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At the mention of Barnafossar, or the Children's Falls, Icelanders usually turn quiet. For centuries, the beautiful falls have been overshadowed by a tragedy that goes on dwelling on the Icelandic consciousness. The Falls derive their name from a folklore:

The folklore that gave the waterfall its name

Once, there lived a widow at the Hraunás farm. She was quite well of and independent. Come Christmas and, of course, all the grown-ups were expected to attend evensong at the nearby church at Gilsbakki. The mistress of Hraunás gathered her household to obey their Christian duty. All, except the children and amongst them her two young sons.  The children were told to stay indoors and play. But, the weather was still, with clear skies and full moon, the earth scintillating in the beautiful frosty winter night. It was too big a temptation for the two brothers who loved the marvelous nature surrounding their homestead. When the grown-ups returned from Evensong, the brothers had disappeared. A search party followed their footsteps to a natural stone bridge crossing the river a bit upriver from the falls. The brothers were believed to have slipped on the bridge and fallen into the river. Later, their mother had the bridge destroyed and cast a spell on the waterfall, claiming no man would ever cross it – and survive.

Not the usual waterfall

The Barnafoss Falls is in Hvítá in Borgarfjörður, about 100 kilometers from Reykjavík. It is not a conventional waterfall, but rather a series of rapids bursting out of the surrounding lava plains. The falls are but a one more example of the extraordinary and mesmerizing landscape created by ice and fire.

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Below is the location of Barnafossar on the map of Iceland

At the mention of Barnafossar, or the Childrens Falls, Icelanders usually turn quiet.

The huge statue of Bárður Snæfellsás that is so noticeable when you drive into the small village or hamlet Arnarstapi was made by Ragnar Kjartansson one of Iceland most renowned sculptures.  The statue is his interpretation of the giant character that dominates the area around Snæfellsjökull glacier.

Bárður the half man half troll

Bárður is an extraordinary being from the time of settlement in Iceland.  His story was written in Medieval times in the fifteenth century and is part of the Icelandic Sagas.  His mother was one of the tallest and most beautiful women in her days, but his father Dumbur was a half-giant or a half-troll. Bárður was also considered extremely handsome with a large presence.  In his youth, he was fostered by Dofri, the mountain-dweller, of Dovrefjell in Norway and received an excellent education and training. Bárður married Dorfi's daughter Flaumgerður and had three tall and beautiful daughters by her. Like he, she also had a human mother. After she had passed away he married Herþrúður his second wife who was human; he had six more daughters by her.

Settled in Iceland after fleeing tyranny of Harald king in Norway

Along with his wife and daughters and some friends, Bárður emigrated to Iceland and settled at Djúpalón on the south coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Bárður's half brother Þorkell also emigrated with his family and settled at Arnarstapi. They were fleeing the tyranny of Harald, the king of Norway. His brother Þorkell had two sons, Sölvi, and Rauðfeldur. 

Driven to madness because of a prank

Following an altercation after a rather dangerous prank played on Bárður's daughters by the half-brother's sons, Bárður was provoked to a point of uncontrollable anger. An event that made him extremely depressed and totally loose his mind in the end.  Finally, he gave away all his land and all his earthly belongings and vanished into the Snæfellsnes Glacier. In the glacier, rumor has it, that he built an ice cave more in line with his troll or giant side.  There, he became known as the Guardian Spirit of Snæfell as the locals worshiped him and looked at him as their savior. For centuries, they would call upon him in times of hardship and trouble. Bárður wandered the region wrapped in a gray cowl held together by a walrus-hide rope. In his hand was a cleft staff with a long and thick gaff for mounting the glacier.

A very true story although sounds like a fantasy

Bárður's cave is still in situ, and his story is a timeless, fantastic read. It is, of course, a true story written about events that occurred in Iceland more than eleven hundred years ago, written about six hundred yers ago. Many names of many places in the area around Snæfellsjökull glacier are related to Bárður Snæfellsás and his story. 

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Below is the location of Bárðarlaug on the map of Iceland

Bárður is an extraordinary being from the Icelandic Medieval Sagas.

