Icelandia Day 3 – the Highlight of the Trip, Snaefellsnes Peninsula to Grundarfjordur

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This is for Nick. Its his birthday today…Happy Birthday Nick!

The 100km long Snaefellsnes peninsula is made up of dramatic volcanic peaks, cliffs, beautiful Fjords with golden and black beaches, and lava fields…all overlooked by the ice capped Snæfellsjökull, immortalized in Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.

Day three of our road trip was by far the most amazing of all. We set off to blue skies, even got our guns out and spirits were high! We set off riding along the foothills of the mountains of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.  Mountains to the right, laval fields and beaches to the left – this place is stunning.

The plan was, to make it to Hellnar and camp there overnight. But…we checked the forecast, which was for rain the following day, so we decided to push on to Grundarfjordur instead where we could get laundry done in the morning and perhaps make it to Stykkishólmur by the afternoon.

Hellnar – Tasty Lunch Spot

We struck gold in Hellnar, to find Fjöruhúsið kaffihús. We got some strange looks from other tourists as we skidded to a halt on the super steep gravel road. Lunch was delicious and it was so nice to sit on the terrace and soak up some rays of sun. We had a little battle to get moving again on the hill afterwards!

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Djúpalónssandur Beach – black sand anyone?

On the southwest coast, Rte 572 leads off Rte 574 to the wild black-sand beach Djúpalónssandur. It’s a dramatic place to walk, with rock formations (an elf church, and a kerling – a troll woman), two brackish pools (for which the beach was named), and the rock-arch Gatklettur . Some of the black sands are covered in pieces of rusted metal from the English trawler Eding, which was shipwrecked here in 1948. An asphalt car park and public toilets allow tour-bus access, and crowds.

 

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Down on the beach there are four lifting stones that are sort of famous. The smallest stone is Amloði (Bungler) at 23kg, followed by Hálfdrættingur (Weak) at 54kg, Hálfsterkur (Half-Strong) at 100kg, and the largest, Fullsterker (Fully Strong), at 154kg. Hálfdrættingur marked the frontier of mal initiation to manhood, and any man who couldn’t manage to lift it, was deemed unsuitable for a life at sea.

What lies between us and…

After we left this beautiful side of the peninsula we got a rude awakening. We had been lulled into a false sense of security thanks to the sheltering mountains. Rounding the tip, we faced an ugly headwind. Back into ‘echolon touring’ mode as Nick called it and we lined up and took turns (thats a lie, Nick was nearly always at the front) and made our way towards Grundarfjordur.

What we didn’t know…was…this was awaiting us:

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I know it looks harmless. But it isn’t when your legs are tired from lugging 25kg around with you all day on your bike. To surmount this bad boy, we had to stop, gather our wits…and get it over and done with.

Dave bonked.

Hard.

I’ve never seen Dave bonk. I thought it was funny. Since many friends have bonked at his hands in the past. We gave him some jelly babies and carried on towards Grundarfjordur, landing just before the sun set, to pitch our tents in a nice, open campsite next to the swimming pool in the town.

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