The weather was pretty mixed - windy and showery, but with some intense patches of sun. I stopped a few times soon after setting off, first to capture some horses, before stopping again just after turning onto the main road towards Grundarfjörður to take a few shots of the wonderful lava scenery there.
My next stop was at the edge of the Kolgrafafjörður where a tiny slice of sunlight illuminated part of the fjord, with moody clouds above.
My next stop was to view a waterfall just before reaching Grundarfjörður, called Grundarfoss. I parked in a lay-by and headed down the track towards the falls, low cloud swirling around above the top of the falls. I reached a viewpoint (couldn't get closer as there was farmland in-between) and the clouds lifted enough for me to see a little pointy peak above which I think is called Digrimúli.
The colours of the hillsides were amazing, with a wonderful combination of autumnal shrubs and varied geology.
The peak of Snaefell still had some remaining snow, and I wished I'd had more time to actually drive up to see more of it - especially on such a clear day. I had to just admire it from a distance instead. It was great to see the different sides of it as I drove around towards the south side of the peninsula. As I drove south I noticed that the road had got far busier. I passed signposts to Djúpalónssandur, but seeing coaches heading down there I decided to give it a miss. Instead I just pulled over a couple of times when lay-bys were available.
Next stop was at Arnarstapi, which I'd visited on that first trip and the wind had been incredibly strong. Not too dissimilar today, only there were blue skies and it looked stunning. I parked down near the harbour and set off for a little walk around the top of the basalt column cliffs. I hadn't ventured as far the previous time so was unaware of all the holes. I was fascinated watching the sea crashing up through these holes.
I could have spent hours exploring and hiking along the coast, but time was tight, as usual, given that I wanted to be back in Álftanes for 6pm. I headed off, stopping only a couple of times more along the south coast of the peninsula when some more wonderful geology caught my eye.
I heard some chattering on the beach - which is odd around there, as it is very residential - and two women approached me after a few minutes. They were Chinese and asked me, in French, if I spoke French! I understand and speak a very little amount of French from O level many years ago, so we managed to get a tiny amount of small talk exchanged. It was rather surreal, being on a seaweed-strewn beach, at night, in a very untouristy area, with two Chinese women, speaking French, asking me for help to take pictures of the northern lights. To make matters more surreal, they had good equipment (a Canon 6DII with a 16-35mm lens and a decent tripod), but had absolutely no idea on camera settings. I changed the settings for them - ISO about 2000, manual focus, manual settings (aperture 2.8, shutter speed 8 seconds), 2-second delay, pointed the camera in the direction of the lights - and lo-and-behold I managed to take a reasonable northern lights photo for them. Ah, they exclaimed, taking a few more, before saying their mercis and disappearing, as the lights above too began to fade. I was left alone chuckling to myself. I stayed a little while longer, before eventually giving up for the night. I thought of how the women would try to take photos the following day and no doubt be completely stumped, taking horrendously over-exposed long exposures and having no idea how to correct the settings (hopefully if they put it in the automatic settings they might be okay). I wandered back to the house for my last sleep before the sad event that is flying home, although I already had my return trip planned for February, so leaving wasn't that hard...
It had been another wonderful trip, with unforgettable, but simple moments, like the man waving at me in Bildudalur, watching the swans swim gracefully across the fjord from above, the magical mountains around the fjords, being greeted at the guesthouse near Dynjandi with dinner made by my host, standing on the beach under especially stunning skies with a wonderful friend...
Click here for my blog from Day 8 - Leaving the Westfjords Behind