If you have no clue why this is named part 2, go to Iceland Winter Madness Part 1 and if you have been through the boring first part, thanks for coming here.
Day 8 – The Troll Peninsula
I skipped museums, gardens and shopping as usual. The place is famous for local flora’s but it wasn’t the right season. I was running out of options (I didn’t scheduled anything after a week of the trip really). So I just started to drive to next hotel. On the way I passed through one of the longest single line tunnels which was dark, hallucinating especially when no car is near by you. Then I came across the flight crash site that occurred in 1947 and drove along coast of the fjord and the fishing village. I missed whale watching again, purposefully. The landscape, drizzle, snow and sea combination was mesmerizing which made me stop every now and then just. I went to hot water swimming pool which was closed when I reached there. There was a few churches on the way. Most of them were difficult to access because of snow. I stopped to photograph wild Icelandic horses on the way. But when I looked at their eyes I feel like they are asking me to save them from the fence. I felt uncomfortable and run away from the scene and never stop for horses through out the trip. There was a fuel station just opposite to the guest house where I was supposed to stay. I washed my car myself over there and bought a book when I having a burger. The guest house was unique individual wooden cabinets.
Day 9 – Westfjords Introduction
As I told earlier, I steal a summer itinerary, westfjords was included which is not recommended at all in the winter. My friend was checking out hotels with one of the agents, he was surprised and asked him to avoid westfjords, which inspired me. I thought of cutting westfjords, but in the end I was lazy to reschedule, left it like that. Most of the places I bookmarked for the day took me to nowhere in the snow. Finally I saw a signboard to Hvítserkur monolith, which I somehow missed tho bookmark. The road towards Hvítserkur was muddy and broken. Still I go ahead as it was not quite far away from the main road. The place was quiet and beautiful. We have to get down through a rocky muddy trail to reach the monolith. It was high tide time, we can reach near monolith during low tide time during summer season ( I felt like a high tide can wash out the entire area with me in no time. )
After the exit to westfjords from the highway, I hardly saw other cars. May be I can see a car or two during an hour of drive. It was bit difficult to drive faster because of the muddy road. Muddy roads come in between through our the drive in the westfjords area. Even the area is beautiful, I didn’t make much stop overs, because of the weather and it’s hard to get help over there. It was drizzling all the time when I was in westfjords, which might be for good, if it was snow I might get stuck somewhere. Over there the car always get muddy and the rain washes it away after sometime. If you want to experience midnight sun phenomenon, visit Iceland in summer. I skipped Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum and Sorcerer’s Cottage while other places were not accessible during this season.
Day 10 – Deep into the Westfjords
Today’s destination is Ísafjörður. On the way there’s not much popular destinations. I skipped Bolungarvík and Ósvör Maritime Museum. Instead I drove off the route to some interesting places which usually don’t have any name. Then I saw seals swimming near the shore. I stopped to see them even they are not quite close. They war were many and they didn’t come closer when they saw me. The view from high roads were awesome. There is a small airport just before reaching Ísafjörður town area. I was hungry, had pizza before checking in to the hotel. I parked a bit far away from the hotel to avoid paid parking.
Day 11 – Westfjords and Dynjandi
This day I was supposed to visit Dynjandi waterfalls, Skrúður botanical garden,trail of the Viking saga hero Gisli Súrsson and Jón Sigurðsson museum. Couldn’t make any of these because of road closure. I didn’t check the road status and I have to drive more than 500km instead of 200km to reach the hotel. I started from the hotel after breakfast and Google maps was showing the way normally. After 100km I found the sign board saying the road closed. Still I go ahead a few kilometres to make sure the road is really not accessible. The road was getting terrible as go ahead and I turned back when it was absolutely impossible to go ahead with my car. Then I checked the maps for alternative route. I have to drive back to the hotel from where I started to take the alternative route. After I fill the fuel, the car started acting weird. I feared I filled diesel instead of petrol, later realised it was because of wind the car was shaking. The car was quite normal if when I was driving slowly. The first few kilometres and last 40km journey was fine. In between that the road was horrible. It was ups and downs with steep curves and hairpin roads, all muddy. The rain made it worse. I saw only 2-3 cars during 200km drive in between. In the high passes the visibility go down less than 50 meters. Next day I was planning to skip the ferry and take the road as I didn’t book the ferry in advance. Seeing the condition of the road I decided to take the ferry. I didn’t take any chance, I booked the ferry before reaching the hotel online because I didn’t want to drive that road again!
