July 15, 2021 – Iceland Day 7
To view short video clips of this day, click here.
We left the comforts of our apartment around noon and drove to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The rain had cleared, but we still had some cloudiness. The scenery was as enchanting as ever and I made a point of taking a few short videos along the drive. The quality isn’t great, but my primary goal was to preserve my own memories.
Near Varmahlid, we spotted a sign for the Vioimyrarkirkja Church and pulled off to check it out.
To avoid another difficult gravel road, we drove out of the way south towards Borgarnes before turning north onto the peninsula. The rain and fog rolled back in and poor visibility inhibited our ability to appreciate most of the landscape.
Google Maps indicated that we were approaching Ytri Tunga, a beach known for its seals. If the turn off was marked, I missed it. I drove down what appeared to be a private drive anyway. I eventually spotted a small parking lot with a few cars and pulled in.
My daughter chose a nap over trekking out into the rain. I walked about 10-15 minutes through a field towards a rocky beach. A young German couple approached me on the path from the direction of the water and said there were no seals out. About the same time, another couple approached and directed us to the left where they said there were quite a few resting on the rocks.
The German couple and I made our way together across wet, mossy and very slippery rocks to see the seals. They were in the medical field and were from Cologne. They were very kind and helped me avoid falling at least twice as I recall. After talking and taking in the view for a few moments, I said goodbye and headed back to the van.
The weather wasn’t improving and we decided to try to find a place to stay for the night. I first stopped at the Langaholt, which didn’t look like much from the outside, but was quite pleasant and enticing once inside. Unfortunately, they were fully booked into September. There was a campground located behind it but it looked like a very muddy field and we decided that it would be our last resort.
A few minutes up the road, I found Hotel Budir. It appeared to be a luxury hotel, but I was exhausted and prepared to pay whatever the cost. It, too, was also fully booked out for months. We drove behind it and snapped a few pictures of the Budakirkja church before continuing west.
Nearing the far end of the peninsula, we were now in search of the Oxl Guesthouse (also known as the Blue View Oxl Guesthouse). If we struck out there, we were going to head back to the campgrounds near Langaholt. Around 8pm, rain still pouring, I pulled into the driveway of a farmhouse. A woman was in the front yard and I asked her if this was a guesthouse. She had a curious expression on her face and said “yes.” I asked if she had a room available and she said that she just had a cancellation and would give it to us for a discounted rate.
We settled in for the evening in what felt more like home than a guesthouse. Our hostess’ name was Inga and there was an Austrian couple staying there as well. As it turned out, Inga was also booked into September but the bad weather had run off the guests we’d replaced.
The accommodations were warm and lovely but the conversation and connection made this one of the most wonderful evenings of our trip. Inga, the couple, who were both doctors in Vienna, and myself chatted about everything from travel to culture to family to politics late into the night. Iceland’s political history and landscape are fascinating!
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir’s picture hangs proudly in Inga’s living room. She is Iceland’s first female president and the world’s first democratically elected president. Learn about the world’s oldest surviving Parliament here: Althingi – Icelandic Government & Politics From Creation to Present Day (allthingsiceland.com)