Iceland-West Iceland and Return to Reykjavik October 27, 2022

Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik illuminated pink 
during the month of October for international Breast Cancer Awareness month

Thursday, October 27, 2022
Hofsstaðir Country Hotel, Skagafjörður, West Iceland, Borgarfjörður, and Return to Reykjavik
Imagine Peace Tower and Hallgrímskirkja in the night sky (but no Northern Lights-too much light scatter)

Our last full day in Iceland. It's a cold and frosty morning at Hofsstaðir Country HotelThe hotel is located on the banks of Héraðsvötn overlooking the fjord and the sea.

The sunrise today is stunning.

After a yummy breakfast we have a few minutes to walk around and take in the beauty of Skagafjörður.

We only have a few stops left but we have a very long drive from West Iceland back to Reykjavik.

And because s**t happens, John Paul discovers there's a bad bearing on our luggage trailer. So we pull over and unload all the luggage into the van. We are now enjoying "cozy" seating. But being rugged Icelandic adventurers-we're ok with this.

Back on the road and the views are still breathtaking.

We make a brief comfort stop-coffee, snacks, bathroom and we're back on the road.

Some places we drive through are still in heavy fog.

Some in brilliant sunshine.

Hey, those hay bales look very familiar.

It's getting on lunchtime as we pull into Hraunfossar, is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres out of the Hallmundarhraun, a lava field which flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacier Langjökull. 

There are a few tour buses already here so we opt for visiting the falls then having a late lunch.

The waterfalls pour into Hvítá (Borgarfjörður), from ledges of less porous rock in the lava. The name comes from the Icelandic word for lava (hraun) and the word for waterfalls (fossar).

Langjökull (Icelandic meaning"long glacier") is the second largest ice cap in Iceland (953 km2), after Vatnajökull. 

Above Hraunfossar is Barnafoss.

From Wiki:
"Many Icelandic folk tales have been associated with Barnafoss, the most famous being about two boys from a nearby farm, Hraunsás. One day, the boys' parents went with their ploughmen to a church. The boys were supposed to stay at home, but as they grew bored they decided to follow their parents. They made a shortcut and crossed a natural stone-bridge that was above the waterfall. But on their way, they felt dizzy and fell into the water and drowned. When their mother found out what had happened, she put a spell on the bridge saying that nobody would ever cross it without drowning himself. A little while later, the bridge was demolished in an earthquake."

Now that the big buses have left, the cafeteria has cleared out. So we grab some lunch.

Our next stop is Reykholt. Reykholt was at one time one of the intellectual centers of the island and had for many years hosted one of the most important schools of the country. 

The poet and politician Snorri Sturluson lived in Reykholt during the Middle Ages. Sturluson's records of the Old Norse language and mythology of medieval Iceland are invaluable to modern scholars.

Today, the village has 60 inhabitants, a school center and a library concentrating on the works of Snorri Sturluson. Above is a statue of Snorri by Gustav Vigeland. Archeologists are still working here and finding medieval remains, including Snorri's own "hot tub", fed by and underground hot spring.

Just a ways down the road in Reykholtsdalur is the Deildartunguhver hot spring. 

It is characterized by a very high flow rate for a hot spring (180 liters/second) and water that emerges at 97 °C.
It is the highest-flow hot spring in Europe. The water is piped along the roadside 34 kilometers to Borgarnes and 64 kilometers to Akranes.

A fern called Struthiopteris fallax, grows in Deildartunguhver. This fern is the only endemic fern in Iceland, and it does not grow anywhere else in the world. I looked for it but in our limited time at the hot spring, I only saw moss.

After one more comfort stop, we are heading to Reykjavik. Even as we approach the city, the views are still otherworldly.

As we get closer to the city, we can see farms again.

John Paul drops us off at the Center Hotels Laugavegur. After a quick stop to our room and some "packing for home" organizing, we head out to Microbar for a beer and a glass of wine to celebrate a successful Iceland adventure.

For dinner we decide on a cheese plate and chocolate bought at the local 10-11 that we eat down at the harbor, hoping for one more glimpse of Northern Lights. But there is so much light scatter-it's hopeless.

But we do get to see the Imagine Peace Tower. A memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono, located on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay near Reykjavík. 

Installed in 2007, it consists of a tall tower of light, projected from a white stone monument that has the words "Imagine Peace" carved into it in 24 languages. These words, and the name of the tower, are a reference to Lennon's campaign for peace, and his song "Imagine".

IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is lit annually
• 9th October – 8th December
• 21st – 31st December
• 18th February
• 20th – 27 March

It is lit from around 1 hour after sunset until midnight each night except on John & Yoko’s birthdays and on New Year’s Eve, when it remains lit until sunrise. 
On 9th October it lights at 8pm and from 20th – 27th March it lights at 9pm.

We give up on the Northern Lights and head to Hallgrímskirkja. It too is putting on a light show.

As mentioned above, many buildings in Reykjavik were lit in pink for International Breast Cancer Awareness month.

More photos: CLICK HERE

Then it's off to bed for us. We fly back to the USA later in the afternoon on Friday.

Photos from our half day in Reykjavik and our flight home: CLICK HERE

A Map of the AWESOME things we saw in Iceland