Iceland Day 10: Northern LightsHouses

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Iceland Day 10: Northern LightsHouses

compilation video of our entire Iceland trip

We headed further east towards Stykkishólmur, only stopping by the roadside to take photos.


We arrived early so we ate at a little bakery called Nesbrauð ehf, which had some really amazing fresh tuna and cheese in the salad bar. After eating we visited Stykkishólmskirkja Church.

view of Maðkavík from Stykkishólmskirkja Church
Then we went down to the Maðkavík shoreline
Then we parked by the ferry and walked up the hill onto Súgandisey Island

When we were halfway to the westfjords on the ferry we saw a heavy snowstorm outside with giant flakes. This was the part of the trip I was most worried about as if the mountain road to Patreksfjörður was impassible we would be stuck sleeping in the car at the dock.

Luckily, the road was passable, although sometimes it was hard just to see ten feet in front of the car. As we started coming down from the mountain the storm cleared and we were treated to a beautiful view of the fjord sunset.

Taken from inside a moving car on a snow-covered road – don’t try this at home (or Iceland) kids!

When we found our hotel in town there was a note affixed to the front door: “if checking in after 4 call” and then a number. This was odd for many reasons. First, we’re booked, you know we’re coming -and most likely from the ferry, which didn’t arrive until 6pm and is an hour drive away. Second, if I made the entire reservation online you can bet I am not interested in using a phone call for this transaction when I am in a foreign country. For safety, I had turned on the ability to make calls from my phone in Iceland, but it’s expensive so I really didn’t want to. Instead, we walked down the street to the local gym and used their phone.

After we waited for the hotel manager to show up to her hotel and give us the keys we already paid for we headed to the only restaurant in town: the Fosshotel. The waiter recommended mead and I really liked it (although the $15 a bottle price tag was harder to swallow). The waiter brought us bread and whipped butter (melting on a black volcanic stone) that was very good. So good we went through two baskets of bread before our food came. Entrees were seafood bouillabaisse and salmon. They were both very good, on par with any restaurant in the world. But this was a tiny town nestled beside a fjord sticking out into the North Atlantic.

Not to mention this was the view from our window table while we ate

Our night only got better as we headed back to the mountain road to find the northern lights. We found them long before we could find a place to pull off. A storm had deposited several feet of snow in the past few days and it was all now plowed onto the sides of the road. We eventually spotted a flat area where the plowed wall of snow had rolled off the cliff and we turned off, crossing our fingers we wouldn’t tumble down as well.

The lights were glowing green and we took many pictures before heading further out.


We decided to try to make it to the tip of the fjord, where we’d crossed a bridge earlier.

We both tried to take a video of the experience, but without previous experience shooting the northern lights these attempts did not go well. They certainly don’t accurately represent our experience.

When we arrived we scrambled to set up our equipment because the northern lights were putting on an amazing display. Directly above us and in both directions to the horizon the sky was exploding with shimmering pools of undulating pink and green.


We would be told days later by a waiter at a restaurant in Borgarnes that pink like that is so rare that he has not seen it in 25 years of living in Iceland. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get any photos of the pink corona as it was directly above us and didn’t last long. By the time I tested and figured out the proper (ish) settings on my camera, it was over.

However, a highly active display kept on going for nearly an hour. In that entire time in the picturesque location, only one car passed by (captured in the photo above driving down the mountain) – and nobody joined us.

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