The day I (kinda) beat my fear of horses
Isn’t Gamla fjósið the cutest and coziest thing ever? We stopped here for a quick bite to eat on the morning of our fourth day before heading out in search of more waterfalls.
Skógafoss is, in one word, ginormous – it possesses a width of 25 meters (82 feet) and a drop of 60 meters (197 feet).
Another really good one would be majestic.
Skógafoss flows from the river Skóga, which originates from both Eyjafjallajökull (which I mentioned briefly here) and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers. There’s an iron ring on display at a nearby folk museum (Skógasafn) believed to have been used in an attempt to retrieve a chest owned by Þrasi Þórólfsson, one of the first Viking settlers in the area (and who may or may not have been a giant), from the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The chest is believed to still be somewhere in its depths.
It is quite a climb to the top, but the views are undeniably worth it.
We stopped a few (read: many) times, just trying to get friendly with horses while they grazed by the road. Not being very familiar with horses, this was, for me, a mixture of attraction (they’re just really big dogs, right?) and sweat-inducing fear (they’re just really big
We were eventually successful in our endeavor to befriend some of these equine wonders, though I could never quite take my eyes away from their teeth. They may be flat, but have you seen the size of them?
Brautarholtskirkja was originally built in 1857 by Eyjólf Þorvarðarson from Bakki, a farm in a nearby area known as Kjalarnes. It has, however, been recently re-built from the ground up. This is also a good alternative to Búðakirkja, if you’re not able to make the drive all the way up there.
An underwater tunnel that goes below the Hvalfjörður fjord, the Hvalfjörður tunnel shortens the travel time across the fjord from ~ an hour to a little under 10 minutes. The tunnel is 5,770 meters (18,930 feet) long and reaches a depth of 165 meters (541 ft) below sea level, and was opened on July 11, 1998. While at first it was necessary to pay in order to go through it, the tunnel has been toll-free since 2018.
Snæfellsnes Peninsula has to be my favorite region that we visited – every corner was a crazy vista and every moment of every drive was beautifully striking.
While at Snæfellsnes, we stayed in Grundarfjörður at The Old Post Office Guesthouse, which used to be, as its name suggests, the town’s old Post Office before being turned into a guesthouse in 2010. After a brief stop there, we drove for about 10 minutes until we reached Kirkjufell and its neighbor, Kirkjufellsfoss.
Kirkjufell & Kirkjufellsfoss
The name Kirkjufell means “Church Mountain,” and it’s so called because it is considered to resemble a church. It is also, apparently, the most photographed mountain in all of Iceland. I can’t imagine why.
Behold – that most metal and badass of travel destinations in Iceland, sitting nonchalantly by the Búðahraun lavafield, which covers about 915 hectares and is somewhere between 5,000-8,000 years old.
Búðakirkja was originally built in 1703, but was eventually torn down due to a lack of parishioners, causing the parish of Búðir itself to be abolished in 1816. Steinunn Sveinsdóttir fought strongly for a new church, though the national church rejected her request. In 1848, she finally obtained royal permission to build a new church, and the door bears the quote, “This church was built in 1848 without the support of the spiritual fathers.” Steinunn is now buried in the graveyard by the church.
It was newly rebuilt in 1984-86, consecrated in 1987, and is now officially protected, being one of the oldest wooden churches in the country. And also pretty badass.