After a lovely night’s sleep in the nuns’ guest room, I joined them for Sunday morning coffee and conversation. Since my mom was still at the guesthouse, we all spoke Icelandic together, and at one point American Nun said to Brazilian Nun, “Talar hún ekki rosa góða íslensku?” Brazilian Nun agreed, and then American Nun turned to me and said something like, “Þú hljómaðir svoooooo bandarísk þegar þú varst nýkomin” (“You sounded so American when you first came to Iceland!”) Uhhhhh takk, I guess?
I said goodbye to the nuns and met back up with my mom, who hadn’t slept so well – the midnight sun reflected on all the white walls and bedding in her room, she said, but more importantly, her c-pap machine (which helps her breathe and not snore at night) had broken. I was suddenly ten times more thankful that I’d accepted the nuns’ offer because I knew that if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have slept either.
We checked out of the guesthouse and had a few hours to kill before boarding the ferry that would take us to the Westfjords. Hint for travelers: there’s pretty much nothing to do in Stykkishólmur on a Sunday morning, so take that into consideration in your planning. We went to Bónus as soon as it opened, either because we actually needed something or just to kill time, I’m not sure. We had another parking lot picnic. We photographed the harbour:
And the weird spaceship church:
Mom learned a little bit about just how windy Iceland can be:
And we went to what might be Iceland’s cutest little café and ate what is most definitely Iceland’s most unbelievably delicious hjónabandssæla (a traditional Icelandic treat made of rhubarb jam sandwiched between layers of buttery oatmeal crust). Seriously, if you pass through Stykkishólmur, do yourself a favor and go to Sælkerahúsið for hjónabandssæla.
After we parked in the ferry line, I left my mom with the car and went exploring.
From my perch atop this viewpoint, I watched the ferry come in to the harbour, and soon it was time to board the boat (Ferjan Baldur, which runs from Stykkishólmur to Brjánslækur, stopping briefly at the island Flatey). Now, boarding this ferry was not like boarding a Washington State Ferries vessel. For one, all car passengers must board the vessel on foot, which means I had to drive solo into the belly of the boat. I was actually one of the very first to board, which sounds great, but meant that I had to maneuver the car into a very tight little corner. I survived, though, as did the rental car, thank goodness.
The crossing takes about two and a half hours. We started the voyage up on the main deck enjoying the good weather and scenery, then headed down below deck where my mom read and I took a nap. When the ferry docked at Flatey, we headed back up to try and snag some seats on the upper deck, and of course we ran into a relative – Ástrós, granddaughter of my Patreksfjörður host parents, who, ironically enough, had accompanied us on a trip to Flatey in 2012.
Somehow I managed to extract the car from the ferry without incident, and Mom and I headed to Hótel Flókalundur for dinner before starting the drive west along the Barðaströnd coast. I knew our two family farms were somewhere along this stretch and hoped it wouldn’t be too difficult to find them again, and it wasn’t.
The pink-orange glow of the late night summer sun guided us to Patreksfjörður and we arrived around 10.00. Our guesthouse was lovely but overrun with German tourists with whom we had to fight for the shower, but such is life.
We went to bed with no particular agenda in mind for the following day. (Notice I said “went to bed,” though, and not “went to sleep,” because neither of us got much of any sleep that night due to my mother’s malfunctioning machine, my inability to sleep through snoring, and a sad lack of nuns offering guest rooms.)
Anyway, the failure to prepare any sort of real plan for the next day was very Icelandic of us and happened to work out swimmingly, as you, dear reader, will learn in our next installment.