Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.


June 27th and 28th – Reykjavik

I am writing this post several days after returning home to Oregon.  It has taken me several days to get back on the Pacific Northwest time clock.

We drove into Reykjavik early in the morning on the 26th and took our luggage to the AirB&B where we were staying.

It is a lovely home with 100-year-old pine floors, a nice kitchen, and a place to sit at a dining room table.

What a pleasure to actually each have a bed of our own.

Finding the van rental place took a bit of an effort.  I told them all about the dent in the side of the camper and gave them the young women’s information.  It did take a long time to go over all of the paperwork, but everything worked out great.

Then we had to get the 1st cash withdrawal from an ATM (less than 10 ISK for both of us) in order to take the bus back into the city.  Traveling for 15 days without getting any cash has been great.  After we found the bus stop, Elaine checked out the schedule.

We stopped at the tourist information office in Reykjavik; register for the free walking tour; and bought our bus pass to get to the airport on the 27th..  The young woman told us about places she would choose to eat in town.

We went to Mandi’s for lunch.

It was a great choice.Elaine and I shared a falafel wrap and a lamb wrap.  Both of the were very delicious.

We wandered around the city for a while.  I liked the signs on the windows of this bar.

We found our group tour with  Jóhannes as our guide.

I usually don’t like tours, but this one was great.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and was very informative.  I wish I could remember all of the things he told us.

I do remember:

  • What the colors of the flag and shield symbolize.  Red stand for the volcano; White for the glacier; and Blue for the color of the mountains in the distance.

  • Much of Icelandic history has been based on Sagas which have been told over and over. Jóhannes  said that Icelandic people were actually mostly farmers. So the Vikings who are often referred to  as Icelanders where actually  from many other countries.  The pillaged and robbed.
  • Building wooden housed in Reykjavik were banned after the great fire of 1915.  After that houses were either concrete or corrugated iron.
  • There are only 627 police officers in Iceland.  Prisoners do not attempt escape because there is no place to go.  Sometimes they play football for recreation. When the ball goes over the wall, one of the prisoners climbs over the wall to get it and returns to the game,
  • The system of education in Iceland is divided in four levels: playschool, compulsory, upper secondary and higher, and is similar to that of other Nordic countries. Education is mandatory for children aged 6–16. I think he said this has been extended to 18 years old, but I am not sure.  Most institutions are funded by the state; there are very few private schools in the country.  Many, many students take a “Gap Year” before entering higher education.
  • The murder rate is an average of 1.5 per year.
  • The Reykjavík Cathedral is a cathedral church in Reykjavík, Iceland, the seat of the Bishop of Iceland and mother church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, as well as the parish church of the old city centre and environs.

  • I took some photos of buildings as we toured the city.


  • The old prison, located at Skolavordustigur, was built in 1874. Originally it was also used as a courthouse and housed max. 23 inmates. In 1989 the number of cells were reduced to 19 and today the prison houses 18 inmates at any given time, there of two isolation cells. It has been operated for over 130 years. The prison is a two-story building with a basement, which is not used any more. The prison cells are on the ground floor as well as the rooms of the wardens. There are no recreational facilities but there is a rather large outdoor recreational area in the back.

  • Jóhannes showed the beer mitten (Bjórvettlingur)which people knit in Iceland.

There is an orange soda drink inside this mitt which is designed to keep the drink cold and my hand warm.  I enjoyed drinking the soda.

  • This sculpture is called the Unknown Bureaucrat.  It honors — and lightly satirizes — the thankless, anonymous job of the bureaucrat. The 1994 sculpture by Magnús Tómasson depicts a man in a suit holding a briefcase, with his head and shoulders subsumed in a slab of un-sculpted stone.

Jóhannes told us so much more information, but I don’t remember the rest.

After our tour we explored Reykjavik and found the restaurant that was suggested for dinner.   It was called Sægreifinn – The Sea Barron.  We ate lobster soup and way too much bread.  After dinner we found the ice-cream store, Valdis.   I had a double scoop of ice-cream.  This was actually only the second time I found hard ice-cream in Iceland.  All of the other ice-cream places had only soft ice-cream.

Elaine discovered that there was going to be music at noon at Hallgrímskirkja.  So we walked to the BSI where we were able to store out suitcases and headed back to the church.

Located atop Skólavörðuholtið hill, it towers over downtown and giving its striking presence to the Reykjavík skyline.

