#river

 

The Glanni waterfall in the river Norðurá is believed to be home to elves and gnomes. And believe you me, that is of g importance to the Icelanders who have great respect for those invisible beings coexisting with humans in perfect harmony. Glanni is by no means the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland, nor the largest. But, it is the source of the water flow for Norðurá, one of the greatest salmon fishing rivers in Iceland.

The landscape around Glanni is quite diverse due to its location near to an ancient lava field. But, as Borgarfjörður is the most genial area in Iceland, whereas weather is concerned, you will also find fragrant woods and colourful fauna nearby. Hiking from the parking area at the Birföst village, the Glanni area is ideal for a picnic. It is a most tranquil experience. From a bluff by the river's edge, you will get excellent views of Glanni on your way to the waterfall. It is one of those perfect photo spots.

Once at the waterfall you cannot stand by its edge as it is too close to the river's deepest part. But then again, your visit is not about experiencing the edge, but rather about enjoying the beauty.

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Below is the location of Glanni on the map of Iceland

The Glanni waterfall in the river Norðurá is believed to be home to elves and gnomes.

 

If you feel the need for dramatics while traveling in Iceland, Dritvík on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the place to go. A place with beautiful landscape and rich history.  Today it is difficult to imagine that Dritvík was one of the largest fishing station in Iceland for centuries with up to 60 fishing boats, dozens of huts and full of life. From the middle of the 16th century up to 400 inhabitants lived here during the fishing season and this continued until the early 20th century. At that time Iceland was more or less an agricultural society with few hamlets or villages.  So from the middle of February until late May, Dritvík was a particularly active place.  Like many places that developed some kind of community by the shore at that time, there were two reasons; rich fishing grounds and good landing place for small boats. But this is a mind-boggling notion because access to this dramatic cove is by no means obvious or simple. Especially as this part of Iceland was relatively isolated at this time.

Dirtvík is mentioned in the saga, Bárðarsaga Snæfellsás

The first settler in Dritvík was the half-man / half troll Bárður Snæfellsás. On the beach, you will find several spectacular rock formations in addition to the beautiful pebble stones. One of the rocks dividing the cove is Bárðarskip (Bárður's Vessel), and another one is Tröllakirkja (The Troll's Church). Their names come from the saga as Bárður landed his ship when he came from Norway some twelve hundred years ago. One of the first things his family and friends did was to worship pagan gods in a cave that can still be found at the rock Tröllkirkja. A few years after his arrival the family had a terrible ordeal that ended in tragedy.  Another place nearby called Rayðfeldsgjá is linked to this misfortune.  At the end, Báður moved his family to a cave in the glacier Snæfellsjökull and is considered to live there still as the protector of the surrounding farms and villages. You can also see his statue in full size at Arnarstapi village.

Tröllkirkja rock at Dritvík

At Tröllkirkja, the rock in the middle, Bárður Snæfellsás and his people worhiped pagan gods

Today Dritvík is an exciting place to visit

Apart from the black beach, Dritvík holds remnants of its past. A rescue hut is the only building standing amongst ruins from times of prosperity and different methods of living off the ocean. Although only a temporary living place for centuries it was considered a desirable place to go to. A place that was different from the dull and dark live by the farm with much richer social life and exciting diversity when it came to work.  In the days of social media and wide internet connection, it is hard to imagine that singing rhymes and lifting the stones at nearby Djúpalónssandur was something young men and women considered thrilling. 

Hike to Dritvík

The hike to Dritvík cove from Djúpalónssandur cove is quite scenic with lava formation

Access to Dritvík Cove

To reach Dritvík you need to drive Útnesvegur road on Snæfellsnes Peninsula nr. 574.  You take a turn to the south when you reach the intersection nr. 572 Dritvíkkurvegur road.  There is a parking lot by Djúpalónssandur. Approximately one kilometer to the west from Djúpalónssandur is a path you need to hike over a rugged lava to reach Dritvík. The walk by the shore is spectacular with many interesting lava formations. But, once there, you are likely to enjoy inspecting the area and taking advantage of the many photos and selfie opportunities. 

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Below is the location of Dritvík on the map of Iceland

For centuries, Dritvík was the largest fishing station in Iceland with up to 60 fishing boats at any given time and 400 inhabitants

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.

WHAT KIND OF CAR FITS FOR AN ICELAND ROAD TRIP?
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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.

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