Today was our last full day in the Western Fjords! We really loved this area, and the rugged beauty, but also the random museums. We found the sign for the Nonsense Museum, which we didn’t go to, but the list of exhibits made us laugh.
We didn’t think it was worth $20 to see a collection of sugar cubes and teaspoons, or a collection of monkey memorabilia, but the idea of a museum dedicated to the random hoardings of various villagers cracked us up.
We travelled on the windy mountain roads to Hrafnseyri, the birthplace of good ol’Jón Sigurðsson! Now, you may be asking yourself who the heck that is, but he was the first person to push for Icelandic independence from Denmark. He moved to Copenhagen and wrote letters to every single farmer in Iceland (talk about writer’s cramp!) urging them to petition for independence. It didn’t work in his lifetime, but finally in 1944 when Denmark was preoccupied with the war, Iceland declared itself independent with the backing of the USA, and Denmark said “yeah, whatevs. We got other things to worry about right now”, and that was it. Good visionary’ing Jón!
Here are some photos of his lovely homestead:
We noticed a stone monument in the garden, which at first from a distance we assumed was Jón’s grave marker. The lady running the exhibition was extremely nice and took the time to tell us all about the history. Turns out that back in the 13th century, on the same land, a guy went to Italy and became a doctor. He then returned and was a surgeon, and started the first free ferry service in the area. Once he died, the ferries stopped until the 1950’s. Now, it’s not a competition, but we ended up being more impressed by this guy doing kidney stone surgery in the 1200’s, than we were with Jón and his letter-writing!
We also learned that Iceland had the first female president, and here she is looking all president’ish!
It’s been a day or two since we’ve visited some really impressive waterfalls, so we were happy to stop at Dynjandi Falls, which are described as the “most dramatic” falls in Iceland. We didn’t find them particularly “dramatic”, but definitely scenic! There’s the big main one, and then 5 smaller ones below that (6 for the price of 1). I hiked right up to the top, which was really cool, but the waterfall was too big to get a good photo of me right in front of it. The shots I took just looked like I was standing in front of a giant fountain.
On our way to our next spot, we found some natural hot springs (which locals refer to as “hot pots”), which is something Mo has been super excited about. Here she is hot-pot’ing it up with a random speedo-clad Frenchman!
You couldn’t beat the view of the Fjords surrounding the geo-thermal pool, but it was really cold and windy out, and there were some evil birds dive-bombing us.
Anyone who knows me (…or who read the Necro Pants blog entry), knows that I have a fondness for strange museums, and today it was the Skrimslasetur Icelandic Sea Monster Museum!
Mo opted to skip it, and nap in the car, so I was all alone in the Museum, and it was really creepy! They had the lights really low, some uber-freaky subtle horror movie music playing in the background, and life-size monster replicas set up.
Yes, i know they don’t look even remotely real, but I did have to keep looking over my shoulder to make sure no one in costume was going to sneak up behind me. I always thought that having a Museum to myself would be wonderful….turns out it depends on the museum. In this case, it was the stuff nightmares are made of, and I had to keep my back to the wall the whole time.
I think I’ve mentioned the roads here before, but it’s worth mentioning again that that these roads in the Western Fjords are not for wussies! They are steep with sheer drops onto sharp rocks very far below (and no guardrails), are exactly wide enough to fit 1.5 cars (which makes things VERY exciting when you encounter a tractor or tour bus coming the opposite direction!), and are loosely-packed giant pothole-ridden slippery roads with a smattering of gravel scattered haphazardly accross just for fun! It is TERRIFYING to drive them, and I shudder to think of the damage to the undercarriage of our poor little Kia!
But that said, “nothing easily gotten was ever worth getting” so as character-building as these roads are, they do lead us to some very cool places! Case in point: the beached Gardar boat, which is the oldest steel ship in Iceland, built in 1912 and beached in 1981. They recommend you don’t climb on board….although it’s extremely rusty, and looks like you’d catch Tetanus:
We carried on up a seemingly never-ending road which we were sure would kill us, and arrived at Látrabjarg, which is a bird sanctuary (where we finally saw our first Puffin!):
The signs are hilarious. They show a picture of a drone with a line through it and state “no drones”…..but the picture of a stickman falling off a cliff needs no words to accompany the gist of it: it clearly says “Now that you’ve survived our treacherous roads, you could fall off a cliff and die”. No words or explanation necessary!
This spot is the very Westernmost point in Europe! So of course we had to take a photograph with the proof! It was so incredibly windy, we were worried we’d be blown off the mountain and plummet to our death:
Mo joined the local “speedwatch”:
….and we are now tucked in at our gorgeous accommodation, right on the beach….
….strategizing our plans for our last few days here:
One thought on “The Wild West”
Puffin!!!!!!! 🐧 And yes that waterfall IS dramatic! The sea monster looks like a demon-possessed Ogopogo lol