September 18 (Sunny)
We had driven many many kilometers around the ring road of Iceland and we were heading back to the starting point more than a week ago: the Capital City of Reykjavik. We arrived a day early than we had originally planned because of the closure of the interior highlands. We were faced with a dilemma: What should we do with this extra day? 1) Stay in Reykjavik and explore the city, or 2) go to Landmannalaugar (the Painted Mountains: fantastic reviews by photographers and travelers alike) in the southern highlands and still accessible. Landmannalaugar won and yes, this meant we had to retrace our drive all the way to Vik (similar to day 2-3 of our trip).
Aside from a couple side excursions we really hadn’t done anything that required such a powerful vehicle. I originally rented this behemoth because I wanted to travel to the interior highlands (Askja) and I would’ve had to ford rivers along the way. In order to fulfill my desire to drive across rivers/streams we decided that we would stop by Reykjavik for dinner, then spend the night at Vik in preparation for Landmannalaugar the next day = another long haul in the driver seat.
The drive around Snaefellsness Peninsula was extremely pleasant with tiny villages dotted along the way (such as Hellnar and Arnastapi: it always amazed me that there would stand a well kept church in the tiniest of villages). The entire drive around the peninsula was dominated by a towering active volcano Snæfellsjökull. Picturesque landscapes aside, the few tourist attractions around Snæfellsjökull such as “Songhellir – The Singing Cave” were truly disappointing.
P.S. On the drive from Snaefellsness Peninsula to Reykjavik we had to go through a tunnel which costed 1000 kronas (~$10 CAD at the time). I thought to myself this tunnel better be the best tunnel in the world for the steep price that I paid, and it took almost 10 minutes to complete the tunnel… well worth it haha! We also had one of the best fish course I’ve ever tasted in Reykjavik that night (it was only $90… chump change haha)