Skólavörðuholtið is 745 meters (244 feet) tall and is the tallest building in Reykjavík, the second highest building in Iceland.  The church was designed by the State Architect of Iceland, Guðjón Samuelsson in 1937, after years of discussion about where to build a church named after and in the honour of Hallgrímur Pétursson, one of the best known poets of Iceland. However, the war delayed the start of construction, which only began in 1945. Work proceeded slowly, as the church was a monumental undertaking. The crypt beneath the choir was constructed first, being consecrated in 1948. The steeple and the wings were then consecrated in 1974, while the construction of the nave was only completed in 1986.

The organ in the church is beautiful  I wish we could have heard it.

A woman we were sitting near pointed out that the foot in each of these art depictions seems to be stepping out of the frame.

We felt very lucky and thoroughly enjoyed hearing a wonderful choir performance by Schola Cantorum, as our last experience in Iceland.  The acoustics in the church were fabulous.

After the performance we were invited to have tea/coffee and treats so we could meet with the choir members.

Elaine and I had a fabulous time in Iceland.  We spent 15 days exploring and definitely could have spent more time.  The campervan was a great idea because it gave us the flexibility to choose each day were to go and how much time to spend in each place.   Traveling with Elaine was so much fun. Perhaps I will return one day to see the Westfjords.

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June 25th and June 26th Landmannalauger

We took the bus in the morning to Landmannalauger. Landmannalaugar is the northern end of the Laugavegur hiking trail. The Iceland Touring Association operates a mountain hut with sleeping bag accommodation for 75 people and a public toilet with showers. During the tourist high season there is also a small shop there that sells coffee and basic groceries, Several bus It was really hard to choose the photos I wanted to upload.  Each moment on our hike was awe-inspiring.  This place is so spectacular and each of these photos will hopefully bring back the memories of how happy I was each moment as I took-in the scenery all around me.  The range of colors was so amazing.

It was pretty cold when we started so I was bundled-up with many layers of clothing.

We walked mostly in silence just appreciating the views.

This is just one of the obsidian rocks.

The colors of the mountains defy description.

The streaks of snow enhanced the beauty of the mountains.  By this time the weather had warmed up and my jacket was now stored in my pack.

We started down a side path where we had to walk though some pretty muddy spots…

… and found it easier to walk through the snow in some places.

I love this purple plant.

We sat down for a snack and this Frenchman came along.  I think he said that his name was Gracie,   It was a lot of fun talking with him as he practiced his english with us.


I love this red rock.

As we were walking along one of the narrow rock filled paths, a group of bicyclists came riding over the rocks.  We met up with them again later on their way down from the top;

In one area there were many places where the sulfurous steam was spewing out form the ground and we were engulfed in it.

Elaine did manage to get a bit clearer photo of me as it blew in a different direction.

I continued to walk a bit higher and Elaine waited for me.

I just wanted to get up to this rock formation.

On  my way back down I noticed that Elaine was covering her head to protect herself form the sun.

More steam coming from the ground.

On our way back we walked to the edge of the lava and saw this wonderful creek rushing down through the valley.

It became calmer at the bottom.

When we returned to camp we retrieved our bags and headed to the lodge where our beds were (along with the other 75 to 80 people.

We were glad to have been assigned to a room on the first floor so it would be easier to go outside to the bathrooms in the middle of the night.  The room reminded me of the Camino.

After dinner we walked around camp and I bought a deck of cards.  I taught Elaine to play Kings in the Corner.  Then we taught the people sitting next to us.  We had fun playing cards before we went to sleep.

In the morning Elaine took a photo of me eating some of our standard food (peppers and crackers).  We really didn’t cook much.

This is a photo of the many tent campers early in the morning.  The majority of them were going backpacking (hut to hut).

Campers used the clothes line in the bathroom to dry their clothes.

This is on of the places that the tent campers ate.  In this photo there is only one person eating at the table but usually it was very crowded.

I took a walk back to the pond where people had been bathing the day before.  The next two photos are of Redshanks that I saw near the hot pool..

The water in the pool was calm.  What a beautiful place to bathe even through I still decided not to partake.

Here is Elaine taking a photo of our breakfast.

This is our well equipped kitchen.

Before our hike, we had to re-stuff the garbage bags with our sleeping bags so we could store them when we went hiking

We crossed the bridge where our bus had driven through the water yesterday and saw this sign.



This was the crossing.

These ducks that were in the water are called Herlequins.  They sure are beautiful.

