Fifth and final day around #iceland: started at Stykkishólmur (again, nothing much was open due to it being Easter Sunday), so had a look round a little islet by the harbour.
A couple had left this decidedly antipermanent inscription on the lighthouse:
Whoever T and L were, either they had decided that commemorating their visit and togetherness in a transient, antipermanent medium was profound and romantic, or they had completely misunderstood the whole “carve your names into a tree” thing.
We headed a little way out to the miraculously open Shark Museum, an old barn filled with odds and ends related to Icelandic life, specifically fishing. The jovial old curator (who also plays organ at the local church) enthused to us and another tourist in Icelandic about how him, his father and his grandfather all hunted greenland shark, which grow up to 8 tonnes in weight and breathe through their skin (at this point he grabbed a piece of skin for us to feel). We were then adorned with old fishing gear and invited to eat some specially prepared hákarl — shark meat fermented for 6 weeks, then air-dried for 2-3 months. Most hákarl is disgusting (I have yet to meet an Icelander who actually enjoys eating it) but this variety was actually rather nice, if a little chewy.
The weather turned murky so we shot off along the north of Snæfellsness to the westernmost tip, a mossy volcanic landscape reminiscient of parts of the south but significantly more unstable:
Whilst the waves all the way along the the west coast of the peninsula were impressive, there was one tiny cove which seemed to focus them into huge, bizzare shapes. No photo did them justice, but here’s a taster of what it’s like:
Barely one minute after tearing ourselves away from this particular natural phenomena, another one literally crossed our path — an Artic fox, repleat in dark reddish-brown summer coat. It didn’t hang around long enough to get a photo (presumably there is lots of important fox business to do in Snæfellsness), but it was an unexpected sighting
which more than made up for the north’s disappointing lack of polar bears.
Volcanic beaches with black sand, pebbles and cliffs can be found all around Iceland, but Drítsvík is a wonderful example of all three. It’s also the clearest example of being able to see how the jagged cliffs are eroded into pebbles and sand — not as wonderfully smooth a gradient as in the south, but a greater variety.
Djúpalónssandur, next to Drítsvík, holds the remains of the British trawler Epine, which disintegrated off the Icelandic coast in 1948. Leaving the rusting remains on the beach is a surprisingly beautiful memorial:
With that, the tour was almost ended and we headed back to Reykjavík. It’s been an amazing five days, with a bizzare menagerie of weathers, roads, towns and landscapes.
This is the last of my daily photo posts, but expect a summary article (filled to the brim with Helpful Travel Tips like “dried cranberries are not sufficient hiking fuel”) when all the panoramas are stitched!