Welcome to the Westfjords

Day_07_03

Borðeyri

It takes about 4 hours to get to Borðeyri with a single stop along the way.  We chose  Blönduós.  With a total of about 245 km we didnt need to start too early, and this was how we approached it.  There was no need to rush.

Going up to the image above, I remember that I saw maybe 2 or 3 coloured skies the entire 13 days, so what you see above is about as dark as it got.  During the day, we mostly we drove in overcast weather with the occasional sun coming through.  The clouds would clear around 8:30 p.m. each day, leaving a beautiful blue skies to wake up to, at around 1 or 2 am!

But before we got to our location above, we needed to travel.  I was thinking the north of Iceland was going to be a fairly boring trip.  No one ever talks about the North of Iceland. And I guess with only 3 hours to drive it, it wasn’t really a long time to be in the north of anything.  Google says it takes about 42 hours to go from Townsville to Broome, so that’s the Australian equivalent.

Day_07_01

Prior to setting off for the day, we would always do some kind of  research on places to stop.  Whether it be for a toilet break or a bite to eat, we needed to have a rough idea on what we would be doing.  A good starting point when travelling in Iceland is to look for the N1 Service Stations.  At these stations, we knew we could always fill up our petrol guzzling Landcruiser and our own bellies at the same time (with food that wasn’t too far apart from what the Toyota drank).  It’s still just Service Station Food, but some were certainly better than others. On this day was we arrived at Blönduós, we chose a B&S restaurant that Trip Adviser had suggested to us.  As we arrived, we found it was closed for renovations.  How unfortunate, but we still had the N1 was next door.  Is that fortunate or unfortunate?  The stop, which was really quite short did allow some time to go to an interesting looking church about 100 metres up the road.  Despite the many “flat-pack Ikea” churches we found, there were also some interesting ones, that differed from the flock…  Don’t get me wrong, those churches are lovely, but a good half of the churches we saw had white walls, a red roof and only the door changed colours.  Mostly they were blue or red.

As I drove the northern stages of Route 1, my mind turned often to the book written by South Australian writer (her first book), Hannah Kent.  The book is called Burial Rites and was written about Agnes Magnúsdóttir who was put to death after murdering her master in 1829.  I knew these things had occurred in the area we drove on that day but didn’t know where. Next time I will be armed with this information and I’d love to investigate the area of where the last murderer put to death in Iceland had lived her life.  Did she even commit the murder?

For those interested, this is where the key events occurred.

  • The murders occurred here at Illugastaðir
  • The area Agnes Magnúsdóttir stayed in the farm at Vatnsdalur
  • Agnes was born in 1795, and the Parish Priest (Pétur Bjarnason) at Undirfell
  • The place of her execution in 1830 at Þrístapar

We continued on Route 1 and made our way to Route 68.  68 turns up and into the Westfjords which meant were were no longer on our then Icelandic Ring Route.  By turning left, we have just added a few days to our trip, but we do get to see one of the most beautiful areas of Iceland.  Could it be more beautiful than what we’d already seen?

As we approached our destination , we knew werent staying in any town.  We weren’t staying anywhere particularly well marked and according to our Airbnb directions (where the GPS coordinates would take us at least half an hour further than we needed to be), we were on the looking for a piece of wood!  The following were the instructions given to us.

Drive approximately 18 kilometers and turn left by the large piece of wood and the sign “Hlaðhamar”. The house is on your right.

After driving past, Julia said that she had seen what she thought was the “piece of wood”.  We turned around and she was right. What a lovely old place.  It was super comfortable and the only complaint we really had, was that the workmen at the back of the house continued into the late hours.  I guess it wasn’t really an issue with the fading light now was it?

Day_07_02

Our home for the night near Borðeyri

We unloaded the car, set ourselves down to relax with a nice hot coffee.  Jane and I decided to go for a relaxing walk down to the sea, opposite our home.  You can see how beautiful the area is in some the photo’s below.  However, the stroll along the pebble beach brought us back much quicker than we walked down.  A bird in the vicinity kept coming down near us, perching on some wood, or a large rock.  It kept a close eye on us whilst it shrieked for attention from other birds.  We weren’t taking the chance of what happened in Seyðisfjörður, where a flock of Arctic Terns attacked a man with fervour and zest.  We went back home for another hot coffee…

Kitchen Shot

Day_07_04

The Kitchen Shot at Borðeyri

Enjoy the few shots I took on Day 7 of our wonderful journey through the North and to the West of Iceland.

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