After a lazy morning waiting for the rains to stop, the clouds started to lift and we headed out to explore the west and south coast of the peninsula. First stops were the beaches and cliffs (and two lighthouses) at Skarðsvík and Öndverðarnes, where the fields of lava very similar to what we saw yesterday meet the sea. Rounding arund to the south coast, first stop was Saxhólar, a volcanic crater that has a short hike up to the windy summit. It looks imposing pulling up to it - it's nearly black with only a bit of muddy red basalt mixed in. The crater however is a burst of yellow and green moss. It's everywhere.
I had Arnarstapi as a quick stop to see some caves and cliffs, but it was so impressive that we ended up spending a lot of time there. A massive thrust of rock that seems to flake away at the edges, Arnarstapi has caves, cliffs and an arch or two, along with a long trail to more formations. It's hard to stop taking pictures.
Storytime! Here's a story about a little black church.
Back in 1703, a church was built on the south coast of West Iceland, in an area we now call Búðir. For some reason it was later demolished, and the people banded together to build a new church, because they were hardy and good. Then, in 1816, in a totally bogus move by some guttersnipe named Gary, the parish was abolished and the church was dismantled. A local woman - let's call her Helga - stood up to Gary and proclaimed "OH NO YOU DIDNT", which shocked everyone because it was the early 1800's in rural Iceland, and they had no idea what she was saying. Still, they understood her sass, and provided their support when she took it upon herself to build the church again. When she was finished, she was still pissed at Gary, and wanted to proclaim proudly that the church was built without the graces of the royal church authorities, but those authorities had since grown tired of Gary's antics, and the church was shortly thereafter royally recognized. The church has stood the test of time, and Gary later went into the schmatte business. The end.
I really love this building. I've been a bit obsessed with it since I first saw it in pictures some months ago, and in-person it doesn't disappoint. It's so beautifully simple and perfectly proportioned. It's easily one of my favorite things I've seen this trip.