Here is Elaine coming up the narrow very slippery path on one of our morning hikes..

The view from the top was great.

It was really pretty steep coming up but we finally got a view of the lake.

This is the top of where we hiked on the first hike.

The views were again spectacular,

It was not easy getting a photo of this ptarmigan.  It moved pretty quickly through the field.

I love the streaks of snow contrasting with the mountains.

We could see down into the camp.

What a great rock.

I loved the flowers.

Eliane decided to wait for me as I tried to get to the top to see the lake from the other side.  It was really hard work because we were in a hurry.


This photo does not show the actual color of the red rock on this trail.

Right before we boarded the bus to go back to our camper-van I took a photo of two of the people we met.

Joanna and her father, Peter Fischer, are traveling all over Iceland on their tandem bicycle.  Peter has traveled solo through many, many countries.  I was reminded about Bob Voris and I traveling 1500 miles in the U.S. and Canada on our tandem in 1981, but our roads were not these difficult gravel, pot-holed roads and not shoulder roads they are doing in Iceland.  

This is our  bus that we took back to our camper-van crossing the river same river we crossed on the way to Landmammalauger.

The water was even too deep for some lower 4 wheel drive cars to cross.  Much of the  road up before this river crossing is an F road.  We heard that there are plans to possibly improve the road to Landmannalauger.   This would be a terrible idea.  The facilities at the campground seem to be just enough for the many, many people who get there now.  Elaine and I think more people would create such a tremendously negative  impact on this pristine environment.

We decided to drive to Reykjavik and stay at the city campground.  We ate dinner at Floren Café which had lovely gardens.  The smoked salmon quiche and salad were wonderful.

After dinner we sorted through our stuff so we would be ready to turn in our camper-van in the morning.  I discovered that I had lost my charger for my iPhone – not sure how I had left it in Landmannalauger.  After freaking out a bit, I decided to walk over to the city pool which is called Laugardalslaug.

Because I am over 65, the pool was free, but I had to pay 55 ISK to rent a towel.  Silly me just didn’t want to get my travel towel wet so I left it in the van.  There were 5 hot tubs ranging in temperature from 38 celsius to 44 celsius.  I had such a good time talking to the people at the pool.

The campground was only about 200 meters from the pool, but I was so nice and warm that I asked a man who was sitting in his car to drive m e back. When I got back to the campground, I saw that Peter and Johanna were there.  I was surprised that they arrived so quickly.  But it turns out that several spokes on their tandem wheels had broken and they did not have enough of them to replace them.  So they had to leave the tandem at Landmannalauger and take the bus to Reykjavik to buy more of them.  I think they have 2 more weeks of travel ahead of them.

I tried to write this post last night but too many people were using the wi-fi in camp for me to upload the photos.  But I had a wonderful time talking with a group of  people from Ukraine and Poland who were on their way up to  Lanemannalauger to hike for several days.  One of them helped my charge my phone with his charger and reminded me that I could us the USB port on my laptop for charging.

These 2 days have been such a highlight of our trip and an incredibly wonderful way to end our camper-van experience.


June 24th – Iceland

When we got up this morning, we walked around the area to look at the waterfalls again.  This has been the most beautiful campsite.


We left before we even at breakfast to find the ferry dock to go to Heimæy Island.  After we purchased our tickets, we had breakfast at a picnic bench.

Then we boarded the 9:45 ferry for the 30 minute ride to Heimæy.  The first thing we did to get coffee for Eliane.

The woman who owned the coffee shop was very sweet and gave us books of photos and told us about how her father woke her up in the middle of the night and they evacuated the island.  She told us how to walk up to the top of the volcano.

We walked part way into the lava field when I discovered that I had left my camera at the coffee shop.  So we walked back to get it.  The owner had noticed that I left it and was driving around looking for me. That was so nice of her. I waited for her to return.

I took several photos on the way to the lava field, in the lave field, and on the way up the volcano.

It was quite the hike up to the top.

When we finally reached the top, there was a group of high school students with their teachers.  I asked the teacher to tell me about what had happened because I couldn’t figure out where the crater was.  He explained that it wasn’t a regular volcano.  The earth had just split at a fissure and fire and lava erupted from there.  This is an article I found online.

