Trip to Iceland day 4 / 2022-04-27

2022-04-27 Trip to Iceland day 4
We woke up in the Hótel Laxárbakki and made breakfast. After breakfast we packed our stuff and got going again.

Our main activity for the day was a visit to The Cave which is an underground lava tunnel.

We read the description of how to get to the cave and this was 'follow route X and follow signs to the cave'. The detail was that 'follow signs to the cave' was over quite a length of winding and not very wide gravel road so we were happy to have a four-wheel drive car. There were some steep grades in the gravel road which made driving interesting, especially with an automatic transmission. Thankfully this was an automatic transmission with an override so we could keep it in the same gear on a steep downhill.

We were greeted at The Cave by our guide who was a geology student from England. He was very good at explaining everything and answering questions from the people in the group. His level of knowledge was clearly far above the standard explanation of everything, but he was good at explaining things at multiple levels. This made for a very interesting tour with lots of nice details.

It was quite cold in the cave. There was snow in the opening and cold air from outside flows in. The opening is a collapsed part of the lava with stairs to get from the surface to inside the tunnel. If the collapse hadn't been there or hadn't been in just one place this lava tunnel would not have been open for visitors.

After the opening came a few turns and a part where the floor of the tunnel rose to quite close to the ceiling. The effect was that all moisture in the cold air formed interesting ice sculptures in this part, and there was almost no ice after this point.

At the far end of our tour into the tunnel was a viewing platform. The tunnel continues but without walkways and lighting, so the rest of the tunnel is only available to researchers. Our guide turned off the light for a few moments so we could see how dark it really is inside the earth.

On the return trip through the tunnel we saw the next group come in. The two group guides keep contact via radio to make sure the groups pass in a safe location.

After the tour we had a late lunch and went on. We visited Barnafossar falls which are very special: due to the volcanic terrain an entire waterfall grows out of the side of the mountain. The water gets into the lava easily since lava is very porous and at the side of the lava near the river there is just water flowing out of it at all levels, creating a wild river. With the explanation how this is possible from our visit to The Cave this was a nice place to visit and see for ourselves how nature and recent geological history interact here.

Our place to stay for the evening was Sauðafell Guesthouse (booking.com link) which is a renovated 19th century farm house. The house is in a valley with one neighbouring house visible, but at a distance too far for walking. The other neighbours are further away, one in the next valley and one across the river.

This guesthouse is on an active sheep farm. So farm life continues during your stay and it's a great way to experience daily life on a farm in Iceland.

We were greeted by the very friendly hostess Berglind and she directly assumed we drove over the paved road to get to the guesthouse because our white car was still white. The other nearby road is a gravel road and with some rain in the air and dust from the road white cars don't stay white.

In the evening we cooked our own dinner in the kitchen and cleaned up afterwards. The guesthouse has a nice kitchen and living room for all the guests. We decided to stay two nights so we could drive around Snæfellsnes peninsula the next day and return to the guesthouse the next evening.

For an evening walk we walked up the hill next to the guesthouse. Eventually we ended up at a height of about 343 meters with a great view all around.

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