Where We Be
You'll see this iconic image of Kirkjufell Mountain
featured on many an Iceland webpage and book
Snaefellsnes Peninsula, West Iceland
We started our exploration of the West Coast
with a climb up Grabrok Crater, a "recent"
volcanic crater less than 3,500 years old. Then
we continued to Borgarnes on the Ring Road
before turning off to explore the Snaefellsnes
Peninsula. Sometimes called "mini Iceland,"
Snaefellsnes makes for a great day of sight-
seeing with its varied landscapes. Interestingly
Jules Vernes set
Journey to the Centre of the
here, and it does have a wild, remote feel
to it -- like "anything could happen here" --
despite being within easy reach of Reykjavik.

The mountainous scenery of Snaefellsnes
impressed us more than we thought it would.
We were glad to discover the entire loop
around the peninsula was paved. That let us
circle glacier-capped Snaefellsjokull Mountain,
which looms dramatically over the landscape.
During one long day we took in terrific ocean
views, weird geologic formations, a black sand
beach at  Djupalonssandur, hamlets too small
to even be called villages, photogenic white
churches with red steeples, and -- last but not
least -- Kirkjufell Mountain near the town of
Grundarfjordur. The view of Kirkjufell with a
waterfall in front is a classic Iceland photo you
won't want to miss.
How many houses can claim their own waterfall in the back yard?
This odd formation rises from the flat plains like a blister
Here's another interesting geological spot where the mossy rocks seem to be pleated like a curtain
Near Arnarstapi is this statue of Bardur, descendent of giants and men, and guardian spirit of Mount Snaefell
Beyond the statue you can walk along the coastline and enjoy some terrific scenery
Some of the rock formations are beautiful here, and there are lots of seabirds
Arnarstapi is a tiny fishing village that was once an important trading post
Hellnar is another tiny fishing village with fine coastal scenery
The red-steepled church at Hellnar makes for an irresistible photo with its fine location
This marks the grave site of Iceland's only serial killer, Axlar-Bjorn, who killed a dozen
or so people who wandered a little too close to his farm. He was executed in 1596.
Snaefellsjokull is a stratovolcano (i.e., built up of alternate
layers of lava and ash). On a clear day it's visible from Reykjavik.
Snaefellsjokull is where Jules Vernes' protagonists find the entrance to a passage leading to
the center of the earth. It certainly looks strange and wondrous enough to suspend disbelief.
These basalt pinnacles known as Londrangar are another fine sight along the way
At the peninsula's far western end is Djupalonssandur black sand beach.
The beach makes a lovely arc and is covered with black pearly pebbles.
After the beach we rounded the western end of the peninsula past starkly empty landscapes
Heading east along the northern coast, we spied this lovely red and white church set against the mountains
This was a must-stop for me, one of my favorite sights of the day
The village of Olafsvik was also striking with its sea and mountain backdrop
We drove towards Grundarfjordur, appreciating the grand scenery along the way
At last we arrived in Grundarfjordur and our Hotel Framnes around 7 pm
The next morning we backtracked five minutes to visit
the one sight we had missed -- Kirkjufell Mountain
Add Kirkjufell to the list of beautiful places you have to visit in Iceland
Kirkjufell made for a fine finish to our Ring Road adventure. This was our last
noteworthy sight, as the next day we returned the car and explored Reykjavik itself.
Ring Road Day 7 -- Other than short stops to see Grabrok Crater and the town of
Borgarnes, we focused on exploring the Snaefellsnes Peninsula for most of the day
From the crater rim you can see how the lava spread out from the eruption some 3,500 years ago
Grabrok Crater is alongside the Ring Road and lets you stretch your legs while getting great views
Across the way you can  see one of Grabrok's sister volcanoes -- a beautiful sight
These stone fences are still used today to round up sheep each fall
The town of Borgarnes is only about an hour from Reykjavik and is the main hub of West Iceland
This monument atop a hill honors Brak, a nanny who died at this spot saving a child in one of the Icelandic sagas
We call this a Frankenberry Field (for those of you who remember your
children's cereals). Bales of hay are wrapped in bright colors in Iceland.
This lonely mailbox speaks to how remote it feels here -- despite being relatively close to Reykjavik
The western end of the peninsula is dominated
by Snaefellsjokull Mountain with its glacier cap