Waking Up To The Mistake
I've said, and fully believe that vacations are for going, doing, seeing, NOT sleeping.
As you know, I went to bed at 12:15 last night (First Mistake), the night of the almost promised greatest Northern Lights show in history. Well, maybe I exaggerated a little, but when I woke up, early around 5am (I don't know whose clock I'm on, because that is 1am at home, I quietly opened my laptop to look at my photos from yesterday but the Northern Lights app was still open on my screen and my jaw almost hit the desk or maybe even the floor!
This was posted on the Live Aurora Network App! That's my view!!!! OH - I'm SO Mad at MySelf!!!!
Then I saw this from an admin on a fb group I joined last week!
How could have I gone to bed and not waited? Abby and I were supposed to take turns watching.
The charts went crazy just after midnight and all the way until 3am.
I was in my 'dead' sleep. Anyone who knows me, knows that the first 4 hours of my sleep is my 'dead to the world' sleep time.
Apparently, these lights were all over the island.....while I was sleeping.
We had talked to the guy across the hall for a little while last night. They were going to take a nap around 9 and then get up at midnight. Why didn't I ask him to knock on my door if the lights were bright? Mistake #2. Why didn't I set an alarm for an hour later? A 1 hour nap would have sufficed. Mistake #3.
How long can you be mad at yourself???? How Long?
I Know! I Know! Mistakes Happen!
This is the main reason for coming to Iceland in the winter. Who comes to 66° North (which is what they like to be known for) and sleeps through the Northern Lights? WHO?
After I finished crying and whining and staring at the fabulous photo opps I missed and crying (did I already say that one), I prepared for the day ahead. It was frigid outside with 40mph winds and an icy parking lot which had several of us skating to our cars - FUN! And.....holding onto our doors. Nobody wants that bill at the rental car return. Really....nobody wants to drive back to the rental car return missing a door - Nobody.....OUCH!
As we packed up, we chatted with a few guests and looked at their pictures on their phones. We were on the north side of the mountain range and wind was coming from the south, where we were headed. We were a little concerned about being blown off the road, like we had read about, but the property manager explained how the wind works here in Iceland on the Snæfellsjökull Peninsula. He said that the south side would be pretty calm because the winds are actually pretty mild today. WHAT?
The winds actually become intensified picking up speed by traveling through valleys in the mountains making the north side much windier when the winds come from the south and vice versa. My face must have said 'interesting theory' because he then drew a picture. He also looked up the closed roads app for me and reassured us that we would be fine traveling the perimeter of the peninsula. OK then. We really didn't have much choice. We were way up here and our next stopover was way down there.
If he's right, brownie points for the Grundarfjörður Guest-House.
We had a cabin reserved for the night near Reykholt because we had an ice cave tour scheduled for the next morning followed by a volcano cave tour in the afternoon. We were really looking forward to both.
So off we went.....out of the comfort of the tiny town and into the frozen tundra. The wind was whipping around the car and swirling snow on any surface pretending to be some sort of roadway.
Which way do we go, George?
And just like that we were overlooking a very scenic beach. I can imagine it on a sunny summer day.
It was equally as beautiful on the other side.
I saw an interesting word on the map....PadLock. What could that possibly be?
Oh, it's a padlock.
It was extremely windy here. When the gusts would blow through, I actually had to brace myself to remain steady plus I had to tread through about a foot of snow to reach the lock. Not sure of its purpose, but worth a quick picture. Love the mountain and beach backdrop.
It was about then that I received a message (WHAT? there's a signal out here?). There are no people, no wildlife, no signs of life, no motorboats, not a signal luxury......Oh yeah, the message. It was quite alarming in all caps surrounded by colons.......::URGENT:: ALL TOURS INTO THE GLACIER CANCELED FOR TOMORROW:: This decision has been made due to extreme weather on Langjökull Glacier.
Oh NO! That's where the volcano is too. Bummer. And I was still mad about missing the Northern Lights too and now this.
Well, perhaps we should think about going home early......Hmmmmmm
We had been hearing that airlines were canceling flights or making changes with no fees. Sounds good. We started calling both JetBlue and Iceland Air. No Help! We called JustFly.....No person, just a brief message of how they are not helping anyone and a hang-up. DARN
Need to rethink the next two days' plans......
Better think on a full tummy. Lunch in Ólafsvík. Some shops and restaurants had signs on their front window saying that visitors/travelers were not welcome. It's okay. We understand. We found a place.
The food was pretty good and we had a view of a small fishing marina.
