TUESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2019 – DAY 3 OF TOUR – SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA AND FJORD CRUISE

Tuesday, 22 October  2019 – Day 3 of Tour – Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Fjord Cruise

After breakfast, we all boarded the coach and headed west on highway 54 towards Stykkisholmur.  Along the way, we had a very short visit to a Wool Store.  We were travelling on the Snaefellnes Peninsula “the peninsula of the snowy mountain”.  Today it lived up to its name as was bitterly cold (-11) and had been snowing. Although the road was flat there were very high rugged mountains and lagoons along the way.  Near the village of Vatnaleio, we had a short photo stop.

At Vatnaleio,

Along the way, we got a surprise as out of nowhere a group of little school children crossed over the road. Couldn’t see where they were going. 

We arrived at Stykkisholmur – a pretty fishing town but today as we “blew” to board our boat for our cruise, it was sleeting.  It was warm on the boat so I stayed downstairs with a Dianne and Jennifer and chatted with a few others who were not brave enough to go upstairs even briefly, as cold, windy and sleeting. We were sailing on the Breidafjordur Fjord.  It was a shame that the weather was so inclement for sight-seeing but it was relaxing chatting and drinking warm drinks.  As I didn’t venture upstairs, Erik brought me down a tasty scallop before we were served up a delicious lunch.

Snowing while on cruise

After our cruise, we had a short stop in the café at Stykkisholmur

and then we travelled in the area of Helgafellssveitarvegur

where there were moss and lava mounds with high mountains in view.  We were heading for our next stop at the Bjarnarhofn Shark Museum.

Bjarnarhofn Shark Museum

At Bjarnarhöfn Shark-Museum in Snaefellsnes Peninsula we were to experience a unique Icelandic culture. This family owned museum offers a peak into their history. This family has been involved with sharks for the past four centuries with the only change being they don ‘t fish for sharks anymore, now it’s only by catch.

The farmstead at Bjarnarhöfn is the region’s leading producer of hákarl (fermented shark meat), a traditional Icelandic dish. We wandered around the museum that had exhibits of very personal displays of memorabilia from a family of shark hunters including fishing boats and processing tools.

One of the exhibits at the Shark Museum

We were given an interesting presentation by our very enthusiastic and animated host about the six months processing of the shark meat, the sharks biology and the history behind it all.  A video was in the background, showing the butchering and fermenting procedure.

Greenland shark, which is used to make hákarl, is poisonous if eaten fresh; fermentation neutralises the toxin.  Greenland shark is classified as near threatened and is the longest-living vertebrate on the planet, with some living over 500 years. We were all then given the opportunity for a nibble of the hákarl, accompanied by Brennivín (aka ‘black death’) schnapps and rye bread.  It was not very appetising but Susan and I had a sample.

There was a wooden church on the farm and was consecrated in 1857 and is the home chapel of the farmer.

After being at the Museum, which was off the main highways we were back on highway 54 towards Grundarfjordur. It was a very pretty drive with smooth water of a lagoon on both sides of the road and mountains in the front, but in a few minutes, the water was quite choppy.  A little further on was a farm with woolly sheep – don’t get a chance to photograph the thousands that are in Iceland. There was a beautiful glacier in front.

Jutting out in the bay was Mt Kirkjufellsfoss (463 m) – the most prominent mountain in Grundarfjörður – situated on the fjord of Breidafjorour and a landmark of the fishing town with a population little under 900 people. It is a fishing town and until the tourism boom in the 21st century, the majority of all employment in town was linked to fisheries. 

Mt Kirkjufellsfoss (463 m)

The mountain is free-standing and referred to as the most beautiful mountain on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula – some even say the whole of Iceland. At least it is the most photographed mountain.

The name Kirkjufell means Church Mountain as it is considered to resemble a church. And the mountain next to it, Stöðin, is said to resemble a congregation hall.

When we arrived at Grundarfjordur, the weather was too inclement so we virtually drove up the street and back towards our accommodation at Borgarnes (our second night at Hotel Hamar).

After freshening up/warming up, 8 of us went into dinner. I had a great lamb meal. It  was a fun night as Susan kept us laughing. It was her birthday so she was very happy. As it was going to be my birthday tomorrow, we shared a dessert.

Susan and I sharing a yummy dessert
Dinner for Susan’s birthday

After dinner, it was thought that the Lights could appear. It was another fruitless late night as no luck. A late night to bed.

Was another very interesting day and varied excursions even though I couldn’t get warm when outside.      Travelled approximately 250 kms.

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