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It looked like quite a sunny day when we woke up in Rif this morning. As we were checking out of the apartment, I realised rather belatedly that there was an amazing view of the Snæfellsjökull volcano from around the corner of the car park. Today was the final day of our road trip, so the plan was to drive around the southern edge of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and then back to Reykjavik. Our route led us through the Snæfellsnes national park, which mostly looked like a huge lava field in the shadow of the volcano. The first stop on our itinerary was a place called Öndverðarnes, which is located at the westernmost point of the peninsula. The road here was gravel and a bit bumpy, so we got out and went the last section to the very end of the peninsula by foot. We passed by some beautiful cliffs... ...before arriving at the Svörtuloft lighthouse right at the end. The lighthouse is a very bright orange - you definitely can't miss it! There were some great views out to sea from here. Unfortunately, though, it looked like the day might not be staying sunny for long! We drove on through another lava field. Our next stop was the beach at Djúpalónssandur. In contrast to the sandy beach we visited yesterday, this is a beach of black pebbles. To get to the beach you have to follow a rocky path which leads through some strange lava shapes. I particularly liked this one which had a window in it Once you get down to the beach, you realise that it is littered with bits of rusted metal. These are the remains of the Epine, a fishing trawler from Grimsby which was wrecked here in 1948. The metal has been left on the beach as a memorial, and it's quite eerie to see. The beach is in a beautiful location, although the black pebbles are quite hard work to walk on! Our next stop was the small village of Arnarstapi. The weather had really deteriorated by this point though, so by the time we arrived there it was pretty wet. There is a walking trail which you can follow along the coast here, with views out over the cliffs. There are some really unusual rock formations here. I think people also come here for bird watching, although September isn't really the time of year for it. I was quite relieved that there weren't many birds around, because I'd read some reviews of people complaining they'd been attacked by aggressive arctic terns! As you can see, we were a bit damp by this point so we didn't follow the path in its entirety. We did walk a little further to find this beautiful rocky arch though Then it was back in the car, to dry out and progress a bit further along the peninsula. We stopped briefly at a place called Búðir, where there is a striking black church in the middle of nowhere. After Búðir, the weather thankfully began to brighten up a bit again. In fact, the closer we got back towards the Ring Road, the sunnier it became Our last stop was at the Gerðuberg cliffs. These are a collection of enormous basalt columns. They were really quite striking to see Soon after that, we rejoined the Ring Road and drove the final short stretch back into Reykjavik. What I hadn't realised in advance was that at one point, the road would take us through a 7km-long tunnel under the sea, in order to cut out a long detour around a fjord! Reykjavik seemed huge in comparison to the places we've been over the past few nights! We are staying in the same small apartment place as last time, so we drove there first to unload our stuff, and then went back to the car rental place, where we successfully handed back the car without any problems The apartment is fine again for one night, except that the internet isn't working as well as it did when we stayed before, so doing the blog has been slightly problematic! We were pretty hungry after all our adventures, so walked into the centre of Reykjavik in search of food. We ended up having exactly the same meals in exactly the same place as last Sunday; Hawaiian pizza for me and fish and chips for Tim Then there was just time for a last look at the iconic Hallgrimmskirkja, before heading back to the apartment to battle the Wi-Fi!
It was a bright sunny day when we woke up in Blönduós this morning. Although the hotel had been nice, the breakfast buffet was a bit limited so it felt difficult to get our money's worth this morning! There were waffles again, though Our day started with quite a long drive from Blönduós towards the Snæfellsnes peninsula. We are taking a detour from the Ring Road for the final part of our road trip, to explore this peninsula which has it's own little ring road, route 54, running around the edge of it. We reached the peninsula around midday, and soon had a view out to sea. There were lots of small islands in the water... ...while the interior of the peninsula is very mountainous. Our first stop was the town of Stykkishólmur, which is the biggest settlement in Snæfellsnes (but still pretty small!). We were hoping we might be able to find somewhere to get lunch here, but there wasn't a lot going on. Just some colourful wooden houses... ...and a small harbour. We drove on into the mountains again. Although it was a bit cloudy, there were some really beautiful views on this stretch of the road. The road itself was a little bumpy at times! We drove through the Berserkjahraun lava field. It was a very unusual landscape! From there it wasn't far to the small village of Grundarfjörður. We had more luck there with food, finding a small cafe where we were able to get lunch (although Tim ended up with a chicken burger drowned in mayonnaise!). We finished off with coffee and cake Just outside of the village is Kirkjufell. This is allegedly the most photographed mountain in Iceland (I think it's been in Game of Thrones). Tim wasn't very impressed; he thought it looked like a witch's hat Across the road from the mountain there is a waterfall. There's a path you can follow up and around it. Compared to some of the other waterfalls we've seen on this holiday, this one seemed rather small. But it was pretty The views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the path were good as well. This is the highly photographed view of the mountain and the waterfall, which features on lots of postcards. There were some very serious people with tripods here, trying to get the perfect shot. The best view of the waterfall itself was from a bit further down the path. Once we'd taken enough photos, we were on our way again, progressing further along the northern edge of the peninsula. We were soon rewarded by some beautiful views out across the sea. We were on the look-out for a beach called Skarðsvík, which apparently is one of the view beaches in Iceland which has golden sand, but we struggled to find the correct turn-off. Instead we found ourselves driving through what looked like another lava field. When we saw this strange shape looming on the horizon, we just had to pull over and make an unscheduled stop. This is the ancient volcanic crater of Saxhóll. You can follow a metal staircase to get to the top. It was quite a tiring climb! It was smaller than the crater we'd been to yesterday, but still impressive There were some good views from the top as well; the mountains in one direction... ...and the sea in the other We got back on the main road and this time managed to find the correct turn-off for the beach By Icelandic standards, the sand does look pretty golden. We stood and watched the waves for a while. Some of them were enormous! This definitely isn't a beach where you would want to paddle! We're staying overnight tonight in the small town of Rif. As we began to drive down the road towards it, we suddenly got a wonderful view of the ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano. We're staying in a small apartment tonight, which was one of our cheaper nights at £108. It's been another fun day - definitely worth taking a detour off the Ring Road to visit Snæfellsnes