From Reykjavik we started out on a very long journey.  Our mission was to reach Laugar (just south of Húsavik) in time for dinner, without speeding tickets.  (I could have said night-fall, but considering the sun wasn’t setting much before 11:30pm, it wouldn’t have been quite such a push.)

The previous day, we had driven the scenic route around Hvalfjörður.

Hvalfjörður

Today, we took the short-cut: the 5.57km long tunnel, deep under the fjord.  This tunnel allows the residents of Akranes to conveniently commute to Reykjavik in approximately 30 minutes.  Before, it would have taken an extra hour to “nip” around the fjord.

Despite worthy attempts by the town council and big industry [there’s a giant aluminium smelter in town], Akranes holds practically zero tourist appeal.

-Andrew Evans, Iceland – Bradt Travel Guides, 2nd edition, 2011

I can vouch for this: after having driven around and about the neatly laid out streets – I realised that I took not one single photograph of this town.  Further up the road is the town of Borgarnes: the starting point for anyone wanting to delve into Icelandic Sagas.

There are some quite lovely views from the harbour:

Borgarnes from the bridge

Borgarnes from the Harbour

Lonely boat

The peninsula beyond which, lies Arkanes

Mountains and weather – a common theme…

I’m disappointed not to have visited the Snaefellsnes Peninsular, but I suppose I have to leave something to do on a return trip.  My “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” will have to wait…

After a quick pit-stop at the N1, on the bend of Route 1, we were back en route north.  We had no further plans to stop until we reached Hvammstangi.  That was before we saw this:

I spy with my little eye…

Is that a cinder cone, I see before me?  Can we stop?

We quickly donned our waterproofs and climbed up the footpath.  When footpath conveniently turned to a series of wooden steps the weather started to do battle with us.  Several times, whilst walking around the crater’s edge, I actually had to sit down to take a photograph as I felt as though I could be whipped away on a ferocious gust of wind.  It didn’t help that rain drops were spattering my lens.

On the edge of the crater looking in

The Grábók Crater is the largest of three scoria cones (Grábókarfell,  Stóra Grábók (Big) and Litla-Grabók (Small)) that make up the Grábókargígar Natural Monument: a 600m long fissure, which formed less than 3000 years ago.  That’s like yesterday in Geological time (more like a minute ago!).

The vent from the other side

The views from the crater’s edge were pretty amazing.

Grábókarfell

Basalt columns provide a dramatic backdrop to dry-stone walled enclosures

Looking back towards Borgarnes

Onwards to Hvammstangi.

We were on the lookout for seals – we found drying fish, instead.

Swinging in the wind

Fish-heads

It’s only mid-day – there’s still the afternoon’s drive to come: in the next post we visit the Glaumaer Turf Dwellings.

About these ads