“January 23, 1973, a previously unknown fissure in the Earth beneath the small Icelandic island of Heimaey opened up less than a mile from the town of Vestmannaeyjar, which had a population of about 5,000 at the time. Within a day’s time, almost the entire island was safely evacuated, and geologists began to monitor the eruption. The newly formed Eldfell volcano erupted for about six months, covering much of Vestmannaeyjar in ash, destroying several hundred homes, and sending lava flows toward the harbor—at one point raising the water temperature to 111° F (44° C).

An enormous and largely successful effort was made to slow and control the lava flow by pumping seawater and spraying the leading edge of the flows. Within a year after the end of the eruption, most residents had returned, and today, the island remains inhabited, with a population of about 4,500.”

I took this photo off of the web.

The teacher showed us a open spot and told us to put our hand down into it.

It was really warm in there.  He said that it could erupt any time again.

These are some more photos from today.

The town is below.  The town used to come right to were we were sitting but all of the houses up to there were destroyed.

We walked back down and explored the town before taking the ferry back to Hella.  Elaine and I are so glad we decided to go out to Heimæy Island today.

We are camped in Arhus in Hella tonight.  Tomorrow we are going to Landmannalauger by bus and have to take our sleeping bags with us.  So I am making sure that they fit into the black bags we got from a coffee shop many days ago.

We are camped in Hella tonight.  Tomorrow we are going to Landmannalauger by bus and have to take our sleeping bags with us.  So I am making sure that they fit into the black bags we got from a coffee shop many days ago.


These are all the people who were still having dinner at midnight tonight.

They have all gone to bed and I am just finishing my post.  I am now all caught up.  No posting for the next couple of days when we are out hiking.  Hoping for good weather.


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June 23rd. – Iceland

Breakfast was included in our room stay last night.  The family who owned the place was from the Philippines.  It was nice to have a breakfast inside again.

It wasn’t long this morning before we were passing waterfalls.  This one was named Stjórnarfoss.

We liked the tan-colored rock behind this one.

Many times as we drove we passed fields of lava covered in what I think is moss.  Today we pulled off the road to take a walk through some of it to see it more closely.



There are more and more lupins everywhere.  Elaine heard that they last a long time in Iceland because it doesn’t get hot.

The mountains in the distance are ethereal.

It was another day of wonderful scenery.

We stopped in Vic and drove up to the church.

And walked up above it.

Then we parked down by the black sand beaches and took photos of the Sea Stacks.

These are the iconic cluster of Towering Sea Stacks (Reynisdranger).  They raise from the ocean like ebony towers at the end of Vik’s black-sand beach.  It is traditionally believed to be trolls that caught out in the sun.   Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock.

Contemporary legends note the story of a husband who found his wife taken by the two trolls, frozen at night. The husband made the two trolls swear to never kill anyone ever again. His wife was the love of his life, whose free spirit he was unable to provide a home for; she found her fate out among the trolls, rocks, and sea at Reynisfjara.

This sand beach is widely regarded as the most impressive black-sand beach in Iceland.

Again it was a very windy day.  We were sitting in the Campervan making our next plan when a young woman in the camper next to us did not hold onto her door when she opened it.  That is a must do rule as you get in or out of your vehicles every time.  Anyway, it slammed into the side of our camper and made a dent.  The two women did not think it was dented, but it was.  So I took a photo of her driver’s licence, the licence plate of their camper and the rental papers from the company they used.  Hopefully we won’t have a problem when we return our camper.

Then we drove to Dyrhólæy to see the rocky plateau and huge stone sea arch which rises dramatically from the surrounding plain.  The promontory is a nature reserve rich in bird life. Even though we read that it was closed from 15 May to 25 June, there were many cars going up the road.  The road was extremely narrow (mostly one lane) and twisty.

There were more sandy beaches.

… and birds to photograph.

This place is Loftsalahellir


Loftsalahellir Cave is a rather large and unusual cave made of Tuff rock on the southwest side of Geitafjall Mountain which sports a variety of basalt formations and lush vegetation on its slopes. The cave served as an assembly place for the farmers in Mýrdal and nearby is Gálgaklettur or ‘gallows rock’. The name suggests that the execution of criminals was performed there early in the last century, although no records to confirm this have ever been found.

There was a sheep in the cave.

Then we drove to Skógafoss.  It is a 62 meter waterfall topples over a rocky cliff at the western edge of Skógar.  The wind was blowing so hard.

We climbed the steeps stairs to be at the top of the waterfall.  There were a lot of stairs and it was extremely windy at the top.

Elaine took a photo of me for perspective.

The power of this waterfall is amazing.  I tried to o video, but it is just not working tonight.

