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iceland part IV - the snæfellsnes penisula

The last part of our tour around Iceland took us north to Akureyri then over to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and back to Reykjavik. We began the day with a visit to a massive waterfall called Godafoss. I won't even try to describe the crowds of people at this waterfall.



We then returned to the bus for the drive to Akureyri. We were all looking forward to Akureyri as we had free time to roam but unfortunately the weather had other ideas. It started raining during the night and it bucketed down all day. I was determined not to spend my time in a cafe eating and drinking, so off I wandered to the Botanical Gardens.



The gardens were a 10-15 minutes walk from the downtown area.



Inside the gardens I found some traditional cottages painted black, fountains, a cafe and a rotunda and flower beds, of course.



I have no idea what this flower is called, but I liked it so I took a photograph.



I was taken by this water fountain and was challenged by a passer by to test it's functionality. I tried it out and it worked like dream.



There were lots of pretty vistas in the gardens.



The gardens were lovely but pretty damp and eventually I relented and returned to the downtown area. I did the teeniest bit of shopping (rhubarb jam and glacier salt); found a cafe downtown for lunch and camped there until it was time to get on the bus for our journey to Siglufjörður.



Siglufjörður is a pretty fishing village.



It was a thriving herring fishing centre until overfishing decimated the herring population. Now it's known for it's brightly coloured houses and a museum devoted to herrings.



I did manage to sneak in a few black and white photos.



Last stop of the day was Hofsos.



Hofsos is home to these tar coated buildings and has a small cafe serving traditional Icelandic pancakes which the rest of the group enjoyed before we stopped for the night at a horse farm. The next morning we set off towards the 
Snæfellsnes Peninsula stopping first at Stykkishólmur.



Stykkishólmur is another pretty village with colourful wooden houses and a pretty old church. 




Then it was off to Grundarfjörður to see Kirkjufellfoss, our waterfall for the day.



From there we drove on Djúpalónssandur Beach. It's a very pebbly beach and home to 4 lifting-stones of varying dimensions from huge to tiny. The lifting stones were used to measure the strength of fishermen. If the fisherman couldn't lift the designated stone he wasn't allowed to go out on the boat.



Debris from a 1948 boat wreck left untouched on the beach, in tribute.



As we walked to the next beach I turned around to take a final shot of the fresh water lagoon.



I snapped this shot of the beach before we walked to Hellnar.



There's a small cafe at Hellnar and that's where we started our walk to Arnarstapi.



Arnarstapi is home to an amazing bird colony and we watched transfixed by the birds swooping and calling in the basalt arches.



We walked past the Gaklettur Arch to the end of our walk.



Our final stop for the day was the tiny hamlet of Budir, home to the famous black church and the only white sandy beach in Iceland.



A few years ago I saw some beautiful wedding photos of a couple who'd eloped to Iceland. They were married in this church and had their reception at the local hotel, the only other building in Budir. Those photos inspired my trip to Iceland so I indulged myself by taking a few photos. This one was taken towards the sea.



I took photos in black and white.



I took a few close ups.



And I took photos facing the mountains.



Later on when I looked through the images I realized I hadn't managed to get inside the church even though it was open. I ran out of time. I waited and waited for people to enter and exit the church so I could get a clear shot of the church in all it's stillness. I'm glad I did because by the time I returned to the church from the beach, a bus load of people had arrived and the moment was gone. I'd kept how important that image of the church without a soul in sight was to me. Can you imagine how I'd have felt if I hadn't been able to get the shot that had brought me to Iceland, after a 32 hour air journey and 9 days travelling around Iceland crammed into a mini bus??



The following day our tour guide Jens departed and was replaced by another tour guide, another driver and another bus. We had a few things to see and do before returning to Reykjavik, one of which was to climb the Grabok Crater. 



This was the view down into the crater.



We had 2 more waterfalls to view before the tour ended. Hraunfossar and it's companion waterfall, Barnafoss or the Children's Falls.



On the way to the Children's Falls a stray tourist suddenly pulled out in front of our bus and in trying to avoid an accident, our driver ran into the gutter. A panel came loose and fell off the bus and in the interest of safety, our trip was curtailed and we limped back to Reykjavik and just like that the trip ended. All in all it was a bit of an anti-climax but as I had allowed myself 2 extra days in Reykjavik there was more exploring to come but this time solo.

See you all again soon with some photos of Reykjavik and a mini shop-shoot I did while there.

Bye for now,

Jillian

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