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Sunday, June 25, 2017

4 Jun 2017 - Iceland Day 10: Hellnar and Arnarstapi Towns

There are several nice little towns on the westernmost part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.  We drove to Hellnar, which was among the largest fishing villages beneath the Snaefellsjokull ice cap for centuries.
The Hellnar church was built in 1945 on a picturesque site where a church was first raised in 1833.
Another nearby town is Arnarstapi, a small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell.  From the car park, we saw a stone sculpture at a distance.
This imposing figure represents the guardian spirit Bárður Snæfellsás, Deity of Mt. Snæfell.

Bárður was the one who gave name to the Snæfellsnes peninsula when he saw the snow and ice on Snæfellsjökull glacier, which hovers over this part of the peninsula. He called it Snjófellsnes peninsula. Both words "snær" and "snjór" mean snow in Icelandic. It was later changed to Snæfellsnes.
Around the Arnarstapi pier, we could see all the spectacular columnar basalt, ravines and grottoes.

There was quite a large arctic tern colony all over the cliffs. A walk along the coastline is recommended to watch the birds and the magnificent lava formations. The seaside and the cliffs between Arnastapi and Hellnar have been made a Natural Reserve in 1979.
Before leaving Arnastapi village, we decided to have our dinner at a mobile Fish & Chips stall by the roadside.  It felt amazing to be eating Fish & Chips outdoor at the foot of Mt. Stapafell.

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