We’re about halfway through this series about my recent trip to Iceland–kick it off here first!
After a long day of traveling, we awoke in our rental in Hellnar to see what exactly the landscape had in store for us. We had driven there at night so we really had no idea what to expect. As it turned out, we had a nice view of the Snæfellsjökull glacier behind us, and a view of the water in front of us.
It is important that I stress just how tiny Hellnar is. There is a restaurant. There is a hotel. There is a church (more on that in a minute). That’s about it–no gas station, no grocery store. Below you have a sense of the isolation. To the left are the houses where our rental home was located, and truthfully, there weren’t very many homes in the area beyond these. To the right, hiding in the clouds, the glacier.
The sun rolled in and out with the clouds all day, so we got to see a lot of sun rays fighting their way through the clouds.
We didn’t have much of a plan, so we decided to drive around the peninsula. First, we tried to stop for coffee, but the one restaurant in town was not open yet. We had learned during our trip that almost nothing opens before 10:00 am.
We set out to drive to the other side of the peninsula and then turn around once we hit Olafsvik. Along the way, we came across information about a notorious serial killer. As a true murderino (hiiiiiii), I was thrilled.
Next we came across this beautiful overlook. Hearing the waves crashing and standing above the walls where they hit was so peaceful. It reminded me of the sound we fell asleep listening to in the beach house on our honeymoon, the waves lapping rhythmically along the rocks.
We also came upon a cave (which I actually crawled into!), a crater, and stunning vistas of the Snæfellsjökull glacier from all sorts of different angles as we essentially circled around it all day.
My FitBit tells me that climbing to the top of this hill where the crater could be viewed was the equivalent of 36 flights of stairs. We were tired! You can just make out the glacier way out in the distance, too.
We took a different route home once we hit Olafsvik, which was mostly gravel. Then, thank goodness the restaurant in town was open, we stopped for a coffee to warm up and relax.
And then I took about 300 pictures of this church. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I freaking loved this church. There was a light on but as far as we could tell, nobody was inside, and it might not even be in use anymore. There was a creepy little cemetery that we tried to get to but there were fences all around it. Bummer!
We got home and started to pack up as we knew we had to be out of the house very early for a big drive the next morning. Let me just say, the staircase in this house was the bane of my existence. I cannot even fathom the types of injuries that could occur if this staircase is ever paired with beer.
After we checked out of this house, we stayed at Icelandair Hotels for the remainder of our time in Iceland. The areas we were going were too remote, and we didn’t see any rentals listed on VRBO. As for the two houses we stayed in, I have to say kudos to Icelandic architecture. The siding of their buildings seems to be made of some sort of aluminum, and the insulation must be top-notch as we hardly needed to turn on the furnace at all. It was unlike home in the U.S.–we didn’t come across any buildings that had central air. I was skeptical that the wall units would keep the buildings warm, but with good craftsmanship, I guess that’s less of a concern!
Stay tuned for our visit to the West Fjords, where we saw the famous “necropants,” and Akureyri, where we went whale watching!