Vestfirðir, the western fjords of Iceland - Part I

in #travel4 years ago (edited)

I met Przemek and Martyna at a Facebook's group of Polish hitchhikers who are currently staying in Iceland. Przemek announced his willingness to go to Westfjords and was looking for people willing to join the trip. Not long before I've visited a piece of the region, but most of this depopulated area was still waiting for my foot to be put on it. The hesitation did not last long and a few days later, in the borrowed, black Honda Accord, we rode north - towards the new land.

Source: Wikipedia

Vestfirðir, the western fjords of Iceland, is one of the least populated areas of the island. Less than 7,000 people live on these more than 20,000 square kilometers, although at the beginning of the 20th century it was at least twice as many. In spite of the fact that you can find here the highest cliffs of the island and some of the most spectacular landscapes offered by Iceland, but it goes hand in hand with quite unfriendly weather conditions (even for this country). Closing the main access roads to cities in winter or spring is a daily occurrence in the western fjords.


Tales about cliffs of the size of skyscrapers aroused our imagination during this several-hour journey to the western tip of Iceland, although I was still falling asleep on the way, as I spent last night at work. Right at the very gate of the region, the landscape begins to become more and more interesting, as if more massive and aggressive, and after a few hours of driving it turns out to be completely hypnotizing with its gargantuantuan shapes.
















One of the first appropriate stops for us was a hot spring with a swimming pool filled with water from this spring. In the middle of nothing, just by the road, in the middle of the fjord. Next to the pool there was something in the style of a dilapidated, old cubby and even a young, working lady-attendant inside. We paid a symbolic fee and started enjoying the natural warmth of the hotspring water. I decided then that this was the ideal time to combine this pleasure with another pleasure and I began the yerba mate brewing ritual. Consequently, of course, the ultimate über-relax began.


Welcom and thanh you for coming!



Continuing the journey along the fjords we reached one of the most interesting abandoned gems hidden in Iceland. It is a wreck of the ship Garðar BA 64. At that time we didn't know that this is the oldest steel ship in Iceland - it was built in 1912 in Norway, and found itself in Iceland after the Second World War. Originally it was used for whaling, later it was mainly used for herring. In 1981 it was considered to be unsafe to use and left in the shallows, where it has been slowly deteriorating to this day. We did not neglect to comb through every possible nook and cranny of the ship with great satisfaction, and there was plenty to see, believe me! The rusty metal hull and masts of the ship contrasted, or rather complemented, with the harsh nature of the area.



















The road to the south-western end of Vestfirðir is quite demanding and did not allow our Honda to go faster than 20-30 km/h. This tip was our main goal for today and it is called Látrabjarg. It is famous for its monumental cliffs, which are home to thousands of puffins, and at the same time a paradise for photographing these remarkable birds. Apparently in summer this place is home to up to 5 million flying creatures. Icelanders for generations have been practicing here a specific rappelling down the cliff in order to pick up the eggs of the puffins in order to prepare their delicious morning scrambled eggs. Thanks to this traditionally learned way of navigating the cliffs, Icelandic farmers heroically rescued twelve British survivors in 1947, who shattered at the bottom of the cliffs.












The cliff stretches for 12 kilometres and is almost 450 metres high. We went for a short hike leading by the precipice, hoping to observe at least a few puffins. Unavailingly - they probably flew away a long time ago, or we just came at the wrong time of the day. Not only we expected them here, we met at least a few photographers with professional equipment, one of which waited a few hours at the place. At least now we have a good reason to go back there! However, Látrabjarg did not need puffins to impress with its beauty. The view down the cliffs is breathtaking for everyone, without exception. Even disappointed photographers.





The first day of discovering Vestfirðir was slowly approaching the end. When the rain caught us coming back to the car, it was already getting late. However, we decided to go back to the main road going around the fjords and spend the night a little bit up north, so as to have more time for travelling the next day. We arrived at night to the next hot springs called Pollurinn, but they were occupied by Icelanders enjoying a cold beer inside. We camped wildly nearby, and bathing in the springs was postponed until the morning.



DSCF4658 1.jpg

To be continued...


First of all I would like to say Holy Moly! ^^ Now this is a blog post, ahaha

This wonderland just keeps surprising with its landscape and diversity and I am always so excited to look through people's travels there. Never been myself so far, but it definitely should be in every person's bucket list.

And lastly, rusty metal ship phobia aaaa! You actually crawled in it and on it, oh my! I guess on the land its actually tolerable. Maybe just maybe.

Climbing on that ship's mast wasn't easy and I was quite scared :D But the reward was a hell of a view on the top!

Iceland has sooo much to offer if... your wallet is pretty thick. It's much easier and cheaper to sight-see when you actually live here as I am since March. Anyway, If you'll be around by May, let me know, so I can advise you a little bit and mayme show you around Reykjavik!

mindblowing!! <3

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Sure, why not! Thanks for noticing me :)

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amazing :) Cheers!

Wow, just spectacular! Just looking at the first several photos made me have chills ob my skin. Incredibly beautiful :)

Hey Daniela! Thanks for your comment! I'm glad my photos made such a bodily reaction :) I am happy to share some of Icelandic beauty :)

Hi @saunter, congratz on your curie upvote. This is kind of post that keep me excited on steemit (despite the steem bearish price) haha. Amazing and awesome, man! I love those ship wreck pics, spooky and dramatic.

Thanks man :) Glad to hear my content is appreciated. I prefer not to post too often, but rather focus on quality. I see you are a traveller too! Let me explore your travels :)

These photos are spectacular! Those cliffs are like out of another planet! 450 meters?! WOW! Wouldn't be able to come to the edge :)

Oh, that swimming pool would be something for me. Hot spring water is so relaxing. Were there any people around? I can't see any on your photos. It could be because of the low population but I would at least expect some tourists there :)

And that ship is amazing! I would spend there hours walking around and trying to get the photos. You did a great job with that.

All your photos are amazing. Thank you for sharing! Have a great weekend!

There were one couple except us, msotly in the pool, not in the hot spring :) We preferred hot spring as it was warmer :D

Thanks for your kind words! Soon there will be Part II :)

Amazing views @saunter from one of the parts of Iceland I haven't been... Also one of the reasons I need to return there 😍

You have captured some great shots from the shipwreck! Loving the view in front of the bow.

Sorry for the Puffins, but I'll think you have plenty of time left on Iceland to see those magical birds again? How was the wake-up in the hotpool the next day?

How was the wake-up in the hotpool the next day?

You'll read about that in the next part!

Regarding Puffins - yes, I'll be here until the end of May so I hope I'll see them in spring. I saw one while I was on the motorboat to Hornstrandir, flying just centimeters above the sea - that was pretty cool :)

And this is fascinating! I always say that fjords are beautiful and you don't have to add much to get a good pic, but your composition work with the camera makes them even better! This post is something out of this world I love all of it! And mad respect for dipping in that cold water!

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And mad respect for dipping in that cold water!

Which cold water? This was a hot spring :D

Anyway - thanks for all the support <3

Love your post (Not only Mate in the pool) Good Idea to switch halfway to black and white!

Multe dankon pro tiaj afablaj vortoj!

I absolutely LOVE Iceland. We've been back 3 times and have explored a different region each time...would love to explore the F roads some day and really experience it's raw beauty.

Oh yes, the F roads is where the fun begins ;)

It is all so BIG! And stunningly beautiful! Your photos are quite amazing. I love how photogenic those red houses are. And the photos of the ship are great. You really did explore it thoroughly. This is such an incredible adventure.

Thank you! It is big indeed. There will be more urban exploring in the next post too :)

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