Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland: Part III.
It may have been nearing the end of our trip, but the sites and experiences definitely did not disappoint! Here are some highlights as we made our way to the Reykjavík area to come home.
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Extraordinary basalt columns and cliff formations make for a breathtaking walk along the sea side in the village of Arnarstapi. A large statue of Bárdur Snæfellsáss towered above as we made our way to the coastal trail. Half troll and half human he is said to be the safeguard of the peninsula and his spirit helps those who travel around it. It is here that you will also find the famed shot of the basalt stone arch Gatklettur. We veered off the trail to find Maríulind or Maria’s Spring, a spring that was said to be blessed in 1230 by a bishop after the Virgin Mary appeared to him and his men asking him to bless it and give it healing powers. In 1989, the residents purchased a statue of the Virgin Mary and placed it next to the spring. According to the locals, the water still has healing powers. At the end of the trail we came across an incredibly cute café called Fjöruhúsid. It’s a tiny place tucked away between the cliffs and hills and they had great coffee, hot chocolate, and waffles.
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Budakirkja, or the black church of Budir, makes a bold statement with its jet black paint and isolated stature. As a result, this sets this church on any photographers or travelers bucket list. Although it was still dreary and fog covered the mountains lined in the background, Budir was still beautiful.
In 1703, Bendt Lauridsen built the first church at Budir which was demolished and later rebuilt again. In the early 1800’s, one of the ladies of the parish fought strongly for a new church, but her request was rejected by the national church. Eventually she received a royal permission to build a new one which stood ready in 1848. A quote on the door ring says, “this church was built in 1848 without the support of spiritual feathers.” The church is one of the oldest wooden churches in Iceland and is still used for weddings and events.
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A popular beach for seal sighting, Ytri Tunga’s (Seal Beach) primary season is June and July, but we thought we’d try to catch a glimpse of the seals in late August. And by golly, we actually did! We spotted about 3 of them in different areas, popping their heads above the waves every now and then. Two main species in this area are the Harbour Seal (common seal) and the Grey Seal. The beach was lined with extremely slippery seaweed (which took me down pretty good once!) that my son called “seaweed butter.” I didn’t take too many photos here because it was just relaxing to just sit on the rocks and enjoy the ocean sounds, waiting for seals to bob up with the waves.
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Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!
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