 

The Lambafell fissure is an open narrow fissure in a small hill or a stack in the landscape named Lambafell. It is an exciting and popular hiking route and a great place to take children. The path is unforgettable, and it might be a good idea is to bring a small light to light up some of the interesting walls.  At the southern end of Lambafell, you will find active high-temperature steam vents. Along the entire mount is a groove, or a ledge, which leads to the deep and narrow Lambafell fissure. The fissure's width is only a few meters, but it is 50 meters deep. During the summer, you can hike along the entire fissure, and it will be worth your while.

The best way to hike through Lambafellsgjá fissure

Indeed, the best route to descend into the fissure is from the south, down a steep and rather loose graveled slope. The fissure's walls are covered with excellent outcrops of subglacially formed basaltic pillows. The fissure was most certainly formed during the Holocene, but the pillows are thought to be a lot older than the last glacial period, possibly the one preceding the last one – or even older.
At the northern end, the fissure opens at the same level as its surroundings. You can either hike back through the fissure or go back over the hill and down a well-marked trail.  At the northern end, the fissure opens at the same level as its surroundings. You can either hike back through the fissure or go back over the mount and down a well marked trail.

Only an hour drive from Reykjavík

Driving to Lambafellsgjá can be a part of a driving tour and a hiking tour at the Reykjanes Peninsula.  When you drive from Reykjavík on Reykjanesbraut Road Nr. 41. After a short drive passed the Aluminum plant, you turn south on the road to Keilir.  You go a bit further than the turn to go to Keilir and find a small parking space about one-kilometer hike from Lambafellsgja.

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Below is the location of Lambafellsgjá on the map of Iceland

The Lambafell fissure is an open fissure in an oval hyaloclastite mount named Lambafell.

 

Hiking is extremely popular amongst Icelanders. Quite understandably. You can practically crisscross the entire country along hiking trails. Up moors and mountains, along valleys and prairies, through lava fields and fissures. And, as much as the Icelanders love their mountains, the Reykjanes Peninsula is gradually becoming the most popular area for hiking.

The Reykjanes Peninsula has excellent trails for the most experienced hikers, where you will find trails with steep climbs, trying grounds and along precipices. But, it also has excellent easy trails through areas of geological marvels. And, in most cases, the starting point is Höskuldarvellir.

Höskuldarvellir is a grassy plain (quite rare in the Reykjanes Peninsula) of 300 hectares. It is located next to Keilir, a hyaloclastite mount, quite visible from the main road between Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík. You can park your car at Höskuldarvellir and from there you will be able to hike in any direction. You can climb Keilir which is quite steep with loose gravel, but an excellent view when you get to the top.  There you will find a panoramic observation platform.

Or, you may choose to head to Trölladyngja and hike Lambafell, another hyaloclastite mount, walk through Lambafells fissure. The fissure is only a few meters across but about 50 metres deep. It is possible to hike along the entire fissure.

 

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Below is the location of Höskuldavellir on the map of Iceland

Höskuldarvellir is a grassy plain (quite rare in the Reykjanes Peninsula) of 300 hectares. It is located next to Keilir,

 

Reykjanes peninsula has many interesting places and several natural wonders. In fact, one could easily spend a few days in Iceland and only visit interesting places on the Reykjanes peninsula. One of those beautiful places is Lake Djúpavatn, less than an hours drive from Reykjavík. It is a bit difficult to visit since the road is a kind of a Highland gravel road for 4X4 vehicles only. But that makes visiting the place just a bit more exciting and adventures. There are also a few interesting hiking trails in the are that take up two to four hours to hike. It is an advantage and a privilege in life to be able to drive such a short distance and enjoy peace and quiet in such beautiful places.

A small lake ideal for fishing and hiking

There is one sure way of getting your children away from the computer. Take them fishing.  Find a nice lake and it doesn't matter if it has salmon, trout or sand lance. Children simply love a trip including a fishing rod and a picnic. Djúpavatn (Deep Lake) is a popular family destination in Iceland and a perfect place for a family destination. This beautiful and tranquil lake is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, a mere half an hour drive from Reykjavík.
In spite of its name, the lake is not at all deep, a mere 16.7 meters and its size is only 15 square meters. In fact, you can rent the whole lake if you don't want to be disturbed.

