Day 2: the way up north
Day 2 route map
Driving time: 2 hours
Day 2, stop 1: Þjóðgarðurinn Snæfellsjökull
This day was all about exploring the Þjóðgarðurinn Snæfellsjökull national park - the first national park established in Iceland.

We did start off with a route plan, but quickly abandoned it as different scenic delights caught our eye. As with everywhere in Iceland, the scenery changes every few hundred yards, and the park offered an amazing variety of landscapes, so we ended up stopping as and when.

We walked on a beautiful deserted beach; admired the cliffs where people used to abseil down to collect eggs from the bird colonies living there; and saw a stunning sunrise.

Day 2, stop 2: Saxhóll Crater
OK, so the second stop of the day was still technically in the national park, but I think it deserves its own post!

Saxhóll Crater's looming summit can be seen from miles away, but it's very easy to climb.

And once you get to the top, you'll be rewarded by some incredible views of the valleys below. I kept expecting an army of Orcs to crest the hill; it really looked like Middle Earth.

We stopped off at Hellnar, a little fishing village, for lunch, before moving on to the Lonely Mountain...

GPS POINTS N64° 51' 5.607" W23° 55' 36.348"
Day 2, stop 3: Kirkjufell
Kirkjufell is known as the 'lonely mountain.'

It certainly wasn't lonely when we saw it, though - this was the place where there were hands down the most tourists we saw on our entire trip.

Most were photographers looking for a perfect shot of the waterfall in the foreground, with Kirkjufell in the background.

We were lucky, as a wrong turn that led to a short 'detour' via a prison (yes, really) meant that we arrived just as the light was extra golden.

A beautiful view, despite having to share it with some other tourists.
Day 2, stop 4:
Bjarnarhofn Shark Museum

Yep, a shark museum.

Fermented shark meat is a delicacy in Iceland, used for special celebrations (and for scaring tourists).

I'd tried shark meat before, and wasn't especially enamoured - but my boyfriend is a big fan, so I took one for the team.

The museum is basically a small warehouse filled with greenland shark memorabilia. The family that runs it have been shark-hunters for generations.

You can see some of the tools used to catch the greenland sharks, and some cool bits of shark anatomy, including a shark's jaw, complete with conveyer-belt-like sets of self-replenishing teeth.

After looking at the bits and bobs, we were shown a short video on the history of Iceland's sharking industry, and how they catch and prepare sharks, until we were finally able to sample the delicacy itself.

An indescribable taste, but certainly a lot better than the shark we'd tried in a restaurant in 2015.

We also got to visit the drying shed where the shark meat is left to putrefy. Pungent stuff.

Overall, although it was an interesting experience, I don't think this is worth the ISK 2200 entry fee.

...Plus, everything smelt of wee (as with all cartilaginous fish, when the meat decomposes, it gives out ammonia-rich urea. In fact, it's toxic to eat unless prepared in this specific way).



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