We passed a couple more turf places.

The roof of this shed is literally under the rock

Elaine is taking a photo.

Today the wind was at 10 meters per second which is 22.36 miles an hour and 15 meters per second which is 33.55 miles per hour.  We met a couple who had hiked 20 km to the top of a mountain to stay in a hut but they were told that it was way too windy and were sent back down.

We drove to our campsite and stopped at Selljalandfoss.  The water was literally going sideways from the wind.  I tried to video from my iPad and it was almost blown out of my hands.

The area is also known as  Troll Woman’s Gorge. According to legend and old troll woman was trying to cross the gorge. but had to retreat when she heard the bells ringing at the nearby Asólfssálar Church.

Falling 65 meters over an old sea cliff, Selljalandfoss is a waterfall that you can walk behind. As you circle the falls, you can see it from all angles. if the sun shines, rainbows appear while the thundering sound of the waterfall plays in the background.  If  the temperature had not been in the low 40s and the wind had not been blowing at over  33 mph with very strong gusts way over that, perhaps we could have walked behind the falls.

The place we camped tonight is the most beautiful campsite yet.  There are several falls right near us.

We shared our dinner table with another couple

… and the cat that was not to be disturbed even when we moved the chair.

We had our typical dinner.

I am still dressed pretty warmly even though we are inside.

Sine I am writing this post the next day I can add that it was so windy overnight that the whole campervan was rocking and rolling in the middle of the night.  This is quite a summer in Iceland.



June 22nd – Iceland

There were many beautiful sights on our morning drive.  I love the farms in the distance and the glaciers.

The old abandoned farms are my favorites.

Our first stop today was to see Iceberg at Jökulsárlón which is a large glacial lake on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park.  The parking lot was crowded and some people were lined up to take a boat into the lake to see the icebergs.  After Antarctica, these icebergs just did not grab my attention.

From there we went to Skaftafell.  It took a very long time to find a parking place.  We went back and forth between the two parking lots before we found a spot.  Skaftafell is a wilderness area in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park. Its huge glaciers include Skaftafellsjökull and Svínafellsjökull.  We took a short walk (about 3.8 km) that was self guided.  One of the numbered spots had information about tufts.

In the above photo the large boulder at the bottom of hillside fell from the hill behind it.  It is called tuff and was formed when a volcanic eruption took place under water, including under glacial ice.  When the rising magma came into contact with cold water, it cooled instantly.  Steam explosions hurled bits of the material, called ash, through the water and even into the air.  Over time the ash consolidates and hardens into what is called Tuff.

There were several waterfalls along the way.

There were ravens up on the cliffs.

Along the way we learned about how far the glacier has been receding but I lost the pamphlet.

It is hard to believe how many layers of clothes I have been wearing on many of these days (wool tank top, long sleeve shirt, wool long-sleeved shirt, down vest, and my Antarctica jacket with a buff and hat on my head and gloves on my hands.

At the end of the walk was the large glacier but we didn’t walk all the way up to it because it.  It was very windy and cold.

I liked the color of the moss on this rock.  It is very spongy.

Of course I had to take another raven photo and another bird along the way.

It would have been nice to take several more hikes in this area.  We were struck again at how much more time Iceland deserves.

There were many more spectacular rock formations along the way.  These photos just cannot capture the beauty of the landscape.

I think the above photo may be of Mt. Lómagnúpur.  There is a legend connected to it.

The Saga of Njáll speaks of a dream chieftain Flosi Þorgeirsson had. He dreamt that he was by Mt. Lómagnúpur. The mountain opened up and a giant stepped out of the mountain, holding a large iron rod. The giant called out the names of Flosi’s men. First he called out the name of Grímur the Red, a kinsman of Flosi, and Árni Kolsson. Then he called out the names of Eyjólfur Bölverksson and Ljótur, the son of Hallur at Síða, and another 6 men.

The giant then kept silent for a while. He then called out the names of 5 of Flosi’s men, which were the sons of Sigfús. He then called out another 5 names, Lambi, Móðólfur and Glúmur. And he called the names of another 3 men. Last of the names were Gunnar Lambason and Kolur Þorsteinsson. The giant then walked towards Flosi and Flosi asked him what was new and what was his name. The giant told Flosi that  his name were Járngrímur. Flosi analysed the dream and believed that all these men, whose names were called out by the giant, were going to be killed.

I may have the wrong photo, but I like learning about the  legends.

