Monday 4 November 2013--We're headed back toward Reykjavik today, but first will have a look around the local area. The ring road runs
inland along the eastern side of Reynisfjall, the ridge that forms a headland west of VÝk. A minor road then leads down the western side, past
the farm Reynir in the hamlet of Reynishverfi to the black sand beach, Reynisfjar. All of these names derive from Reyni-Bj÷rn, the Norwegian
who was first to settle here. There are spectacular basalt columns in the cliffs by the beach, and Reynisdrangar can be viewed from a different
angle. Legend has it that these jagged rocks were trolls towing a boat through the tide, turned to stone when they were caught in the sunrise.
I'm not sure why the boat turned to stone, too.
Back along the ring road and down another side road, we come to the next promontory along the coast, called Dyrhˇlaey. There are more peculiar rock formations here, and a nice view east back to Reynisfjall. To the west, the black beach stretches as far as we can see. It looks almost satiny from this height. A cleft in the cliff leads down to a sheltered beach, and the light above and the remnants of some maritime hardware--a mooring cleat, a pulley--suggest that this was a working harbor not all that long ago. It's hard to imagine how the mooring cleat would have been used, so high up above the water on the clifftop.
Then we are off to the northwest, following the Ring Road through Selfoss and on past Reykjavik. We pass through the Hvalfj÷rur Tunnel and turn off toward the town of Akranes for a look around. We haven't booked a room for this evening, and this is the first of two possibilities. It is, at first glance, a charmless place, and after making a loop through, we move on.
Another half hour up the road, a causeway and bridge cross Borgarfj÷rur to the town of Borgarnes, which sits on a little spit of rock extending from the northern shore of the fjord. It's about a quarter of the size of Akranes, but seems to have a bit more charm. Too bad if it didn't, because this is where we're staying, in any case--it's getting late in the day, and there isn't another town of any size for a long way. There's a surprisingly large hotel, and we're lucky that there are a few guests already booked in--otherwise it would have been locked up. The hotel clerk recommends Eddu Ver÷ld for dinner. It's a handsome little place, and the food and beer are good. Very quiet, though...about what you'd expect on a Monday night in early November in a small town in Iceland, I guess.