Sunday, August 19, 2018

Eurotrip 2018 - Day 2 (8/6/2018) - Glymur, then Stykkishólmur

Our general plan for the next couple of days was to drive up and loop around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  Fran kindly did all the research and planning for this, and had picked out a few sights to stop by.  We had booked a guesthouse in Stykkishólmur, but had not settled on a specific route or itinerary.  During breakfast at the hotel (which was quite a nice spread), we made an impromptu decision to go see Glymur, the second tallest waterfall in the country.  Fran had previously indicated an interest in this waterfall, but we weren't sure if it would be on the way, and how conveniently it would fit in with the rest of our plans.  A little research revealed that it wouldn't require too big a detour, and that the hike to get to it was a doable 3 hour round trip.

We took off in the car a bit after 10:30 and made it to the trailhead parking (with help from the GPS nav) by noon.  We didn't initially plan to hike to the peak, as the information sign indicated that it would take about 3 hours to do so.  However, we made good time and reached the top after only about 90 minutes.  Getting there required a stream crossing, which I was very apprehensive about.  However, with Fran's guidance we ditched the traditional crossing point, which had a guide rope, and forged our own crossing path a bit upstream.  It was a fearful but fun experience, especially since I can't swim.  The water wasn't terribly deep (maybe knee high at the deepest point that we crossed), but the flow was decently strong and the depth wasn't apparent until the actual act of crossing.  Fran was very helpful in leading the way and making sure that I was OK, though I continuously (and still) joked that she was trying to kill me.  I should also note that she is a much stronger hiker than I am - her legs and lungs just won't quit.

Besides the stream crossing, most of the hike wasn't too difficult, though there were a couple of tiring segments and a couple more steep portions where the fixed guide rope was almost certainly required.  We made it to the top, admiring the beautiful views the whole way.  Near the top Fran noticed that most people were crossing the stream again upstream of the waterfall and going back down the other side.  So we did the same.  The water flow was much weaker for this crossing, but the flat rocks that we initially tried to cross over were very slippery.  After I nearly wiped out, Fran helpfully led the way through a new route that took us into deeper water (again, only about knee high) but with much surer footing.

On the other side we stopped to lunch on some cheese sandwiches that Fran and prepared at the hotel breakfast, in addition to the copious other snacks that she had brought on the trip.  The temperature hovered around 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the hike, but the wind really picked up at the top so it felt much cooler.  The hike down was easier with a more gradual incline, though the fierce wind made a couple of stretches nontrivial.  We made it back to the car around 3pm, doing the round trip in about 3 hours (including lunch).

We hopped back on Route 47 and took that to Route 1, which we then took north to Route 60.  The plan was to take Route 54 toward Stykkishólmur, but the GPS navigation kept directing us back south and counterclockwise around the peninsula.  So we abandoned the car navigation.  We later realized that a portion of Route 54 on the north side of the peninsula was a gravel road, and that the car navigation probably didn't route over that road.  In any case, we were confident in Fran's printed map and my downloaded Google Map, and took that road west.  Fran took the wheel for most of this portion of the journey.  This was actually the fastest that she had driven (~90 kmph at the fastest), as she had only driven on local streets while learning and getting her drivers license in NYC.  She was initially quite apprehensive, but grew more comfortable as she went along.

She turned north on Stykkishólmsvegur, and took us to Helgafell, a privately owned hill that is called a holy mountain.  Climbing the hill costs a little money, and you're supposed to climb up in silence without looking back in order to have 3 wishes granted; which we did.  It was extremely windy at the top, where we looked around for a bit before heading back down.  We didn't have far to go from there to Stykkishólmur, where we eventually found Hótel Egilsen, which is where we had to check in for our guest house, Bænir og Brauð.

It turned cold that "evening" (I use the quotes because it didn't really get dark until around midnight, though sunset was technically between 10 and 11pm; sunrise was technically around 4am, though it was light out before that); I'm not sure what the temperature was, but it was cold and windy enough that I definitely didn't want to be outside at all anymore, even with a jacket on.  We still had to find dinner somewhere, and walked to a nearby restaurant called Narfeyrarstofa around 9pm.  The wait was a little long (I guess for a small town Stykkishólmur gets quite a few tourists coming through), but the veggie burger was surprisingly good.  After dinner it was back to the guesthouse to turn in.



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