After we got back to the mainland on Wednesday, we picked up our car and a quick lunch in Reykjavik and hit the road for Borgarnes, at the base of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which juts off the western coast of Iceland. On the way, we spied a lovely green valley with the ruins of a farmstead.

We made it to Borgarnes around 5 and checked into the oddly named Motel Venus (the teeny tiny rooftop in the bottom left). By that time, we had lost the sunshine and entered the fog and rain.

We went into the village and wandered around a bit. We visited two parks. One claimed to contain the remains of a Saga hero (not in the one I’m reading); the other contained this sculpture as its centerpiece. Throughout our trip we marveled at the profusion of public art, even in tiny hamlets like this one.

The next day, we continued west on the peninsula. The guidebook told us this “town” was sort of interesting. We discovered that Ari the Learned, a twelfth-century scholar and cleric, had been the first pastor of this church.

We got a little cranky after this stop and Will spied a sign for a geothermal pool down a dirt lane. We went to investigate; it wasn’t open yet, so we went to a nearby beach, where we were attacked by angry Arctic terns. We returned to the pool, which had opened, and spent the next hour submerged to our necks in hot mineral water while a cold mist frosted our hair (sorry, no photos of this).

We continued on in a better mood. We rounded the end of the peninsula and found a room for the night in Olafsvik and then returned to the south shore for a little more sight-seeing. I should mention at this point that the rural “highways” in Iceland are only intermittently paved. Here’s what our car looked like by evening.

We walked up a little path from the road.

And took the obligatory “awww” shot.

The evening light (it was about 9:30 at this point). An interesting fact about this peninsula is that there is a large, dormant volcano at the tip that is topped by a sizeable glacier. This volcano, Snaefellsj√łkull, was where Jules Verne began his Journey to the Center of the Earth. It’s not the mountain pictured above; the clouds were too low for me to get a good shot of the big guy.

Later, we investigated the odd rock formations at Hellnar.

On our way back to Olafsvik, we came upon a spooky abandoned house. To give you an idea of how late it stays light, it was after 10:00 at this point.

Tomorrow we conclude with the northwest fjords and our return to Reykjavik.