Day 12 – By Ferry from Westfjords to Snæfellsnes Peninsula
I started from hotel early after the breakfast. The ferry was one hour drive from the hotel. I stopped by Garðar BA 64, the ship that beached in 1981. I didn’t spend much time there because the weather looks quite unstable and I had a ferry to catch. I reached the ferry office, saw a notice the office will be reopened on October. Anyways I decided to wait and after half an hour anther car came which makes me feel ferry is on. After sometime the signal guy for the ferry also came. Then I was relaxed and the ferry came in time. There was only 3 cars and 5 passengers in that huge ferry which was a mini ship. When I was wandering in the open area, I met the captain of the ship. I went with him to the cabin. He said he saw a whale on the way which is unusual(which I didn’t believe). I stayed in the cabin till the end of the journey, couldn’t spot any whales. In between there is a stop in Flatey island. Only a couple live there. The island becomes active during tourist season. After Flatey island, the sea became rough and few tides ware so high that they hit the windshield of the ship. The disturbance is more in the top floor of the ship and the bottom passenger area used to be stable. The captain advised me to go down if I was feeling uncomfortable. I asked him about the map and few control buttons over there. He was very nice person, he even shared some of his experience as well.
Gorgeous Mt. Kirkjufell was on the way, which is close to the highway. I was expecting the mountain covered in snow but was brownish, still beautiful. From here onwards the landscape was brownish, instead of white because of continuous rain snow was gone!!!.
Day 13 – Activities in Snæfellsnes Peninsula
There was lots of options available in Snæfellsnes area like Hraunfossar waterfalls, Djúpalónssandur black beach, tour inside Langjökull glacier and Viðgelmir lava tubes. Most of them I found not accessible during the season. I skipped galcier tour as I already did one. I followed sign board to Saxhóll crater after skipping unaccessible places. Then I visited Djúpalónssandur black beach,Arnarstapi, Hellnar and Búðir. As the snow was missing, I really didn’t spend much time in any of these places.
Day 14 – Blue Lagoon & Drop the Car off at the Airport
Visiting the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa was not really in my list. When I almost complete the Iceland ring road circle, the snow was gone from most of the places. Those landscapes with brown grass and little bit patches of snow here and there really bored me. So I decided to skip other places and Blue Lagoon turned up. Day time slots were already sold out for the day including premium and I had to book 7 PM slot. That have me the whole day to roam around again. I went to a place I opted to skip, the road was looking familiar which is just a about 100km deviation. After reaching there, I realised that place was covered in first day. The landscape was looking far different after the snow was melted. I came to know the place while I saw the National park board and since I got in. I booked for lava tunnel experience from there itself. The experience was very boring for me though it has a significant geographical and historical value. People used to stay in these kinds of tunnels during intensive winter long time back. One hour tour will take us till half way of the tunnel and the other half is not open for normal tourists.
Then I went to an Indian restaurant as I was really getting bored of burger and pizzas. I choose a restaurant near Hallgrímskirkja church so that I can visit church too. I didn’t get parking near the hotel, I parked the car little bit far and I have to put the parking ticket for the first time during the trip. The hotel ambience was good and the food was very average. Then I rush to the church and get back to the car as I had only one hour ticket. Blue Lagoon was somehow closer to the hotel, so I checked into the hotel which is close to the airport.
The road to Blue Lagoon was completely dark with no Street lights, which gives a chance of witnessing northern lights. I forgot to take my swimwear, so I had to hire one from there. We have to leave everything in the locker room, take a compulsory shower before entering the geothermal pool. One towel and one drink is included in the basic package. They have written the story of the pool down there, how the water is pumped from below the ground and all. They have to keep on pumping and recirculating the water to maintain the temperature as the temperature out there is below zero. When i get out of the water, I was freezing, so I skipped the free drink. I left from there after another shower. The sky was looking cloudy and the aurora forecasting was bad, so I didn’t wait for Northern lights(Terribly missing Northern lights through out the entire journey). I get back to the hotel and put everything back in the bag for the early morning flight next day.
I have to fill the fuel tank to full as l have to return the car in full tank. I return the car at the airport. There was a crack on windshield (by a flying stone) and a minor dent on the door, somebody hit the car with the door in parking in Akureyri. Both unintentional, can’t do anything with that, charged me more than a reasonable amount. I lost my credit card which has free lounge access, so I couldn’t use any lounges in Iceland and Manchester. Both flights were on time and next day morning I am back to Abu Dhabi.
Once again that old stupid question “”What Next…””