Where We Be
Hofsos' thermal swimming pool overlooking a fjord
was reason enough for us to take the scenic route
Trollaskagi Peninsula, Northwest Iceland
On Day 6 we got off the Ring Road (which turns
inland) and explored the scenic route instead
around the tip of the Trollaskagi Peninsula. At
the peninsula's tip is Siglufjordur, a charming
town nestled under the mountains. It was
socked in with fog when we first arrived, but
they say if you don't like the weather in Iceland,
wait five minutes. That proved to be true and
before long the fog lifted. A stroll through town
took us past the harbor, the Herring Museum
(herring were once the lifeblood of this town),
and colorful homes climbing up the hillsides.

We drove another hour or so to Hofsos which is
known for its well-situated municipal swimming
pool. While not quite a true infinity pool, the
views over the fjord are splendid as you bob
around in the geothermally heated waters. The
cost is $9 per person -- cheap by Icelandic
standards. We loved the pool but skipped the
hot tub, which looked more like a sardine can
with how many people were crammed in there.
But by the 1960s the herring were fished out, leaving behind a struggling town.
Now tourism is king and there's a Herring Era Museum to remind us of what was.
Salted herring was highly prized during the world wars, and the
herring trade once represented half of Iceland's export income
As we were leaving town the fog returned thicker than ever
We continued on our way, finding sunshine over land and fog over water
Eventually we reached Hofsos and its lovely swimming pool
Pretty much every town in Iceland has a thermal swimming
pool, but we think the one in Hofsos is especially nice
Maybe these Icelanders are onto something:
Cold climate + thermal pool = happiness
Yep, this is the life!
Just across the street from the pool in Hofsos is this quaint church
The sod houses look like something out of "The Hobbit" but they're for real
Since there was little or no timber for building or fuel, Icelanders
had to rely on sod and driftwood for all but the front of their homes
This is the back of the homes, with the layers of sod piled up in diagonal patterns
Our last stop of the day was at the Glaumbaer Museum with its traditional sod houses
This church stands at the entrance to Glaumbaer Museum. It's free to wander
the grounds at Glaumbaer or $16 each to tour the insides of the sod homes.
A herd of Icelandic horses frisked and ran as we drove past
We rejoined the Ring Road and enjoyed the pastoral scenery near Blonduos
Did you know that since 982 AD no horses have been imported to Iceland?
That means every small but sturdy horse you see on the island is a purebred.
Icelandic horses are said to have a fourth and fifth
gait in addition to the usual walk, trot, and gallop
"Room With a View Steinnes" it was called on Airbnb ($138 per night),
and they weren't kidding -- this really was the view from our room
After the tunnel it's a relief to reach the serene town of Siglufjordur
But once the fogs lift, you're treated to beautiful views of the surrounding mountains
Even on a sunny day (like this one) it can be foggy near the fjords
These old pier pilings once supported a thriving herring trade
This photo shows what the harbor in Siglufjordur once looked like
Ring Road Day 6 -- We skipped the inland Ring Road (Highway 1) and explored the Trollaskagi
Peninsula instead, then continued on to the Glaumbaer Museum with its collection of turf houses.
Just getting to Siglufjordur is memorable in its own right. It entails an unnerving drive through a dark one-way tunnel
known as Mulagong (or Olafsjardargong). Just north of Dalvik, it's two miles long and feels endless when you're in it.
Periodic pullouts are located on one side of the tunnel so you can duck in if cars are coming at you -- but still, yikes!
Our Airbnb near Blonduos was a working
farm with horses, sheep, and herding dogs