Exploring Iceland in a VW Camper – Day 9
Friday 15th of September, 2017
We left the campground in Ísafjörður in the morning and headed towards the Dynjandi waterfall. At this point in the trip, we were still making some things up on the fly since the Westfjords was not originally on our itinerary. On the way to the Dynjandi waterfall, we had to drive six kilometers through a tunnel in the mountain just past the campground. The Vestfjarðagöng tunnel, as it is called, is actually made up of three tunnels, Breiðadalur, Botnsdalur, and Tungudalur, from what we read after going through it. All three of these tunnels come together about in the middle to make a three way junction! This tunnel was one of the most impressive tunnels we have ever been through and we marveled at its engineering. It was two lanes for much of the way, but at one point it became a one way road and we had to pull off into a designated spot to let a large truck go by. As you can see the “exit” sign in the photo below, it tells you which way to run. Iceland’s exit signs are the best!
We got to Dynjandi and it was a very impressive waterfall. It was also surprisingly fairly far from the road. You had to walk a decent path to get to the main falls and you walked by several smaller falls as you walked along the path. Dynjandi was not very busy but we didn’t stay long because we still had a lot of driving to do.
After Dynjandi, we headed to the beached Garðar BA 64 ship. This is the oldest steel ship in Iceland built in 1912 and has been beached since 1981 when it was decommissioned and then subsequently dragged on shore by locals who wanted to preserve it. It was very stormy and cloudy with rain coming down off and on while we were there. Despite the sign requesting people not climb on the ship, there were several people climbing all over it which made it more of a challenge to get photos of the ship without people in our shots. It is fun looking back at some of our photos and reflecting about times we had to wait for someone to move just right to snap the photo.
We left the ship and headed towards Kirkjufell, which was approximately 4.5 hours away from Garðar. Kirkjufell is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland and something we were really looking forward to seeing. Based on other people’s photos, it is probably the most photographed because of its unique shape, but also probably because you can also get some small waterfalls in the foreground of your photo. We wanted to get here before the sunset to get some good photos of the falls and mountain with the sun setting. It was going to be tight though and the curvy roads were not going to make it any quicker. We had to stop to get some lunch/dinner. We pulled over along the coast to get some photos and cook our freeze dried meals. The camper van continued to work out perfect with the table and stove that came with the rental.
The Westfjords area, both before and after our stop at Garðar, was beautiful. The winding roads along the coast was stunning. Most of the roads are easy to drive; only a few times did some of the curves get a little dicey, but we just took it slow. Somewhere along Route 54, we saw another beached ship in the water. It was accessible off an old farm drive and a walk. There was another car there so we checked it out too. We couldn’t get as close as we could to Garðar but it was still interesting to see it just lying there half sunk in the water.
We made it to Kirkjufell before the sunset and it was extremely windy. When we got there, people were coming and going, including a few tour buses full of tourists. They key to the photographs for this location is walk up the path, over the falls and to the other side. Most people walk up the path and get shots from the right side of the falls, but the better shots are from the left side. As the sun was setting, there was at least 12-15 of us all lined up along the path (on the left side of the falls) getting shots of the falls and mountain. As more groups of people would show up, they would slowly make their way up the path taking photos without seeing the line of people on the other side getting photos too. It made it for just that much more of a challenge as we would get short bursts of time when no one was on the path and everyone would take a series of photos before the next group of people hit the path and meandered their way up.
After Kirkjufell we headed to our last campground for our trip in the beautiful country of Iceland. We planned on staying at a campground in Akranes. We got to the camp and cooked up our last freeze dried meal using the camp stove. We almost ran out of propane (the van came with two canisters) so it worked out perfect for us. The best way to end our camping portion of the trip would be a Northern lights show over the water, which is exactly what happened! We had seen the northern lights our second night but this time around was mind blowing. We watched the northern lights light up the sky for nearly two hours as we laid on the beach filling up our camera’s memory just in time for bed.
We showered up and headed off to bed, our last night sleeping in the camper van and last time camping in Iceland. Overall the weather was overcast and cloudy the whole day. We had scattered rain throughout the day depending on the area we were at.
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