Final days in Iceland

Only a few of the breathtaking places to visit and experience in Iceland can be done in five days (or four for us, because we missed a day). But we were glad to be here to discover, marvel and enjoy its glorious natural wonders in the allotted time.

Below is the map and route we followed on our excursions from the southwest of Reykjavik during our first two days, and what we discovered during the next two days at the northwest end of the island. As you can see, we only scratched the surface of this beautiful place. So much left to see on another trip!

Map of Iceland and the routes we covered on our excursions

Traveling north along the coast we viewed some interesting rock formations and stunning scenery:

A modern hotel amidst moss covered lava fields
They call this rock formation Two Pillars, makes sense right?

At the crescent-shaped bay of Djúpalónssandur, we found sea-polished beach pebbles called the black lava pearls of the Djúpalón – the elf rocks. Have I mentioned that Icelandic people believe in trolls, elves and witches?

After goofing off at the black beach, our next stop was at the folksy Shark Museum, a family owned business for generations. Here we learned how Greenland Shark meat is deadly if not fermented for six months. They also revealed fascinating details about the local Greenland Shark from which traditional ‘hakarl’ is made:

Our next adventure in local food tasting was on board a Viking Sushi Boat Adventure, where we took a scenic bay cruise on Breidha Fjord. We boarded the boat at Stykkishólmur, a small port town.

Islet Stykki protects the town’s main port

As the boat sailed around numerous rugged islands, the captain took us close to one of them so we could see up close the hundreds of noisy Kittiwakes perching on the rock faces:

An island filled with Atlantic Puffins. I should have brought my long lens camera!

Other than seeing the Puffins and the Kittiwakes, the other highlight of the trip was tasting super-fresh sea food. We watch the boat crew tow a dredge net along the ocean floor, scooping up scallops, sea urchins, crabs, starfish and sea cucumbers from the ocean floor:

Iceland has a very special kind of beauty and you don’t always have to be looking up to see it. For example, as we travelled the island, I kept noticing white tufts of something in the fields that did not look to me like a flower.  From the bus window they resembled cotton balls.  Thankfully on one of our stops I finally got up close and found them to be tufts of soft cottony fibers growing on a stem. I remembered seeing them in Alaska and they are called Cotton Grass.

And I couldn’t ignore these beauties:

Another thing we saw all over the place were the Icelandic Sheep. There are more sheep than people here – about 500,000-700,000 scattered across the country. In September, the farmers and their families and friends start to herd all of the sheep down from the mountains, which takes several days. Then they round them up to one area called a Réttir. Finally, each family identifies their sheep using unique earmarks on each animal.

Just like the horses, these are purebreds and it is forbidden to import sheep to Iceland

Mount Katla, an active volcano where twenty eruptions have been documented between 930 and 1918

We made a stop at one of the famous mountains, that is if you watch Game of Thrones:

Kirkjufell is claimed to be the most photographed mountain in the country, for it was one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones season 6 and 7

At the end of our second day we had to haul our luggage along once again so we could move to one last hotel close to the airport for our departure to Bergen the next morning.  We’re getting tired of hauling luggage around almost every day and can’t wait to get on the ship and unpack for 2 weeks!

The Marina Hotel Reykjavik was very nice, and we wished we could have spent more time there. Viking hosted a four course farewell dinner at the Fish Company restaurant, an excellent seafood place. It was great ending after a bumpy start.

Tomorrow it’s off to Bergen, Norway and our first ocean cruise of this 56-day adventure!

9 comments

  1. I’d like to know how many people died from eating the shark meat before they figured out six months was the right amount of time to ferment it? And after the first people died, who the heck stepped up at months 1-5 to try it?! Food stuff like that fascinates me!

  2. Iceland has long been a bucket list destination for us and I had in my mind that we should spend a week there someday. But between the museums, farms, wildlife, waterfalls, hot springs, Reykjavik, and just gawking at the scenery, I think one could spend several weeks there and never get bored. Looks like a great start to your trip!

  3. Fantastic pictures of what is obviously a fantastic stop! Well, except that shark and urchin stuff…..We look forward to following along on the rest of your carefully planned trip!

  4. Not sure I’d be so brave to try some of the food. I guess it’s a while-in-Rome chance to give it a try. Would love to see the sheep. Glad the trip is more pleasurable now.

  5. It’s so beautiful!

    I have a question for you since we’re interested in taking a trip with Viking in the future. I know they receive excellent reviews. Our River not cruise with Uniworld was canceled because of COVID. They make you haul your luggage? Or was that just because of your late arrival.

    • This was a pre-cruise segment. We hauled our luggage from hotel room to the bus and vice versa. But once we began our cruise in Bergen our luggages was taken cared of from the airport directly to our cabins.

  6. Glad to see here some of the places we missed on our two-week road trip. It seems to me that no matter how long we have somewhere, we can always use more time. I hear you on hauling bags. It’s one of the reasons why we enjoy cruising so much … unpack/pack once … and let someone else figure out the logistics of getting from one place to the other.

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