Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 7 - Northwest Iceland - Black Beaches, Driftwood, and Icelandic Horses

Horseback Riding in Varmahlid with Hesa Sport.
After three days of exploring the wild Westfjords, on day 7, we returned to the Ring Road.  Our drive was gorgeous - fjords, mountains, and seashore.  An evening of riding Icleandic horses by waterfalls, farms, and mountains rounded out another beautiful day.

Day 7 - Northwest Iceland - Black Beaches, Driftwood and Icelandic Horses

Wood that drifted from Siberia.
We hit the road early, heading out of the Westfjords on Rt 68.  The drive had a large amount of gravel/dirt road but was fairly straight and manageable.  Along the coast, we saw piles of driftwood - a confusing sight since there are very few trees in the country.  A tour book informed us that the wood travels all the way from Siberia and collects on the northern shores of Iceland.  Crazy! 

We stopped for lunch in the town of Hvammstangi.  After enjoying our picnic lunch outside the Seal Museum, we got instructions to drive out to Hvítserkur - a unique and scenic seashore rock formation. 

Hvitserkur Beach
The road to Hvítserkur is dirt/gravel and passed sheep and horse farms.  There is a short trail to a viewing platform.  From here, we decided to stumble down the steep but short trail to the beach.  The isolated beach of black sand stretched for as far as the eye could see and herds of Icelandic horses ran free over the cliffs. It was a little piece of heaven!

Our next major stop was in Varmahlíð where we had scheduled an evening horseback riding trip with Hesta Sport.  We got there early, so we drove down the road to a turf church in town.  It charged for entrance so we just observed the outside.  

At Hesta Sport, we watched a 30 minute movie about the area and the Icelandic horse before heading to the stables.  We had signed up for a three hour River Delta tour. We were the only ones on our tour and our two young guides were professional and informative.  It was wonderful to see the countryside on horseback.

Icelandic Horses running alongside our car.
Our cabin in Holar.
It was late when we finished our tour.  We grabbed a dinner of burgers and fries at the service station in Varmahlíð before driving to Holar where we checked into Ferdapjonustan Holum - another converted dorm residence.  The location of this guesthouse was beautiful - nestled in a quiet valley between mountains.  We were placed in a small cabin with three beds, a kitchen, a bathroom, AND a small washing machine!  It was a relief since we had only brought one week of clothing for our two week trip and hadn't seen laundromats on our travels.  We did two loads of laundry and left the items hanging in the apartment overnight to dry.  

It was another long, but enjoyable, day in Iceland.  
Horseback Selfie
READ ABOUT THE NEXT DAY HERE: Day 8 - Akureyri - Shopping, Food, and Drink

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