In the meantime, let's continue on to see what we see. Each town around the island has a sign letting you know when you're entering and when you're leaving - same skyline, just a different name. Sometimes the signs are only about 1000 feet apart!
Entering Snæfellsjökull National Park. That is a huge tower!
The supports cross the street and you drive right under them.
By the time we reached Londrangar, the snow was coming in side ways and the wind was strong - not as strong as on the north side, but we hoped to hike to the basalt volcanic towers. The first thing we noticed was the lighthouse.
It looks like a long hike, but some returning visitors say that it is definitely worth it. It is not impressive from the road.
I thought it might just be a drive by but we decided to make the journey. It looks completely different than it did from the road.
Glad we did. It was nothing compared to the airplane hike even though the wind was rough. When we got to the edge, we had to brace ourselves for the big gusts. There were thousands of birds flying and floating.
Shockingly, we were not the only crazy people site seeing today.
We considered having a picnic......
but ultimately decided we should press on.
I don't think we've seen actual pavement all day.
A typical scene along the peninsula ring road.
Our next stop is the famous black church of Snæfellsjökull Peninsula.
It's usually very photogenic.
I've never seen pictures of it with so much snow. It is surrounded by a black lava fence which makes it even more picturesque.
We took pictures from all different angles.
From a distance.
Down low. Only Abby can get that low these days.
A peek inside.
A little history.
Maybe you can actually read this one.
Still mad.....not as much though.
Back on the road. Wish this place would get some snow - hahahahaha
Looks like a volcano.
This guy thinks it's pretty cool too. Even though the wind is strong, gotta get that selfie.
That was his next picture, after I put my camera down.
A very distant volcano.
As the Aurora Forecast looks good for tonight, the skies will be completely overcast.
Still mad. Feeling distraught:(
We also learned today that our government has issued a Health Advisory warning citizens who are traveling to make every attempt to come home ASAP. Got It!
We finally made it to just outside of Akranes and we're looking for a place to stay. We canceled our remote cabin so we could be closer to the airport for the drive in tomorrow to try and get on an earlier flight. Plus the remote area is expecting bad weather overnight. We want to stay near the Ring Road so if we get snow we can hopefully still get out and heading south fairly early. We are about 2 hours or so from the airport.
We want to stay somewhere dark, just in case there is any chance to see Northern Lights.
We found a place.
This was a nice place, very convenient on the Ring Road, yet dark (in a remote area). It was about dusk when we drove in and the sky is still completely overcast and snow is falling, well blowing.
Our room was large and cozy with a full kitchen, full frig, living room, washer/dryer (which we never figured out how to use), and a trick door that I thought for sure we would die in a fire because it took us about 5 minutes to figure out how to get out of the door. Luckily, no fire!
Gotta check in with some snaps, tweets, streaks, whatever kids do these days.......
The owner brought us a big pot of lamb soup with bread and butter. We had plenty of room to spread out and eat at our kitchen table and watch the snow fall. The soup was YUM!
I stayed up until midnight and set my alarm for 45 minutes so I could look at my apps and look outside. I was ready! I did this until 3:30am. Snow and clouds all night. Not one ounce of green in the sky:(
We're either going home later today or I'll have one more night for Northern Lights.
My 4 Star TripAdvisor Review:
Spacious Clean Room; Convenient Location
We stayed here because it was convenient between Snaefellsjokull and Reykjavik. We booked last minute during non-peak season, so the price was good. Our room was clean and very spacious with a sitting area (but the tv didn't work) and a kitchenette. We were happy to see a washer/dryer combo in the bathroom, but all 3 of us worked trying to get it started for about 15 minutes. After being throughly frustrated, we gave up.
Our room had a large canvas of a naked lady and our teenage daughter was a little put off by that. This is supposed to be a family room (3 beds).
The owner was pleasant at check-in and we ordered meat soup, which was delish. He even delivered it to our room along with bread and butter. It was a little expensive, but with not much around, we didn't have much choice. It was snowing and we were glad to be off the road and happy to have a relaxing dinner in our room.
Our big concern was the door handle/lock. It is very tricky. The first time we tried to leave the room, when we were unloading our car, it took about 3 minutes to get the door open from the inside. Then it just sort of opened by chance, so the next time we needed to go out, the same thing happened. I told my husband 'I hope there is no fire tonight because we will all die trying to get out of here!' He said we could just break the windows. So, we did get a quiet peaceful night of rest.
Day 8.....Done.....Still Mad