I was looking at the farm-house in the photo below and was wondering who possibly could have lived on such a beautiful property and so isolated.


It is hard to see in the above photo, but I noticed that there were turf houses on the farm.  Elaine stopped the camper on a spot on the side the road where another car was parked.  The sign said that the place was private, but we saw two other people walking beyond the fence on the road up to the farm.  So we started up the hill, crossed the cattle crossing.

…and entered the farm.

What an utterly amazing place!!!

The land is in front of an amazing rock and several waterfalls on the property.


This is a photo of the main house.  The waterfalls are in the cliffs behind the house.

There was a paper tacked on the side of the house that said the last farmer on this property had died.

We spent a long time walking around the property and exploring every single building, shed and tool we would find. I was overwhelmed with what a wonderful find this was.

We were so amazed to find this small chapel.

There was a key in the door that turned to let us into the chapel.

So we entered.

The cabinet at the back had a date on it.

There was a small attic and we reached up and found this bell.

There were several papers hanging on the wall written in Icelandic.

This photo of me in the doorway shows how small the chapel was.


We looked into this shed.

Elaine and I were totally overwhelmed when we looked into the shed and found these 3 sheep (one with a black face that hid behind the others) huddled in the back of the shed.  I am sure we were frightening them.

There was a small grave site.


There was a small grove a trees.

Near the grove of trees was a plaque with a genealogy chart that dates back to 1720.

Just a few more photos from the farm.



I just couldn’t stop taking photos.

The words on this post say, lokað tímabundið – Closed Temporarily”


As I am writing this post, I am still astounded at how lucky we were to stumble onto such a fabulous experience.

We passed one more amazing farm property on our way to find a place to sleep.

It is hard to see the bottom of the waterfall that comes almost down to one of the buildings on the farm.  The farms in Iceland are truly amazing.

We passed a place to stay and decided to spend one more night in a room.  Little did we know that it was going to start raining.   I can’t remember the name of it, but it is in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

I was still so excited about the farm with turf houses, that searched the web for information.  This is what I found.

Old turf roofed farm at Núpsstaður. The farm buildings date back to the early 19th century. The chapel is one of the last turf churches in Iceland.

Núpsstaðakirkja, the chapel, was deconsecrated in 1765 by a letter from the King and was most likely used as a farm church or an oratory after that time. For a while it was used as a storehouse. It wasn’t until 200 years later, or in 1961, that it was re-consecrated after having been repaired in 1958-1960.

It is believed that the chapel is mostly from a church that was built around 1650, but a church was abandoned there in 1765. In 1930 the chapel was the first house in the country to be proclaimed inviolate, and in 1961 it was re-consecrated.

The first church at Núpsstaðir is thought to have been built before the Reformation in Iceland, before 1200. The church was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, but very few people were part of the congregation at this time. In 1765 it stopped being used for the congregation and became a private chapel. After 1783 is was used as an outhouse. In 1930, the national museum of Iceland, Þjóðminjasafnið, took over its control and in the years 1958-1960 it was repaired and restored.

The farm has belonged to the same family ever since 1730. The farm mound is an extremely well-preserved source on how farming was, and how the area was used in the past.

We are two lucky travelers.


The chapel is most likely from a church built in 1650. However church has not been at Nupsstadur since 1765.

The chapel was proclaimed inviolate in 1930 and was the first house in Iceland to receive that and was then reconsecrated in 1961.




June 21st – Iceland

This morning we drove up to Laugarfell.  Most of the road was gravel and wound up many switchbacks.  There were beautiful from the road, but it was very rainy.

At Laugarfell there are two natural hot springs which give the place its name. The view from the pools is beautiful and in the distance we should have been able to see Mount Snæfell but the mountain was socked in the clouds. Old sayings claim the water in the springs have healing powers.

The first pool is larger and just under 100 degrees.

The smaller pool is at about 104 or 105 degrees.  That one was my favorite.


It felt like I could just relax there for hours.  But even with the short time I was there, I had raised my body temperature to the point of being a little dizzy.  In hind-site it would have been great to stay in the lodge there.  That way we could have used the hot pots many times and perhaps the weather would have cleared a bit in the night.

When we were leaving they were cleaning the hot-pots which was going to take 2 hours.  Just another example of how lucky Elaine and I are with are timing (not because of good planning just pure luck).  Icelanders do not plan ahead very much.  They just  look at the weather.  We can’t control the weather because of our time limits, but we are behaving like Icelanders and just going with the flow.

