Snæfelsnes 2003

From Stykkishólmur to Grundafjörður and back

On Sunday morning we cycled down to the BSÍ bus station in Reykjavík and caught the 1pm bus to the Snæfelsnes peninsula - to Stykkishólmur. We passed through the long tunnel to Akranes, which hadn't been built last time I ventured this way in 1986 on my first trip to Iceland. A sign at the entrance prohibited cyclists - the alternative is a 40km detour.

After three hours we arrived at the petrol station in Stykkishólmur. After pitching our tent in the nearby camp site - ours was the only one - we set off to explore the town. From the harbour we climed up to the lighthouse. It was while descending from there that it started to rain. After failing to find a restaurant we ended up in the petrol station - one of many as it turned out - and sat out the rain. Later that evening we did find a restaurant near the harbour.

The following morning it was 5 degrees Celsius and misty. A great day for an outdoor swim! Well any day is in Stykkishólmur, as only a few years ago they discovered a geothermal hot water source, where water comes out of the ground at over 80 degrees Celsius, and they built a swimming pool around it. The water was over thirty degrees - just right to counteract the cool morning air. I shared the pool with a class of schoolchildren having their early morning swimming lesson. It was amusing to watch them come out of the changing room and run to and jump into the pool - most unlike the gingerly way we get into swimming pools in England.

After my swim, we set off, without our panniers, for a training ride. We were aiming for Grundafjörður, thirty kilometres to the west. As we crossed the lava field Peter reminded me of the story in the guide book of the two "beserks" who were killed here many years ago and whose bodies were found under two mounds in the lava a long time later. I couldn't help thinking how we could be seen by many as two beserks, cycling in Iceland so early in the season.

Awaiting photo of Grundafell We reached Grundafjörður around lunch time and found a nice quiet pizza restaurant. Peter was feeling distincly weak. Although his descriptions of his symptoms sounded like I feel all the time during a cycle tour, I had to believe him that he was ill. I hoped we'd be able to complete the tour.

The weather had distinctly improved over lunch and we cycled back again in sunshine. On the way back we took a detour to visit the chapel of Maria Guðmundsdottír. It is said that if you climb to the chapel at the top, without looking back and without talking, and then you turn to the east, you can make three wishes, all of which will come true. This we duly did, of course. You can't tell anyone what the wishes are, so I'm afraid I can't let on.

That evening, back in Stykkishólmur we ate in the same restaurant before retiring to bed quite tired.

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