Day 8: Stykkishólmur to Hellnar
A relaxed start today as it is only an hour and a half to our next hotel but lots to as in the general area. We are in the Snæfellsnes region – Snowy Mountain Peninsula. The cloud is low today so the tops of the mountains aren’t visible. The weather seems better than yesterday. It’s not raining but it is SO windy making the 5 degrees seem like 0 degrees. I nearly got blown away when going to the car. Must remember to hold onto the car door tightly when opening!
We stopped at a Lake so Josh could fly his drone. There was another bloke doing the same, partner stayed in car like I did!
Bjarnarhöfn Shark museum
An unusual stop. Lots of fascinating things to look at, a lesson in Greenland sharks, how to make hákarl (the putrified shark that is an Icelandic delicacy) and an opportunity to try it if we dared!
Fresh Greenland shark meat is actually poisonous to humans because of its high ammonia content (they have very small kidneys that dont flush their urine completely) and the ‘antifreeze’ type stuff in their body. Icelanders discovered it was ok to eat after digging up a buried carcass (liver used for lamp oil and skin for sandpaper!) when they were starving and they didn’t die!
Now the shark meat goes through a fermentation process. It is cut up and placed in a chest for a few weeks, then it is hung in outdoor shelters for a few months. The first stage of the fermentation process rids the meat of the poisonous substances that make fresh shark meat deadly. The shark is then hung up to cure for a few months.
We did not venture out to the sheds to see this in action. The smell in the air was quite rank and the thought of that intensified was sickening. We did have a taste however. I made sure not to smell before I put it in my mouth and I think this helped because it was not as bad as I anticipated!
I had to include this view from the ladies room!
Probably the most photographed view in this part of Iceland! It’s all over Instagram and it features in season 6 of Game of Thrones. In one episode we see it when Jon Snow and his team head north of the wall to find the army of the dead. It also appears in some of Bran’s green seer visions of the Children of the Forest.
We stopped in Olafsvik for a very un-Icelandic lunch.
The wind chill factor was off the charts here! I even needed the ear muffs I have not used since New York in January 2008!
Snaefellsjokull National Park
The Snæfellsjökull icecap lies within the national park, and the park is the only Icelandic national park that stretches to the sea. Búðahraun lava field lies in the southern part of Snæfellsnes peninsula, and, its eastern part (around 9 square kilometres) was designated a nature reserve in 1977. Read more about this stunning region: Snaefellsjokull National Park
Vatnshellir Lava Cave
We descended into this 8000 year old lava tube that reaches over 200 metres and goes 35 metres below the surface. At the bottom all lights were turned off and we experienced total darkness. We also had a minute of silence in the dark to listen to the cave noises (dripping mostly!) our guide was good at cracking jokes but I was better! I exited the cave last and came out saying ‘Grrrr I’m A cave troll!’ It mad the Taiwanese guy with us laugh and call me a cute troll!
A small fishing village at the foot of Mt Stapafell.
While I had a hot chocolate in the KAFFI. I had the car keys and josh came looking for me in every cafe but the one I was in because it didn’t look like a cafe except that it had KAFFI in big letters on it.
The ladies room at the cafe. I would have liked to see what was in the men’s room.
How stunning is this!