On the way back to town to stock up on food supplies (although we actually eat surprisingly little) we stopped to do a hike up to a waterfall.  It was a longer hike than we expected but the rewards were outstanding.

Hengilfoss is one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland 450 meters above sea level and drops into a beautiful gorge.  Hengifossárgljüfur.   A special feature of the rock layers in the gorge surrounding the waterfall is the layers of red clay sandwiched between layers of basalt.  Lower in the gorge beneath the waterfall there are interesting sedimentary rocks about 100 m thick.  The upper layers of tree trunks and branches and other traces of plants occur.

The gorge becomes narrow and shallow below Sellækir, deepening again at Lilanes and broadening into an amphitheater of basalt columns (stðlaberg) that frames the 30 meter high waterfall known as Litlanesfoss or Stuónarhraun (viewing rock” consisting of mainly basalt columns.

The entire canyon was spectacular.  On the way up the path I noticed some sheep hanging out by a small waterfall.

There was one just balancing as it crossed the rock.

We came to the basalt columns first and Litlanesfoss first.

I think I read that the curve in the top of the basalt pillars was caused by the lava becoming cooler.

Walking back into the canyon up to Hengilfoss was so spectacular.  As I walked closer to the falls the rocks were pretty slippery.

Two girls took my photo after I took theirs.

I had walked as far as I could safely.

I loved these sheep that were standing and watching the road but they couldn’t cross the grating.

Their wool was sopping wet.

After our shopping at Bonus we started on our way again.   We had been advised to get off of Highway 1 and took the fjord roads.  It was beautiful in the rain but not too conducive for photography.  Elaine did a fabulous job driving around each fjord as I did the navigating.

We decided to stop in Höfn (pronounced Hop – like you are having a quick hick-up) for the night. Höfn is an Icelandic fishing town in the southeastern part of the country. It lies near Hornafjörður fjord. The town, the second largest in the southeastern part of Iceland, would have offered  scenic views of Vatnajökull if it had not been raining.   We decided to go out for dinner and that was a wonderful choice.  The lobster salad with garlic dressing at Z Bistro was absolutely delicious.  Peppers and tomatoes have been our salad fixings, so a real salad was a treat – aside from loving lobster.

Time for bead at about midnight without even posting on my blog.  I am now 2 more days behind.


June 20th – Iceland

Elaine and I went back out to Hafnarhólmi to see the Puffins again this morning.  I was surprised to see the Hurtigruten ship out in the Borgarfjörður.  It was the Spitsbergen.

All of the people on the ship were wearing red jackets.  Seeing the Hurtigruten through my memory back to being on the FRAM in Antarctica.By the time we got there many of the passengers went into town on a bus.  It was nice to have a couple of the expedition guides out there with us so we could ask them questions.

Of course, I took a few more photos of Puffins.


I love when they open their wings.

And I did one more video of a single Puffin turning his/her head back and forth.

We stayed out there for a long time. Elaine spent some time asking the Hurtigruten marine biologist questions about puffins.  I could watch Puffins for hours and hours.  It reminded me of how much I loved watching the penguins in Antarctica.

On our way back to town I asked a workman what they were building near the dock.  He said that it would be a 3 story building.  The bottom floor would be for the boat people; the second floor for the tourists; and the 3rd floor for a restaurant.  Horrible.  We have heard that Iceland is expecting 3 million visitors this year.  Yikes!  One of the things that Elaine and I are so enjoying is the lack of people on the roads.  Aside from our own pleasure, there are several other reasons that this is a problem.

  • Iceland does not have the infrastructure (campgrounds, pull outs along the roads, restroom facilities) ready for that many people
  • People are already camping illegally along the side of the road wherever they want to stop.  This is against the law but not enforced.  Perhaps because there are not many law enforcement people around.
  • Most importantly the environment of Iceland.  People walk where ever they want to go.  They don’t seem to understand the fragility of the landscape.
  • There are not enough hotels and who wants more hotels anyway.

After we dragged ourselves away from the puffins, we took a walk through town to see the sights and take photos.


Naddi, a monster who lived in Njarðvik Screes, is an animal below the waist and human above, His home was in a cave and from there he came to kill travellers after dark. He was eventually cast into the ocean by a strong man in Borgarfjörður. The man erected a cross to “Get God’s protection,” This is a photo of the cross and the sign. The inscription is in Latin and reads, “Bow down and revere this effigy of Christ, who you pass by. Anno MCCVI (1306)

Elaine noticed that Stella was working on the outside of her turf house.  We went back over to say, “Hi” again.  I asked her about the cellar.  The young workman explained what I meant to her and she took us back into the house and opened the trap door to the cellar.

