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It was my first day tour with Gateway to Iceland ! Initially I was supposed  to be going on a tour to the Snæfellsness national park and its surroundings, but because the snow started melting, and then freezing again, the roads up to Snæfellsness had become too icy. However Gateway to Iceland came up with a great solution, there would still be a tour, only instead of going to Snæfellsness, we would be touring the Reykjanes area, to the south-west of Reykjavik. Still due to the bad weather this tour had to be slightly adjusted, this means that not everything I mention in this blog post is part of the official Reykjanes tour.

 

 

 

The Reykjanes peninsula
The Reykjanes peninsula.

 

 

The tour was guided by Gummi, who is the president of Gateway to iceland. I was picked up at the B&B where I am staying, BB44, and we started driving to the south. Along on the tour were a friendly couple from Dennmark, and three people from the USA, so a very small group. First we made a small detour to Alftanes, which is where the president of Iceland lives, and Gummi drove us up to the church in front of the president’s residence, where we got out, and got the chance to take some pictures, of the beautiful view we had from there.

 

 

 

The church in front of the president's house.
The church in front of the president’s residence.
The president's house
The president’s residence.
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The view.

 

 

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After we left here we went on to drive through Hafnarfjordur, this town was named so for its natural fit as a harbor. While Gummi told us stories about this town, its houses, the fishing industry and the hidden peoples (elves). When we got around to the harbor we drove up to the fish market, where we were permitted to take a look inside. After taking a look at the catch of the day, we continued further to the south.

We went to Grindavik, another harbor town however with a far less natural harbor. Gummi told us about this treacherous harbor entry, which in bad weather conditions can lead a ship to get stranded. In this town we stopped for a lunch break at a small restaurant, which offered a buffet at a very small price. Gummi tells us that when he is in the area of the restaurant, he tries to have the lunch break there, because he simply loves the food and the atmosphere.

We drove on into a large lava field along the harbor, where evidence of the many stranded ships could be found. There were signs with newspaper articles about these ships, and there was still an entire ship stranded on this shore, which had been torn in half.

 

 

 

one half of the stranded ship, approximately 200 meters from the other half.
One half of the stranded ship, approximately 200 meters from the other half.

 

 

The tour continued along the coast, until we reached a point where we had a beautiful view of the North Atlantic ocean, and the Icelandic coast. There was a very strong wind here, which made it very cold to be outside of the bus, but every moment outside was worth it. You could see gigantic waves crashing into the rocks, and you could climb a small, yet steep, hill along this coast, which offered an even more breathtaking view. When I expressed to Gummi how impressed I was by the size of the waves, he told me these waves were even small compared to the true giants that usually come crashing onto the shore. I made some pictures here, but the wind made it very hard to keep my camera still, which made them a little bit blurry.

 

 

 

Beautiful view from the south coast of the Reykjanes peninsula
Beautiful view from the south coast of the Reykjanes peninsula
Beautiful view from the top of the hill.
Beautiful view from the top of the hill.

 

 

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From here we continued to the Gunnuhver steaming mud pools, where Gummi told us another Folklore concerning this area. Here we could see the steam rising from the boiling ground, and we could walk through the steam of the mud pools, over an elevated path.

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After leaving the Gunnuhver we drove over the mid Atlantic ridge, towards where the North-American plate begins. Here a small bridge was built to symbolize the crossing between the Eurasian plate and the North-American plate, though Gummi told us this is incorrect, since the Eurasian plate and the North-American plate are several miles apart.

 

 

 

The wall you see here, is the North American plate, sticking out over the mid Atlantic ridge
The wall you see here, is the North American plate, sticking out over the mid Atlantic ridge.

 

 

Before we would return to Reykjavik, where everyone would be dropped off at their own hotels, we made a stop at the Vikingaheima/Viking world museum in Keflavik. In this museum the viking ship Islendingur (the Icelander) is exhibited, this ship is an exact replica of a real ninth century viking ship, built by using the same materials and methods, that were used then. This ship was also sailed to Greenland, Newfoundland, and even New York, in 2000. This museum had a few interesting artifacts, and many informative signs about the life of the Vikings, the discovery of Greenland and North America, and of the settlement on Iceland.

 

 

 

The Icelander.
The Icelander.
The Icelander from below.
The Icelander from below.

 

 

I had a great time on this tour, it was very informative, and I was just happy to learn a little bit more about this amazing country. Of course there are a lot of things about this tour I could not tell, because Gummi told us so much I would be able to write half a book of it. But if you are ever in Iceland do not hesitate to take this tour!

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