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For centuries and even up until the eighties and the nineties most places on the westernmost part of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula were isolated.  This was because the road was tough and the part from Ólafsvík village to Rif / Hellissandur villages was often considered dangerous until it was permanently changed, and moved lower to the shore, in the eighties. Although this might seem a bit strange today at Malarrif where you have an information center for the Snæfellsnes National Park, the farm Malarrif was quite isolated. Today it is a simple drive and an asphalt road accessible for any car. But like most roads in Iceland, a precaution is required during winter and looking at the weather forecast before taking this part of the road is a must.

Malarrif is an old farm and an old lighthouse with a new role

The shore by the farm and information center is interesting as most of the shoreline of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  Today it is the main center for the Snæfellsnes National Park and when traveling in Iceland and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula you should visit the center. The walk from the tourist center to Lóndrangar is quite spectacular as well as the rocky pebble beaches. The old lighthouse had an important role for Icelandic fishermen for decades as they fished in the rich fishing grounds by the shore. Fishing grounds that Icelanders used for centuries. It was built in 1917 and rebuilt in 1947. The height of the lighthouse is 20 meters, and the light had a range of eighteen miles.  At that time the farm Malarrif was one of the most isolated farms in Iceland. It was also the westernmost farm on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

A center for all the beautiful places to visit at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Malarrif Information Center is an important stop when visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is an information center for Dritvík, Djúpalónssandur, Vatnshellir cave, Hellnar, Snæfellsjökull glacier and many other interesting places at Snæfellsnes Peninsula

 

Malarrif is an important place to visit when driving the Snæfellsne Peninsula

As expected and following the forecast by the Icelandic Med Office winter came with force. Last weekend the snow in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, was a record-breaking amount.  The snow was 51 centimeters and completely shut the city down for a few hours. A shutdown like this is a situation that occurs every once in awhile during winter. It actually requires a calm wind and a lot of snow in a short time.

Breaking amount of snow in Reykjavík

When you are traveling the Ring Road in the Eastern Region Iceland, you should take some time to visit some, if not all of the beautiful and charming fishing villages on the shore.  Each and every village has their distinct history and uniqueness and are a good place to stop and take a rest.  All have good, but different camping sites and accommodations and many have interesting museums and exciting adventures. 

The charming and beautiful fishing villages in the Eastern Region

Although sometimes referred to as one canyon, Hafrahvammagljúfur, this large canyon is actually two canyons, Hafrahvammagljúfur and Dimmugljúfur canyon.  And even though the attraction is the spectacular natural wonder, the history of the canyon, both the geological history as well as its place in modern Icelandic history is also fascinating.  The impressive canyon stretches about seven to eight kilometers from the northern part of Vatajökull icecap towards the valley Jökuldalur (Glacier Valley). With its 200 meter high walls and only about hundred to hundred and fifty meters width they seem narrow and intimidating as everything is dark and steep. It is believed that the river Jökla dug the canyon over millions of years through the palagonite layer and formed the canyon with some help from other natural forces. The river was the second most powerful river in Iceland for thousands if not millions of years. And you have to be impressed when you stand in front of a natural wonder of this magnitude and scale that is was made with flowing water.

Just recently man stepped in with his engineering know-how

Icelanders have been quite smart in building hydroelectric power plants and utilizing their many rivers to produce electricity for almost a century.  For a long time, many viewed the rivers as a key to progress through the power plants rather than a natural wonder to view and enjoy. Unavoidably many Icelanders looked to the mighty river Jöklu as a logical and natural selection for a power plant. It wasn't until the eighties and nineties that this option became real and the power plant Kárahnúkavirkjun took a step from the drawing board into reality. The decision was hand in hand with the huge aluminum smelter you see right outside of the small fishing village Reyðarfjörður.  The aluminum smelter was the customer who purchased the electricity.  It was a massive project that changed the path of the river as well as the view of the canyons not to mention the size of the mighty glacial river that became a rather small spring fed river.  A dam was built across the canyon to collect water in a humongous reservoir and simultaneously sinking beautiful waterfalls, part of the canyon and other unrecoverable natural wonders.  It goes without saying that the project initiated a landslide of disputes between those who wanted to switch the natural wonders for the dam, the aluminum smelter and sacrifice the natural wonders on the one hand and conservationists on the other hand.

