Nice February Sunday we decided to explore the Rainham marshes, for some fresh air and possibly birdwatching. We managed to get the right train and in no time we were walking on the pretty circular boardwalk through the marshes. Sun was shining, wind was blowing, and birds aplenty. With the help of my monocular and my pretty birdbook we had a blast.
Confirmed sighting – a Coot (check! but no picture, they were too far)
We also saw some tits, geese and all kinds of other creatures.
We had fun xmas with loads of presents as usual, xmas cookies as usual and afterwards we went up to Wales as usual. Nobody really remembers much more about it, it’s been too long.
In Wales we went up Cadair Idris (that’s like Idris Elba, except it’s nothing like him), which was very beautiful; we also saw some nice sheep and I used my awesome macro lens on the Llandwyn beach.
Llandwyn down below
Sad to be leaving but looking forward to our bed! A little bit of stress as the plane was out of the headphones we wanted to buy to watch Fortitude, but we managed to get the kids’ packs which had some shitty ones in them too. Also a colouring book and stickers – bingo! London grey and not so warm, missing Reykjavik already, they have sun all the time.
Loc(k)sin, Einstok, and Iest.
A nice leisurely day in Reykjavik. Beautiful sunny warm weather, we started in Iest’s pick of Reykjavik’s hipster coffee place (Reykjavik Roasters), onto the most famous Reykjavik church Hallgrímskirkja (which is actually quite ugly and in your face), 3D topo map of Iceland in the rathaus (great), and anything in between.
Gina sketching away
3d map of Iceland
Loads of sketching too. Lunch at Kafi Brennslan, dinner at our fave 2for1 Bergsson Mathús in the sun by the pond.
Gina at Tjörnin
The Prime Minister’s house
Relaxing, beating Gina at cards
Awesome food @ Bregsson
Afterwards we met with Iest’s animator friend (thanks Bjarki!) at the local local for locals – Bar 7 – gritty and fun. Awesome final day of our trip!
Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík
We checked out Stykkishólmur in the morning, probably the first town we see in Iceland with nice ‘scandi-style’ architecture. If Stykkishólmur can, why can’t the others? Nevertheless, not much to do, so we set out on our journey back to Reykjavik.
As we had some time, we decided to take in Þingvellir on the way, the only point of the ‘golden circle’, which we hadn’t seen yet. Þingvellir is a site of immense historical importance to Iceland, as well as geographical, it being the meeting place of the Northamerican and Eurasian tectonic plates. Despite that, it is kinda boring on the face of it, and most of the time I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to be looking at. Nevertheless, check!
“The Sun Voyager”
Glass wall at Harpa
From there we went straight to Reykjavik to return our car, and back to our campsite. We then walked to town to check out the main sights, it was a beautiful sunny day, and the wind finally quieted down. Delish lunch by the Tjörnin, but not quite sure there is much left for us to do in town tomorrow…
Gina’s silhouette at Harpa
Photoshoot at Sæbraut
Sleep in we did, which was nice, and then we rolled in to the camp reception to get ourselves a car for a day. It more or less worked out (they were a bit late on the delivery but also gave us a much bigger car than we paid for), and soon we were zooming up north from Reykjavik onto the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
A stupid stop in Borgarnes, of which our guide says it has a nice small-town vibe (it had nothing of that sort), and then a beautiful drive along the southern coast of the peninsula.
Our Icelandic wheels!
Southern landscape of Snæfellsnes peninsula
We did a nice coastal walk between Hellnar and Arnarstapi (and back, that’s what happens when you need to get back to a car). Which was really scenic, plus we saw some new birds too.
Nesting sea birds
Iest and the sea
Gina and the rugged view
Hellnar and Arnarstapi peninsula
Then we continued around the peninsula, taking in nice views in the strong winds. Stopped by the famous Kirkjufell mountain and its waterfalls, although in quite uninspiring light conditions.
Coastline looking West
We checked out camping spots in Hellissandur and Grundarfjöður on the way but didn’t really like them, so we ended up driving all the way to Stykkishólmur. Where we got at about midnight.
We woke up into a super strong wind, shaking up the tent. Despite that the weather was still plenty nice and sunny, if a bit hazy.
Gina marching ahead
We set out on our puffin-hunting, along the western shore of the island to the south. Even after walking the five or so kms along the coast we still didn’t see any (although we saw a number of other birds), and the wind was really pretty gusty. (We later learned that this is, indeed, the windiest spot in Europe.)
Looking out towards Suðurey
The beach at Vikin
When we reached the southernmost peninsula, we were almost losing hope for puffins. We climbed up the hill to the bird-watching hut – and there they were! In their hundreds along the cliffs and on the sea, some bravely trying to fly in the strong wind, their little orange beaks and feets flapping along. It was really pretty awesome.
When we had enough, we went back to the road and decided to try to thumb to town to spare us another hour in the gusts despite the fact that there was very little traffic at this place. We were super lucky though and got a ride immediately with a nice French couple before we even really started hitching.
A sunburned and windswept Iest
Gina and Toti
Back in town we got ourselves a Panini lunch and headed to the last unexplored spot on the island – the aquarium. The place was fairly small but full of wonders – huge amounts of stuffed birds and animals and fishes, and also tanks with live fishes and other water creatures. It also had boxes with little gull chicks, nursing them after they’ve fallen out from nests, until they’re strong enough to survive. On top of all that, there was one guillemot walking casually around; aaand and one local puffin who’s just living there since four years, and I got to hold him! Excellent visit.
Local Puffin – Toti!
A very curious Guillemot!
Afterwards we bought some skyrs and went to pack up before heading out for the boat.
We said a sad goodbye to the island, and zoomed over to the mainland seamlessly connected with a bus to Reykjavik. We arrived at the campsite at about half ten, pitched the tent in the strong wind (still here as well!), and went to make a dinner in the nice warm common kitchen. Decided we wanted to sleep in a little bit tomorrow, so no getting up crazy hours to catch a bus to Borgarnes, we’ll see about renting a car for the trip.