Iceland | Grundarfjörður – Gateway to the Center of the Earth

After having left Isafjördur the night before, the night at sea had been a little rougher then during the other nights. One of the reasons may have been, that we had reached the Western shores of Iceland and therefore were more exposed to the changing weather conditions. Strong winds and lows that had formed over the Atlantic Ocean had nothing better to do than hitting the West coast without mercy.

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There was a big storm forecasted for the upcoming days. This had a direct impact on our overnight stay in Havnarfjördur (a suburb of Reykjavik). For this reason, the captain had decided to relocate our ship directly into the harbor of Iceland´s capital.

Not the worst decision, as I thought, and a perfect ending to the tour. But getting back to Grundarfjördur, the storm slowly casted its shadow over the sky.

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It was raining on and off and the sun made it barely through the thick layer of clouds that rocketed over the skies.

The entrance into the port was quite pretty. The town lies on the Northern shore of the so-called Snaefellsnes peninsula and the landscape is plowed with sharp cliffs and steep mountain ranges.

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And it is green. The heavy rainfall and ever-changing climate in this region result in an extremely fertile plant world.

It is also home to a wide range of different birds, so taking a walk outside results in a highly interesting natural experience.

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Grundarfjördur is a rich community. Its prime location on the Western coastline make it an ideal fishing ground since 1786.

It also has French influences as a group of merchants came to live here in the early 1800´s. They had added the town´s church and hospital to the “skyline”.

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Kirkjufell Mountain towers like a lighthouse over the port´s entrance. The mountain belongs to the Lysuskard volcanic system.

Based on its rock stratum, it must have been formed underneath a glacier millions of years ago. If you are daring, you could climb all the way to the top. I am sure the view is outstanding from up there.

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The peninsula that Grundarfjördur lies on is also called “Iceland in small”. It is said that the region inherits all the different landscapes and climates that Iceland has to offer.

Most prominent and at the most Western point lies the famous Sneafellsnesjökul, the Snow Mountain Glacier. It is part of the 90 kilometers long volcanic system, the largest of its kind on Iceland, that is still active to this day.

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Snaefell is one of the world´s most well-known volcanos. Partly, because Jules Verne had described its crater as the entrance to the underworld in his novel “The Journey to the Centre of the Earth“.

Some passengers of the ship had departed early to take a tour of the glacier on snowmobiles, which had sounded like lots of fun. But I was actually relieved that I had not booked any tours this morning. Last night had left its marks.

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The streets were still wet from the earlier rainfall and it continued on and off for the entire day. I only felt like taking a long walk.

And so I followed the road to the left after getting off the ship towards the impressive mountain range ahead.

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The wind was cold and fierce, so I had wrapped myself up like an Eskimo. There were hundreds of ice seagulls and oysterfisher birds on the rocky beaches, resting or fishing.

The latter are truly quite entertaining to watch.

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Gosh, how I love this country, I thought while walking. Everything seemed so perfectly in place. While I normally have issues with rainy weather, here I could not imagine it to be different at all.

Here, I could absolutely accept the infinite circle of the water. In the Caribbean, I would feel furious about every drop of rain. Stupid, I know. But this is how most of us function in our conditioned world, don´t we?

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From the ship I had seen a waterfall as we had maneuvered into the port and I know that there are billions of waterfalls one Iceland. And I had seen quite a few already in the past days.

But if there is something captivating and hypnotic, it is waterfalls to me. Water is my element. Wherever I am bathing in it or simply watch it fall down a cascade.

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When the fall came into sight, I crossed the road to head over to the barely visible trail crossing the green meadows towards it.

Like most paths and trails, everything is in natural condition. Only the main roads are paved. That is why during winter some areas of Iceland are difficult or not accessible at all.

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And so my feet and lower parts of my pants were soaked after the first minutes of walking through the wet meadow.

But for the perfect picture, that is something you quite normally take into account. Even though there might be a slight chance of catching a cold afterwards. This is something that I would definitely pack the next time I head over there: Waterproof shoes.

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And it was it well worth it. Even though the clouds hang low, the air was crystal clear, revealing a picture perfect panorama of the cliffs and mountains, the waterfall and the glowing green grass around. Majestic!

And with the Icelandic horses in the foreground, what could I have asked for more?

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Almost swimming with my feet in my sneakers, I decided to head back into town though. I did not want to risk laying in bed for the remaining days of the trip.

But as I walked down the trail back to the main road, I suddenly halted. A pretty big he-goat was suddenly standing right in the center of the path. Looking at me in sinister.

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It was 10 meters the most that separated us. And I was really unsure of what would happen next. I remember that my first thought was “I need to protect my camera”.

I did not care about bruises or getting wet or being hit by him, I just cared about the camera. And so I stood there, glued to the ground.

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I was scared to be honest. Because I had no idea what would happen next. So I did what I thought was the best. Standing still, waiting.

I remembered the seagull that had attacked me in Seydisfjördur. Maybe there were sucklings close-by and the he-goat was just trying to protect them.

And so it was. As I stood there like a statue, he slowly moved from the path. Not loosing sight of me for a second. Behind him followed the mother with three young animals. I did not dare to take a photo as I was afraid that the click would have been the trigger for him to literally kick my butt.

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So I gave them a decent lead before I slowly continued my way back towards the main road that would bring me back to the ship.

Still being a bit dazed by this afternoon thrill, I made my way into town and treated my shock with a huge sack full of Nordic sweets. By the time I had reached the gangway, it began heavily to rain and did not stop for the entire evening.

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Again what learned, I thought in the evening. I had met with a few ladies from my dinner table for a game of cards in the lounge and drinks with real glacier ice that the crew had gathered during one of the previous Greenland cruises that the ship had taken.

Our next stop was Reykjavik, where my adventure would be coming to and end after the overnight stay. So close but still too far away to not concentrate on the present. I went through the pictures I had taken during the day while laying in bed later that evening. Happy and content, I slumbered away. Dreaming of Iceland.

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