Friday, September 11, 2015

Driving Around Iceland, Part 3: Borgarnes and a Bit of the West

(please refrain from using my photos without permission)

First of all, I would like to say that I fell in-love with our hotel in Borgarnes called, Ensku husín. The name of the hotel translates to "English House". Just look at how charming it is from inside and out:

This is the view from the restaurant

A collection of old books

I love this binding

The midnight sunset

Our little room... the only thing I didn't like was the white curtains. it was difficult to sleep because the sun sets at midnight and at 4AM, it feels like midday already.

Ensku husín in Borgarnes

Since we were traveling from Jokulsarlon (Southeast) we had to pass by Reykjavik, and then had to go through an underwater tunnel, which was the only time we had to pay for a toll fee. It was a long way from Jokulsarlon to Borgarnes but it was never boring. The landscapes were always spectacular and entertaining. Of course we made several stops on the road, but I will talk about them in the last part of my post about Iceland.

We had trouble finding the hotel at first because it was outside the city center and we did not have GPS. The hotel signage was not very obvious. But we managed to find it after making several turns.

Lovely cascades inside a private fishing property a few meters from our hotel (this is a special long exposure shot taken with an ND 10-stop filter)

Walking around the hotel area right around midnight

At first we were disappointed that our hotel was far away from the city center. but after visiting the city center, which did not really offer much for sights and/or activities, we were thankful we have our beautiful countryside hotel.

Some church at the city center

Filipino restaurant in Borgarnes, unfortunately, they're only open in the evening

Some hobbit houses

After settling in, we decided to walk around and see more of the beautiful surroundings. There was a private fishing area with a waterfall. We went inside the area because we did not see the sign at first that it was private property. There were some people doing some fishing, but they did not care about us taking pictures of the waterfall.

Around the city center, there was not much to see and do. I was quite surprised to find a small Filipino restaurant though. Right in the middle of nowhere in Borgarnes, Iceland is a Filipino restaurant. Imagine that?! We chatted about it with the hotel staff and they said there are indeed 5 Filipino families in Borgarnes, which has a population of only 1,800! :)

Deildartunguhver hot spring in Reykholtsdalur -- water was 100 degrees hot!

We went farther out to Reykholtsdalur in the afternoon to visit the hot spring in Deildartunguhver. Apparently, it's the biggest hot spring in all of Europe. It brings hot water in the surrounding areas to even as far out as Reykjavik. Speaking of water, the tap water in Iceland is the most refreshing water I have ever tasted in my life. I really missed it immediately after leaving for Amsterdam.

This view just makes me want to run around with my arms wide open and start singing... the hills are alive with the sound of music... la, la, la... :D

Shot from the car... it looks like rain over that mountain and certain areas of the pond. pictures don't do justice.

On the way to and out of Borgarnes are these magnificent views on the road. Everything is so green and blue and the clouds just seem to love the mountains and the plains too much, they are always hanging around to create the most magnificent cloudscapes I have ever seen in my life.

It’s interesting to note that the temperature gets increasingly more comfortably warm as we headed north. Usually, it would be colder higher up in latitude. But it does not work that way in Iceland, for some reason. And because it gets warmer up north, the landscapes varied differently. It was so much greener as opposed to the eerie, mostly moss-filled lava land and glacier frost of the south.

Self-service kiosk selling tomatoes -- nobody's manning the kiosk but they say that there's a hidden camera somewhere to avoid theft. :D

Best-tasting strawberries from a greenhouse not so far away from the hot spring.

We passed by a greenhouse selling fresh strawberries and they were the sweetest. There seemed to be a lot of fruit and vegetable kiosks that are self-service. We had trouble paying for them because we had no change. Fortunately, one of the people in the queue had some change for us. The strawberries were some of the best I’ve tasted ever.

Mt. Baula

Gabrok crater at Bifrost

i love how there's almost nobody there.

On the way to Akureyri, we passed by a huge mossy lava land, with interesting weird-looking rock formations. On the way back from Akureyri, we decided to visit Bifröst to climb onto the craters of Gabrok.

I love how there weren't so many tourists in and around Borgarnes. I had the most wonderful time revelling in its vast and varied landscapes.

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