We stepped off the plane after a short 6 hour flight from Seattle to find the most amazing sunrise over Keflavik. It was cold (38 degrees F) but very beautiful. As you fly in, you can see the steam rising up off of the land from the various hot springs and homes that speckle the landscape.
The first thing we found in the airport was “Joe and Juice” a great coffee stand where we enjoyed our first Icelandic coffees and a fresh pressed grapefruit ginger juice. From airplane to rental car was about 15 minutes filled with the nicest people. When ordering coffees, I leaned over to the person behind the counter and asked, how do I say hello in Icelandic. He leaned back and said “repeat after me…. hello”. That was my first introduction to the fun loving, no fuss Icelandic culture that has followed us through our travels so far.
We drove with our jaws dropped open through Reykjavik and two hours up the island to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to find our hotel, Hotel Budir, had been oversold for the evening. It was so beautiful up there that we didn’t care where we stayed as long as we could soak in the landscape. If you want a place where you are literally the only building for as far as the eye can see, this is the place. Johannes, the manager of the hotel, bought us lunch for the inconvenience of sending us to a different hotel on the North side of the peninsula. We weren’t thinking this trip would bring us delicious food, but man were we wrong!
Before we left to the other side of the peninsula, we enjoyed what we thought would be a basic lunch of a chicken sandwich and the fish of the day, which happened to be cod. Boy were we wrong. THE FOOD IS AMAZING! The chicken sandwich came out with bacon and an egg on it, while the cod was cooked to perfection. You also couldn’t beat the view from the dining room.
We hopped in the car and headed toward the Hotel Framnes in Grundarfjordur. We decided to head west of our hotel and loop around the entire peninsula to really explore the land. We were amazed at the changing landscape. The volcanic rock on the side of the road, the waterfalls flowing over the glacier and of course, the fact that we were the only people around for miles made it an especially enjoyable drive.
Town after little town we were amazed at the colorful houses nestled into the countryside. The “large” dot on the map represented a “city” with over 1000 people. There were only 2 places like this on the peninsula. No matter where we stopped, we were met with miles of beautiful volcanic landscape, glacial shoreline and an abundance of rainbows that filled the otherwise partially cloudy sky.
Once we finally made it to Grundarfjordur, we encountered the fiercest storm that either one of us had seen in years. Walking outside you couldn’t breathe if you walked into the wind. All we could do was giggle at the hilarity of being in a small fishing village (roughly 800 inhabitants) walking through sideways rain to get to the hotel building that housed the restaurant. After a drenching 90 second run down the street, we enjoyed another meal of cod and lamb with traditional Icelandic seafood soup and hot chocolate cake to top it off. It was amazing. Hours later, we fell asleep to the sound of the weather punishing the shoreline. We had signed up for the “northern lights alarm” but somehow knew that tonite wasn’t going to be the night.