Sunday, 3 January 2016

Iceland 2.3: Stykkishólmur

Stykkishólmur is a small fishing town and port on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and it provided a much needed break after a very long drive in challenging conditions.  It was cold and grey, with strong winds and occasional rain showers.  Pretty typical Icelandic weather, in other words.  As a place, Stykkishólmur is very pretty with lots of painted wooden buildings.  It is clearly fairly prosperous: as well as a thriving fishing industry, it's also the place to catch the ferry to Brjánslækur and the Westfjords.

I know I promised restraint on the hydrant front, but Stykkishólmur possesses a fine specimen made by Kennedy of Elmira, NY.  Now, not a lot of people know that...

The church was locked - rather unusually for Iceland - although my trusty steed was happy enough to reside in its car park.  Since I couldn't get into the church, I went for a wander around the harbour instead.

As with other Icelandic fishing towns, the processing is done on the quayside with any waste being fed to a large congregation of sea birds.  The fulmars were waiting patiently on the water, but overhead a small number of gulls - herring, glaucus and black backed - were waiting to pounce and steal the juiciest morsels.

At 16:00, having pretty well exhausted Stykkishólmur, I decided to hit the road for my final destination of the day: Grundarfjörður.  Since it was absolutely tipping down, I picked up a couple of (rather drowned) hitch hikers and took them to a place with a shelter where they could catch the bus back to Reykjavík.  It turned out that they were French students, working on Icelandic bird life at the Reykjavík Natural History Museum (yes, the very same museum we visited back in 2013 which is very proud of its collection of molluscs!).