There are pros and cons, but most people might stop and wonder

Although Hafrahvammagljúfur and Dimmugljúfur are two canyons and part of the spectacular nature in Iceland, the whole project provokes serious questions. Approaching the canyon on an asphalt road deep in the highland is a bit odd for anyone who loves Icelandic nature. Only a few years ago this was a profoundly remote place, and you could not travel from the east site of the mighty river Jökla to the west side, both because of the canyon and the river.  Today you drive over both on a dam on a concrete road. For many residents in the declining small fishing villages in the eastern region, on the other hand, it was a welcomed boost for the economy of the area, and a worthy sacrifice for people to have the option of continuing to live where they most preferred.

Access is quite simple today

Access to Hafrahvammagljúfur is quite simple.  From the town of Egilsstaðir in the East Region, you drive south on Road 1, the Ring Road.  About seven kilometers south you take a turn to the east to Road 931 all the way over the bridge and take a turn to the south again on Road 933. You drive a short distance on 933 and turn to Raod 910 and drive all the way to Hálslón, the new reservoir by Kárahnúkar.

Although Hafrahvammagljúfur and Dimmugljúfur are two canyons and part of the spectacular nature in Iceland

Although it is February, Reykjavík has not seen much of a winter as we have barely seen snow or had a cold day.  Cold in the Icelandic sense.  This is very unusual as winter normally arrives with snow and regular snowstorms in December the latest.   The winter has actually been exceptionally mild and even most or January, and a large portion of February looked like a typical spring day in Iceland.  But today the Icelandic Med Office issued a warning for Friday the 24th, tomorrow.

Winter has finally arrived in Iceland

Camping and hiking in Iceland are among the great options for people planning a vacation, a trip, a drive along the coastline or a road trip to Iceland.

Camping and hiking in Iceland
Feb 19 2017

Although the weather in Iceland is quite unpredictable and always changing, The Icelandic Med Office has been able for a long time to predict with accuracy that a fog will not appear in Reykjavík. That is because fog is very unusual in Reykjavík, and in the past, has more or less only been seen only in November.  And when Reykjavík had a fog it was only for a very short time, a few hours maybe.  But in recent days, in February of all months, we have seen fog for a few days.

Fog in Reykjavík

Visiting towns and villages in one of the exciting things you can do in Iceland if you choose to take a road trip and travel outside the popular southwest region.  Most of the towns around the country have excellent services like accommodation, a camping site, a gas station, a convenience store, a restaurant or a café, a swimming pool and some form of recreational activity, local museums, and tours.  In each region, you will find small harbors and old houses, many that have been renovated in rece

definitely look at the Westfjord

Located northeast of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull by the Highland track Syðri Fjallabak, Brytalækir or “The Pursers Brook” is a beautiful spring fed stream.  The source of the water is near the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the lava partly beneath the sand.  The stream runs through a beautiful green landscape filled with vegetation and flora during summer. It is an unusually lively and luxuriance place for this attitude, almost like a small oasis.  A significant portion of the stream spreads out and gives the illusion that you are standing by a small lake or a pound. The surrounding area on the north bank is filled with small hillocks or knolls that give the place a bit of a mysterious atmosphere. It is one of the gems in the Icelandic landscape that few visit and is also a peaceful place to enjoy.

The name has a peculiar origin like many places at Fjallabak Syðri

A few centuries ago a Purser named Ólafur was working at the famous episcopal see Skálholt. At the same time, a female housekeeper with witchcraft knowledge was also working for the bishop. She was full of anger and had limited tolerance for disagreement.  At one point Ólafur apparently offended the woman who immediately cast a spell over him with her magic. As the magic took over his mind, he ran out of the house as fast as he could eastward to a small mountain called Lyklafell, or Key Mountain, where he left his keys to Skálholt. Then he ran through a mountain pass that since has had his name Ólafsskarð. Not being able to stop running because of the spell he continued to run all the way to this creek, Brytalækir, where he was found dead by the stream.  And when found the stream was named Brytalækir to honor his fate and run.

Part of the 4X4 mountain road and small dirt road Fjallabaksleið Syðri

For those who like to travel to Brytalækir, it is a place that unquestionably requires a good solid jeep or a large 4WD vehicle. It is not even a road that people should try to drive in any other kind of vehicle.  But for those who like to take on a well prepared adventuresome 4X4 jeep tour on challenging roads and crossing rivers, the Fjallabaksleið Syðri is the most exciting option in Iceland. 

Located northeast of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull by the Highland track Syðri Fjallabak, Brytalækir or “The Pursers Brook” is a beautiful spring fed stream.

By the seashore near the city center in Reykjavík, there is a path called Sculpture & Shore Walk.

 Our visitors are now building the attractions and defining things to do.

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