Stella tried to tell me (in Icelandic) where the light switch was.  So I got down on the floor to reach for it.

I had to use my phone to search for it.

I was showing Stella how I was pushing the button to turn it on.

No matter how many times I pushed it, it wouldn’t turn on the light.  So I went down into the cellar in the dark.

Flash photography didn’t really work.  It was very small and dry.  So back up I came.  I think that Stella was telling us that they stored vegetables down there, but I am not sure.  So we just took another photo with Stella.

We walked by this sculpture.


Here is the story that goes with it.  Naddi, a monster who lived in Njarðvik Screes, is an animal below the waist and human above, His home was in a cave and from there he came to kill travellers after dark. He was eventually cast into the ocean by a strong man in Borgarfjörður. The man erected a cross in the screes to “Get God’s protection,” This is a photo of the cross and the sign. The inscription is in Latin and reads, “Bow down and revere this effigy of Christ, who you pass by. Anno MCCVI (1306).

We walked through the town and checked out the pub and some guest houses.  I really think this home is cute.

Then we checked out the fish factory.  The men were getting the lines ready with bait.

They were working very fast.

Borgarfjörður  is known for stories of elves and spirits. A large rock is situated near the village. It is called Álfaborg (Elf Rock) and the fjord derives its name from it. This is the residence of Borghildur, queen of the Icelandic elves. Many myths revolve around her, other inhabitants of the rock and their interactions with humans.

Both of us wanted to eat the fish soup (Fiskisúpa)again so we went back to Alfa Cafe and hung out for a while.  I love that fish soup and could eat it every day.  I bought some more banana bread with chocolate and we left Borgarfjörður and drove towards Seyðisfjörður.

First we went back to Egilsstaðir to fill up the gas tank.  It will be interesting to find out how much money the gasoline has cost on this trip.

Then we drove over Fjarðarheiði mountain pass 27 kilometres to Seyðisfjörður which is surrounded by mountains with the most prominent Mt. Bjólfur to the west (1085m) and Strandartindur (1010m) to the east. The fjord itself is accessible on each side from the town, by following the main road that leads through the town.

Here are the rest of the photos from today.

This rock is a stuðlaberg.  It has been moved to this spot and put into concrete.

Settlement in Seyðisfjörður traces back to the early period of settlement in Iceland. The first settler was Bjólfur, who occupied the entire fjord. The burned down ruin of a church at Þórunnarstaðir has been carbon-dated to the 10th century, with earlier graves exhumed dating back to the 8th century.

This sculpture of a phone booth was built to commemorate the first telegraph cable connecting Iceland to Europe.  It  made landfall in Seyðisfjörður in 1906, making it a hub for international telecommunications well past the middle of last century.

We drove to the end of the town (as far as the decent gravel road went) and back again.  I liked this boat.

We drove up as high as we could over the town and took this photo looking back.

We went into the hostel just to see it.  It had a great kitchen.  Everybody takes off their shoes before they enter.

With the recent demise of the local fish-processing plant the village has shifted its economy to tourism. It still remains a significant fishing port on the east coast of Iceland, with harbours, ship construction facilities and a slip.

The church is often referred to as the Blue Church.

The Blue Church Summer Concert Series was founded in 1998 by Muff Worden, musician and Sigurður Jónsson engineer. The concerts are held in the church of Seyðisfjörður on Wednesday nights in July and early August. The aim is to offer a program consisting of different music styles, where classical music, jazz and blues, folk music and lighter music get to shine. The performers are usually highly qualified musicians.
The Seyðisfjörður church is a good concert house, praised by the performers. It houses a fairly new Steinway grand piano and a Frobenius organ with 14-15 stops. It has seats for 300 people. The concert guests are both locals and foreign travellers.  I wish we could be there to hear the concerts.

We decided to head back to Egilsstaðir to camp for the night.  That means I will get to shower and dress inside a warm building again tomorrow.

The rock walls all along the road are teaming with waterfalls that come streaming all the way from the top.  I lost count of how many there were.  It seems like they were every few meters on both sides of the road.  What a beautiful drive.

Finished writing this post at 10:45 tonight.  Wow! I am going to get a full night’s sleep.  Yea!!!