts every six minutes with steam from inside the ground. Gullfoss is a spectacular waterfall that has two distinct stages. The sign informs people that in wildness and fury it outdoes the Niagara Falls of the United States…. Someone please tell them that Niagara Falls does not belong to the United States 😉
Finally, we went to do something that I wanted to do… but Nic did not. She was a trooper though and put her fears aside. The Silfra fissure is an area between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Glacier water travels underground for about 30 to 100 years, slowly getting filtered by the porous rocks that make up the landscape. The water emerges in the Silfra fissure and is crystal clear. It is 2 degrees Celsius all year round. There are companies that offer snorkelling and diving trips in the Silfra fissure. Nicola was terrified of the cold. The dry suits we wore kept our bodies warm. The only thing that really gets cold is your lips… but they get numb in about a minute. Your hands and head get a little cold but it did not really bother me. Nic mentioned that her hands were a little cold. In total, it was about 40 minutes in the water.
We booked with Troll Expeditions and our guide was Lovisa Nilsson. She was very helpful and I would highly recommend Troll and Lovisa. I am sure all of the companies are good. But we found Troll the most reasonable and it includes GoPro pictures taken by the guide. If you decide to do this, let me know… I have a promo code I can share with you that will get you 10% off. www.Troll.is
Tomorrow morning we are heading to Norway. We still do not have it all planned out. Stay tuned as we may have a last minute plan in the works…
I wanted to share our Iceland map one more time… I added pictures from all around our Story of Fire and Ice. I might still make a two minute video or two about Iceland. But I highly recommend you check out all of Iceland. Ask us if you have specific questions.