We woke up at around 4.30am. Yes, Iceland was in the season of midnight sun. There was no darkness. But we were not keen to try a life 24 hours non-stop. The morning did not feel chilly although it was only 8C. Last night we were too tired to notice any attractions nearby. This morning, with the crystal clear sky and absolute quietness, we understood why tourists kept visiting this country despite the high costs.
It was early and breakfast would not start until 2 hours later. So we took a short walk outside the hotel and tried to examine closely the sources of the columns of steam like little kids. We thought we could see something like a hole with steam ejecting out. But the closer we got to the source, the harder it became to pinpoint the exact location. It felt like we were enclosed by a layer of fog! Our morning adventure ended when we saw people emerging in the breakfast room.
We already knew that Icelandic weather is unpredictable, but were hoping that wouldn’t happen on us! The day started with beautiful sunshine, but as soon as we checked out, it started to rain.
Determined not to be affected by the weather, we took a detour to a mini waterfall at Husafell, not bad as a starter, as we were preparing for the main course(s) in the coming days!
We followed Route 1 to Borgarnes, a seaside town in west Iceland, only 60km north of Reykajvik. We stopped there briefly hoping to take some shots before heading to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, but it was too windy to stay outdoor. We made a few quick stops along the way to take pictures, including a popular holiday town Arnarstapi. Arnarstapi was supposed to be a cute little fishing village. But today it was just too windy that we could not even stay outside the car for more than 5 minutes.
Driving in Iceland couldn’t be easier. Following the free Big Map we picked up at the Kelfavik airport, we continued to drive along route 54, then route 574 to Olafsvik, which is another popular seaside town in the west of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Despite the windy condition and rain, we stepped out of the car to take pictures. The moment the car doors were opened, we smelled fishy and salty everywhere! This was not hard to understand as fishing is the major industry in the town.
Later we arrived at Grunarfjordur where we saw a hill that has the strangest shape we had never seen and countless waterfalls with water plunging fiercely. For a moment, we saw some thick black clouds hovering over the ocean like they could explode at any minute but a perfect sunny blue sky on the other side revealing the top of the nearby mountain ranges. We saw rainbows after rainbows within just a few kilometres. Perhaps, this is the reason why Grunarfjordur is known for its unique climate and unusually beautiful surroundings. We managed to get off the car and take some quick shots before the rain hit hard on us again.
After another 40 minutes drive, we reached Stykkishmolmur, once a small fishing village that has been rapidly transformed into popular tourist town in the past few decades.
The Hotel Stykkishmolmur was easily reached following route 54 into the town after passing a stadium and took the first right turn after the police station. It was renovated in 2007, something like 6 years ago, but strangely we could still smell the scent of paint. Although it is slightly more expensive than other accommodation options in the town, we would still recommend it for a number of reasons. It is modern, it has free WiFi everywhere, rooms are clean and the food is good. The cod fish and the seafood soup we ordered were really delicious and much better than the one we had last night.
It was a day of clouds, showers and occasional sunny sky. The wind was so gusty we had to be really cautious when getting in and out of the car. Now we understood why the most common car accident for tourists in Iceland, according to one car rental company, is the blowing away of car doors. At times we could not even stand straight upright on the road for a few seconds.