Waking up to the thunderous roar of Dynjandi was slightly therapeutic, if not, a rude awakening. Nevertheless, it created the perfect setting for what had become the staple breakfast of oats, skyr & fruits, accompanied by a random fruit tea carefully acquired from work before leaving!
The brisk weather seemed a distant memory as we were now wandering around in shorts, with only the occasional gust of window sending chills. Still it was great to put the heated seats on as we headed to our first destination of the day, Hellulaug hot spring, near the stop of Flokalundur. This was our first natural hot spring around Iceland, not tampered for tourism & it’s serenity was there to be admired. It took a bit of searching, clambering around rocks before realising we hadn’t gone far enough to find it. Pulling up into the car park is still slightly ambiguous and weren’t sure that we’d found it until pulling off our Christopher Columbus expedition. Keep an eye out for the abandoned farm “Hella” which will be your guiding point.
The hot spring itself is perched behind rocks, which is your changing room so be careful of wandering eyes! The pool is rather small, fit for a handful of people to lounge and relax, which is ideal as it is still rather innocuous and unknown. The westfjords are home to a plethora of bird wildlife and here is no exception. Expect to see tweeting away are arctic terns and eider ducks, plus many more. The pool is around 38c which is ideal, meaning you’re not scorched entering but you know it’s hot! We were joined by a Polish couple and discussed our travels before soldiering on to our next spot, Vatnsfjörður nature reserve, which could be seen in the hot spring.
The nature reserve itself is around 20,000 hectares, with approximately 80% of it being barren. It’s safe to say this was a passing visit on our way to Holmavik, although we also included a little stay in Reykholar for a little breather. It’s a perfect place to stop for bird watching, visit a museum or admire the kelp factory… OK, there’s not honestly that much to do!
Holmavik was recommended to us by some American’s to us on our first night due to the UNBELIEVABLE seafood soup you could get at the Witchcraft and Sorcery Cafe, which is also infamous as a museum. Perhaps slightly recklessly, we powered that Transit to Holmavik in search of seafood soup. We went for both the seafood soup and seafood pie, which had the local catch of the day infused into it. Safe to say, the best seafood soup ever was another prime example of U.S hyperbole! It was decent but maybe not worth driving an hour especially for, especially at the 5000 Kr price tag (although that’s extremely reasonable for Iceland..).
The next leg we were aware would be another brutal instalment but after reading the Lonely Planet book (a good buy for simple ideas but they messed up here), we opted to venture to Stykkisholmur to see the chocolate box houses. Well we aren’t no architects but I’m quietly confident that there were no chocolate box houses, whether they were meant to be shaped like them or have Lindt wrapping around them. Nevertheless, there’s a lovely church similar to the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, if less grand & a great viewpoint can be found at Súgandiseyjarviti Lighthouse, which is only a short walk up some stairs to see a range of little islands surrounding the cliff edge.
We were tempted by the hot dog stand but decided to head to the far west, near the Snaefellsjoekull National Park and toyed with the idea of visiting the Snæfellsjökull volcano, infamously the basis of the novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Instead, we drove through a bird sanctuary on the The Snæfellsnes peninsula before camping out at Camping Olafsvik. At 1,100kr each, it was the standard price we were expecting but the shower facilities were a welcome treat. Warm, powerful and clean, what more could you ask for!