A long trip back to the inhabited world But what a wonderful route, with arctic fox, seals, deep fjords, and an old couple in an old farmhouse serving the best coffee, waffles, home-made jam and whipped cream.
04.09.2016 - 04.09.2016
Our four days in the Westfjords had definitely been a highlight of our trip so far, jam packed with experiences in a remote part of Iceland that had made a deep impression on both of us. We said goodbye to the wonderful people of Hotel Sandafell. But they did not let us go without us both having a piece of the blueberry and rhubarb pie, made from the wild ingredients that we picked and brought back from Hesteyri.
Our plan for today was that we would drive to the east part of Westfjords, and then from the next notable village (Holmavík) down to the Selfoss area, where we were booked at a guesthouse. We chose this route, because it follows a couple of fjord shorelines and on the map it looked quite deserted. From Thingeyri to Holmavík in a straight line is 84 kilometers, but it doesn't work like that. Getting there by road is more than 265 kilometers. That's why we left early.
After we passed Ísafjörður the road was totally empty again. But following the fjords was very scenic. We kept an eye on the fjord and we saw at least three whales spouting far away. Then a strange sight. We drove around a huge cliff to get to the next fjord, and there was a big cruise ship.
A little while later we reached a little village called Súðavíkurhreppur. We saw a touring bus, and it seemed there was something to see. We found out that Súðavíkurhreppur is not a tourist stop for its metropolitan character with 229 living souls, but because there is an Arctic Fox center for study and conservation. We had a look and caught some of the explanation by one of the volunteers, but after having been in such quiet places, we felt like part of a (small) crowd, and we continued on our way.
Every corner gave a new stunning view, and there was no end to it.
Then I saw some movement on the left, near the waterline. Indeed, there was a colony of seals. We stopped and went to have a look. After a while, some other cars stopped too. The seals were quite playful and loud, and it must have been at least 50 or 60 of them.
By the time more cars stopped, we got on the road again, but not for long. There was a sign about coffee and waffles at a tiny little cottage up the hill, with the name of Litlibær (little farm). It turned out that this place was quite well known to the insiders, and Orbitz website even lists it as one of the quirky places that should not be missed in Iceland. However, the website says so little about it, that it makes you think that Orbitz did indeed miss it. But we didn't. It is a very homey, family run, living room type of coffee and pastry restaurant. The waffles and the home-made jam were great, the coffee hot, strong and very welcome, and the whipped cream like "I shouldn't, but no-one is watching me" And the view from that little room.... fantastic.
After a long drive we reached Hólmavík, which I thought from the map was a town. That's not exactly the case: it is a bunch of scattered houses, a gas station, a shop and a Museum for Witchcraft. Due to the fact that we already spent much more time than planned, we skipped the museum.
We had a simple late lunch (fish) near a place called Saurbær, in a hotel (Ljósaland), overlooking a strange affluent of water into a shallow fjord, and the light of the silvery, blueish sun gave very strange light effects on the water and the shrubs. We couldn't really figure out why it reflected like this.
Finally we reached our guesthouse Árbakki Farmhouse in Reykholt. We discovered that didn't have a restaurant (except for breakfast) but it had a kitchen and fridge with some things to use. We were a bit hungry, and with some basic breakfast thingies from the fridge plus the beer and water that we still had, potato chips and other snacks, we had our most modest dinner of the whole trip. But it was good enough. We were tired.