The Ring Road: Blönduós to Stórutjarnir Farm (Day 2)

Days: 444 (12 September 2015)

Total distance travelled: 116,453.9 kilometres (72,331.59 miles)

What a difference a day makes!

After a brief stroll in the chill morning air, but with little further ceremony, we got ourselves back on the road nice and early and day two was underway.

Today’s roughly two hundred and fifty kilometre day was already looking much brighter!

On the road again and greeted by a stunning morning!

On the road again and greeted by a stunning morning!

We were again following my vague directions, and at one point during the morning it felt like we had no clear idea where we were going… but there were enough gorgeous fjord and sea views to distract my companions that it was a little time before this became a concern!

Still, we stumbled along, and with a bit more of that dumb luck that has followed these travellers, suddenly found ourselves driving right past one of our scheduled stops.

This was Glaumbær, effectively an open air museum to the old ways of Icelandic life, an original turf farm (that is, the structures are constructed from turf, not a place where turf is cultivated).

Glaumbær, a traditional turf farm in the islands north

Glaumbær, a traditional turf farm in the islands north

There was a collection of clustered buildings, all built using this traditional turf method. I’m sure perfected over the years as it would have been one of the few readily available building products.

Some were open for a closer inspection, one I believe even hosting a small museum that came with an entrance fee (we didn’t investigate this, so I can share little more).

Situated right beside the site was also a church (not made of turf), its attached cemetery including some headstones with a runic script that wouldn’t look out of place in a Tolkien work!

Of greater interest to us (than their museum), was their nearby tea room.

It didn’t open until 11am, but that was near enough that we were content to loiter just a little longer…

Showing off the turf composition (left) & Settling in to the cosy tea room (right)

Showing off the turf composition (left) & Settling in to the cosy tea room (right)

Some local delights. Marriage Bliss and Vinarterta

Some local delights. Marriage Bliss and Vinarterta

There were a great selection of Icelandic cakes on offer and given that little goes better with tea than cake, we took great delight in each ordering ourselves a delicious sweet treat.

The Vinarterta was quite nice, with its layers of sweet rhubarb between the layered cake, but for me, my own selection known as Marriage Bliss was the star.

I guess you’d liken it to a fruit crumble slice… also full of delicious rhubarb!

The tea rooms were housed in an old, double story building, the top floors of which we were allowed to explore as they’d been preserved as period rooms, complete with furnishings and costumes (who needs to pay for that other museum).

When our tea and cake was gone, so were we.

But we didn’t need to travel far, as another brief stop was nearby, the church Víðimýrarkirkja.

Like the farm, this was an old turf construction, dating from the 1830’s if the nearby information signage was correct.

Sadly for us, it was closed for the low-season, meaning we’d missed out on the chance to enter by a few weeks…

The turf covered church Víðimýrarkirkja

Just in case the farm wasn’t enough, the turf covered church Víðimýrarkirkja

Our onward journey took us through Öxnadalur, a narrow valley where we made a short stop to inspect a couple of view points, before continuing on our way back towards the coast and the fjord Eyjafjörður, upon which sits Akureyri, the largest population centre in the north, and indeed outside the Icelandic capital.

We stopped in this town of roughly seventeen thousand people to lunch and buy some groceries, the now standard sandwiches again on the menu.

There didn’t appear too much here to grab our attention, and by now we were close to our end goal for the day, a farm located roughly another fifty kilometres distant, so eager to get our travelling done, we quickly got back on our merry way… but not before Akureyri dished up one nice surprise.

Its traffic lights.

Sure, it was only a small detail, but each of the red traffic lights we spotted along the highway as we cruised through town, was shaped like a love heart!

We were fortunate that our Airbnb host for the night had some very clear directions and photos on their listing, as we found easily, what we’d have otherwise never found at all.

And what a place it was, essentially a self contained apartment beneath their home, modern, spacious and clean.

Probably the pick of all the Airbnb experiences we’d had to date!

We’d also made a late change to our plans, so now rather than be done for the day, with beautiful blue skies above and no idea what the weather may hold for the morrow, we piled back into the car for another half an hour, until we began to see some haze in the distance.

This was no sudden change in the weather, rather this was Goðafoss, originally to be our first destination the following morning.

Goðafoss in all of its powerful glory! (click on image to enlarge)

Goðafoss in all of its powerful glory! (click on image to enlarge)

There was the opportunity to explore it from both sides of the river, so we did, as well as take it in from a slight elevation. We even scrambled our way down to river level at one point, where I must say, the water was pretty fucking cold!

It was indeed a big way to end what was to be the shortest day of our road trip…

A stunning way to cap off a beautiful day

A stunning way to cap off a beautiful day

 

Notes:

* Our hire car for our loop around Iceland cost us $144,590.97 ISK ($1,553.96 AU, which breaks down to $258.99 AU per day, or $86.33 per person, per day)

* We purchased $27,846.00 ISK ($299.49 AU) worth of fuel during our island loop, which was 141.81 litres of fuel.

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5 Responses to The Ring Road: Blönduós to Stórutjarnir Farm (Day 2)

  1. Neha Verma says:

    Great that you had an opportunity to explore the massive waterfall from both sides of the river. And that tea spread looks so lovely..wonderful account of your road trip

  2. We love those traditional turf houses They look awesome, but I wonder if they cut the grass or just just let it grow forever. Those falls were very impressive. I can just imagine their roar and rumble.

  3. Abigail says:

    I love visiting tourist spots like this – serene and almost free from tourists. The greenery landscape is just stunning!

  4. The turf method of building is really very interesting and it gives a different and unique charm to all the places including the houses and the church. The tea room seems to be a cosy place and what a setting to sip tea and nibble on some Icelandic cakes.

  5. Alessandra says:

    I didn’t get the chance to explore Iceland further and travel through the ring road. But what a beautiful and unforgettable country! Your pictures and video are beautiful and you did showcase some of the highlights of it!
    Alessandra

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