[ICELAND 2015] Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Our BLA trip had a free day where we were free to do whatever we want, and a bunch of us decided to do a road trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, as it wasn't in the BLA itinerary and it was one of the must-visit sights if you have watched the Walter Mitty movie :P

We were a group of 2 cars making our way to Snaefellsnes early in the morning (our group was basically just tagging along with the other group haha) . The day started off pretty bleak, and the road on the way to Snaefellsnes remained in darkness. Who knows what we might have been able to see along the way had it been bright enough.

About an hour or two after we started our journey, though, we started to see glimpses of the landscape as daylight slowly creeps in.

It's amazing how the Icelandic landscapes can change in mere minutes - it seems like every 10km brought us a new mountain to gaze at, a new weather to experience, and a new site to explore. The tired-and-often-used adage "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes" is honestly especially true for Iceland.

The roads in Iceland is fascinating - from memory, there's only one tolled road, and the tolled road is the Hvalfjörður Tunnel running under the Hvalfjörður fjord. Compare this to Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur in particular) where we have SO. MUCH. TOLLED. ROADS. for a journey of 20-30km! It doesn't make sense! In Iceland, Icelanders will go through thousands of kilometers along the ring road before encountering one tolled road - in Malaysia, I go through at least 5 tolls going to and coming back from work every day T_T *shakes fist at sky*

Driving in Iceland was a pretty interesting experience - I didn't personally drive, but I've noticed a few things during the road trip. There are no street lights at all in Iceland that I could recall, so drivers are supposed to turn on their headlights at all times (even during daytime) - the road reminds me of the old kampung road my family and I used to take back to Terengganu and Perak (those were the good days... but we don't miss the traffic jam that's for sure).

I also noticed that the majority of the roads in Iceland is a one-lane carriageway (and they have a lot of lay-by for popular viewpoints). If you go too slow by the Icelandic people's standard, they will honk and overtake you lol - and mind you, sometimes even heavy vehicles like lorries and whatnot will not hesitate to overtake you hahaha. We were keeping to the speed limit too, haha, so I guess not all Icelanders will keep to the speed limit - this was different from our Australian road trip experience. I don't know if there's an abang polis in Iceland, but I've heard that tourists who drove in Iceland for a road trip reported receiving ticket summons a year after they ended their trip, so :P Best thing you can do is just let them overtake you - we didn't dare to drive too fast since we weren't used to icy roads and driving in winter. My advice if you do decide to drive in Iceland, just be cautious and stick to the speed limit.

Also, I really like how the traffic lights in the city works - normally, the light will turn to green, yellow, and then red for a normal cycle. In Reykjavik, I noticed that the traffic light will turn yellow again before turning green - the yellow light before the green light is presumably to let people know "hey, hey, it's gonna be the green light soon, so get ready to start moving" - which is super efficient because then you'd have more people go through the green light compared to if you don't alert people that the lights are going to turn green. (And then you'd have to manually let people know it's freaking green by honking - mooooveeee, carrrrr!)

Another precaution to take is to check your gas tank at all times - there are a number of gas stations along the way, and when in doubt, always refuel. Most people advised that you shouldn't allow the gas tank to go below half, but yeah, with the help of GPS you should have no problem locating a gas station. Also: even the gas stations in Iceland have a beautiful view of the mountains and the sea and the lakes and the waterfalls and argghhh whyyy T_T

Anyway, back to the road trip.

Our first stop was Hótel Búðir, a hotel which seems to be isolated from civilization. A lone church graces the area as well - understandably the church is one of Iceland's popular sites for a wedding photoshoot or even a wedding ceremony. I imagine it would look lovely in summer :)


We made a pit-stop at a lookout point at Oxl farmland, where there was apparently a serial killer on the loose in the area (more amazingly, he was the only (known) serial killer in Iceland and managed to kill 18 people before he finally got discovered).

You thought I was lying, weren't you? Yes, this is Axlar-Bjorn, the only (known) serial killer in Iceland

We also stumbled upon (meaning we shrieked and stopped the car because we spotted) some Icelandic horses grazing around. (Note: don't call them ponies. Apparently Icelanders hate it when you call them ponies.) They were so cute and squishy I just want to lie on one, whereupon I would be kicked by them, probably.

Our next stop was Arnastapi, where you fill find the coast between Arnarstapi and Hellnar. There's a hiking trail between Arnarstapi and Hellnar that you could take - as we were pressed for time (what with the limited daylight during winter and all) and partly due to the weather, we decided to move on from Arnarstapi. From some of the photos I saw of the hiking trail in other blogs, it seems like a worthwhile visit if you're coming in summer.


Next on our agenda was a visit to Djúpalónssandur. Djúpalónssandur (I don't even know to pronounce this, although I do know how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull if I do it very, very slowly) is a black pebble beach where you will find the scattered remains of as shipwreck and some roaming ghosts from said shipwreck. We didn't have time to hike the trail to Dritvik, as we made our way to our next stop.


Our last stop for the day was the infamous Kirkjufellsfoss, probably most photographed with the Kirkjufell mountain in the background. (On a side-note, in my head I've always just pronounced it as "Kirk, u fell" lol Cpt. Kirk you're too clumsy okay I'll shut up now.) The weather took a turn for the ugly lol - it was raining pretty heavily (although you couldn't see it in the pictures below) and I think I started to catch a cold around this time, which, you know, go figure. Of course I would be catching a cold at the start of the trip. OF COURSE.


We ended our road trip to Snaefellsnes with a last glimpse at the Kirkjufell mountain - weather permitted, I think we might've covered even more ground, but we were happy with what we've seen of Iceland so far. We were also pressed for time since we had to go back to Reykjavik since we had an aurora hunting tour by boat booked for that night (...which turned out to be cancelled due to inclement weather lol, but c'est la vie).

Suffice to say I was extremely happy on this road trip (even with the unpredictable weather!) since you get to see what Iceland has to offer - it's said that a visit to the Snaefellsnes peninsula basically covers what Iceland has to offer in miniature versions. You get the mountainous landscapes, the columnar basalts (which we didn't managed to cover), the black sand beach, the waterfalls and much more :)

So now, onwards to Day 4!