A road for a 4WD vehicle only

There was no fish in Lake Djúpavatn until 1960 when a stock of char was transferred to the lake from Þingvallavant (Lake Þingvellir), possibly because the two lakes share similar geological environments. The fish, though rather small, has now been thriving in Lake Djúpavan for 55 years.  Having a picnic by the lake is ideal, of course, but in Iceland, the weather can't always be relied upon to suit your needs. But, not to worry. There is a fishing lodge by the lake where you can have your picnic indoors.

Access to Djúpavatn is quite easy from Krýsuvíkurvegur Road Nr. 42.  A few kilometers before you come to the lake Kleifarvatn you turn to Road Nr. 421 Vigdísarvallavegur.  Here you need to keep in mind that this is one of the many roads in Iceland where you need a 4X4 or a 4WD vehicle. This is not a road for a small car.

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Below is the location of Djúpavatn on the map of Iceland

Djúpavatn a beautiful and tranquil lake is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula

 

In the district, Laugardalur you will find one of the largest industrial and commercial areas in the city of Reykjavík. Developed at a time when Reykjavík was advancing as a small town and becoming a city while the population was increasing rapidly, Laugardalur became the breeding ground for all kinds of business and commercial solutions.  A development that demanded better transportation, better areas for industry, a larger port, better facilities for sports and recreational activity among many other requirements that surfaced and demanded a solution. This was in the early forties, and most of the projects and buildings were built in the period up until the seventies and eighties. And even today many parts of the area are still seeing new buildings serving new industries, like hotels and office buildings serving the rapidly growing travel industry.

A key district for industry and commerce

There are mainly four areas for the industry and commerce in Laugardalur district. Laugarnes, which probably still has some development potential, Sund where all kinds of companies and the main port of Reykjavík is located, Borgartún, which many consider the center of our small and damaged, but slowly recovering, financial companies, banks and financial institutions and Skeifan which is mainly a commercial area.

In Laugardalur district in Reykjavík is the heart of sports events in Iceland

Laugardalur is the heart of Iceland’s sports and our participation in international sports like soccer, handball as well as track and field. Here is where our small but sufficient Stadium is located. It is also one of the largest outdoor recreational areas in the city. The main camping ground in Reykjavík is conveniently located in Laugardalur beside our favorite outdoor swimming pool, Laugardalslaug. But Laugardalur also has a few residential neighborhoods. Although most of the houses are single-family houses or two to three story houses with two to three apartments there are also some of the largest and tallest residential buildings in Reykjavík in the district of Laugardalur. In all the residential neighborhoods service for the residents have always been of high quality. There are good kindergarten, primary- and secondary schools as well as "state of the art" sports facilities.

Reykjavík Iceland map of Laugardalur district

If you are going to visit the Reykjavik the capital of Iceland you might be looking for a places to stay. Here you can book from a selection of accommodationin Reykjavík and Reykjavík districts.

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It is almost impossible to separate the town Vestmannaeyjar, and the clusters of islands Icelanders call Vestmannaeyjar or Westman Islands.  It is a small town on a tiny island south of Iceland placed on a rock in the middle of harsh forces of the Atlantic Ocean with an active volcano underneath.

For visitors, Þorlákshöfn is a good place to stop.  The village offers most of the necessary facilities and service visitors look for when finding an overnight place to stay or a place to rest.  Þorlákshöfn has a great swimming pool, a good camp site, a convenient store and excellent accommodations.  It is a young village with a short history. Throughout history, the question of a good harbour

Þorlákshöfn is a tiny village in the Southern Region in Iceland

One of the main factors preventing growth in recent centuries for most of the towns and villages on the south shore in Iceland was the difficulty of building a harbour or even a small dock on the sandy shoreline.

Eyrarbakki is a tiny village in the Southern Region in Iceland

In some areas in Iceland, two almost identical villages developed although the distance between them is just a few kilometers.  Sometimes this is a puzzle as nothing can explain why.

Stokkseyri is a tiny village in the Southern Region in Iceland

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