“Oh, are you leading the tour going to SNAY-fells (mutter mutter)?” – we said something like that, to make sure we were boarding the correct minivan, out of 50 or so that stop at each pickup point. The guide nodded affirmatively, then gave us a lesson: in Icelandic, an “ae” together sound like “eye,” so the word is pronounced SNI-fells-ness. We brightened up! “It ends like Loch Ness!” We got an amused look, but we didn’t again pronounce it incorrectly all day long.
Stopping at Kirkjufell Mountain was the highlight of the trip, as it is one of the iconic views in this part of the world. Crews had arrived there for two months over several years to film Game of Thrones, as this is known as Arrowhead Mountain in the series. But our tour of this beautiful, volcanic peninsula held many gorgeous views and other meaningful locations.
It was thrilling to see the volcano Snaefellsjokull on the peninsula, where Jules Verne set his novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth. When we were in France last summer, we visited Verne’s house and grave. Interested, we then read the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth, set in Iceland. Even though the volcano was covered in clouds and fog, it was a thrill to see the location where he set this sci-fi fantasy.
Another interesting place we saw was a black beach that was very long and wide and had lots of oxidized parts of a shipwreck from March 1948. It was a British trawler called the Epine GY 7, and five out of a crew of 19 were saved. We were puzzled by all the pieces of metal scattered on the beach. Elsewhere, we are certain that they would have been placed in a museum, or returned to their home country, or destroyed, or at least cleared from the beach. It would be a potential litigation issue in the US if somebody got hurt or cut from touching it. When we said this to our guide, he said that when he was younger, he and his friends would joke that if they lived in the US, they could sue over something for a lot of money and become rich!!
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