November 18, 2019

Ring Road Day 9: Southwest Iceland

This is our last full day in Iceland. We fly back home to NYC next morning. Our Airbnb in Grundarfjordur was on a horse breeding farm but the host also had lamb and chickens on the farm. This meant we could get fresh eggs for breakfast and when the host said fresh eggs, he really meant it. I’ve never had eggs as fresh as these from free range chickens who have hundreds of acres to roam on.

about to go down to the center of the earth

Of all the expensive, organic, free range eggs I’ve had in NYC, none of them come even remotely close to how amazing and delicious these eggs were. First of all, the color of these eggs was so much more orange. If Gaurav hadn’t cooked them himself, I’d have though food coloring was added to these eggs. And the taste is so much better and flavorful. I’d have paid 3 times the price the host charged us.

inside the lava tube

The weather was overcast and rainy so we decided to go on Vatnshellir cave tour. It’s an 8,000 year old lava cave in Snaefellsjokull National Park. The tour costs $32/person and it’s almost an hour long. The unique thing about this volcanic cave is the stalactites were formed within hours, not years like with limestone. The volcanic cave was formed as lava flowed through the tubes and the surface cooled off. It’s also the setting for Jules Verne’s famous novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.

waiting for the fish soup
Arnarstapi

After the tour I was feeling a little hungry. We had fish soup in Hellnar at a restaurant on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After a quick break it was time to move on. This was our last full day in Iceland so we had to make the most of it. We continued our drive toward Reykjavik making many stops along the way. Our next stop was a cute little fishing village, Arnarstapi.

Arnarstapi
Arnarstapi

There is a beautiful trail along the coast from Hellnar to Arnarstapi and I would have loved to do that hike but we didn’t have the time. The Hellnar arch is along this hike. The hike there and back could take a few hours. The famous Black Church is also in this area. If you have some time, Arnarstapi and Hellnar definitely deserve a few hours. But, we had to continue to our next stop.

somewhere in Southwest Iceland

Iceland has so much to offer from massive glaciers and active volcanoes to waterfalls and black sand beaches that a natural spring with carbonated water full of iron and other minerals doesn’t even make it in the top tourist attraction. Just think about it. Naturally carbonated water from a faucet connected to a natural spring.

Olkelda

We drank a little bit of it and there’s definitely a strong iron taste to it. The faucet is at a random farm in Olkelda and it costs 200 ISK (about $1.60) but there’s no one actually collecting the money. There’s a box and you just put the money in it. Here’s a video of Gaurav tasting the naturally carbonated, mineral water. People living on this farm have been drinking the water for hundreds of years. After this quick stop, we moved on.

Our next stop was Ytri-Tunga Seal Beach. Our host told us if we’re lucky we might see some whales from the shore so we figured it was worth a stop. We walked around for some time and while we weren’t lucky enough to see any whales, we did see a few seals in the water. They were just splashing around having fun. After watching them for about half an hour we continue our drive.

Ytri-Tunga Seal Beach

This was our last full day in Iceland and I realized we still hadn’t tried horse meat. We were so focused on fish during this trip that I forgot all about horse meat. So, we had to find a restaurant that served horse meat for our last dinner. On our way to Reykjavik we found a restaurant called the Settlement Center in Borgarnes and they served horse meat. It tasted a bit like venison. I’m glad this experiment went much better than bear meat experiment in Finland. I wouldn’t mind eating it again.

horse steak

After dinner, we went to Reykjavik and called it a night. Our flight back to NYC was next morning. After 11 days in Iceland during midnight sun, not experiencing darkness at all, we were ready to go back home to NYC and sleep in darkness. I never thought darkness was something I would actually miss until I couldn’t sense it at all for so many days.

Arnarstapi

Seeing the sun at midnight is definitely cool but after a few days, I wanted to sleep and the sleep you get when the sun actually sets at night is just so much more satisfying. As much as I enjoyed Iceland, I’m ready to go back to a part of the world where the sun actually sets and it’s actually dark at night. For my most recent small and local trips, follow me on Instagram.

somewhere in southwest Iceland

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