Monday, December 19, 2016

Iceland Part IV: A drive through the northern fjords, Siglufjörður, & Hvítserkur

Today was more of a chill day. The only thing we really had on the agenda was to drive to Hvítserkur, about 2.5 hours away, and then to our hotel about 30 minutes from there. On the recommendation of our hosts we decided to drive the longer, but more scenic route through the northern fjords. They said it would only add about 1.5 hours to our drive (more like 3 hours extra...), but we'd be able to experience a different part of Iceland. Since we had no  major plans we said, "Why not?"

At the start of our drive 

We started our drive up highway 82 to 76 from Hjalteyri where we were staying outside Akureyri. The drive was empty from cars, people, and basically anything! As we headed more north the roads became a little more precarious going around sharp, narrow curves overlooking the Arctic waters with no guard rail. Little did we know the most precarious roads we've ever seen in our lives were to come the next day! And the tunnels!!! These tunnels are designed for cars to go in one direction at a time, with pull offs that are few and far between. Luckily there was only one instance where we had to reverse ourselves back to a pull off since someone was coming from the other direction. The following pictures are some nice views from our drive.

Beautiful open road

We reached Siglufjörður, a small fishing town in a narrow fjord, about an hour after we left. The scenery entering the town is spectacular; the snowcapped mountains, icy blue waters with fishing boats docked, and colorful shops and houses make this an idyllic setting to stroll around and get lost in your thoughts.

We stopped at the local grocery store and picked up items in order to make lunch in the car for a few days. There wasn't going to be much on our drive today, and the next day we didn't know what to expect in the West Fjords. We came out with a nice selection of bread, cheese, jam, fruit, and our favorite European cookies.

We walked around the town for a while just taking in the scenery and quaintness of it all.

We then embarked on a rather long drive around the fjords until we finally hit civilization a few hours later along the Ring Road. We stopped for food at a cute lunch spot and replenished with some soup and salad. It was so beautiful out that you could sit on their patio and bask in the sun while eating.

We continued to drive until we got to Hvítserkur, also known as dinosaur rock or the troll of the north. This "rock" is a 15 meter high sea stack that looks like a large stone beast. The legend is that the rock is a troll that got caught by the sunrise while attempting to destroy the monastery at Pingeyrar. We spent a while gazing at the structure and looking at the endless water.

We decided to walk down past the car park and get a different look at the black sand beach. We thought about walking all the way down to the beach, but decided that we had all the views we needed right where we were.

With no other solid plans to see anything else, and being so beat from the last few days we decided to drive to our hotel so we could have some much needed down time before dinner. Next up, the West Fjords!

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