Reykjavík to Seltjarnarnes



On Saturday morning I woke up feeling energetic and decided to go out to the shore for a run. I don’t do this often, but it was a gorgeous, clear, sunny day and I just felt a hankering to get outside and cover some ground. The weather forecast said 40ºF, so I bundled up in a long-sleeved shirt, a wool sweater, and a puffy jacket. (Later I noticed that all the other runners were sleekly clad in black running tights and fitted windbreakers.) But I forgot that the sun here is strong; I could have done without the jacket — though its pockets were useful. I headed south to the same stretch of sea we walked on Thursday, but this time I went the opposite direction, toward the west instead of the east.

View off the south coast

{as always, mouse over for description, or click photos to enlarge}

It didn’t take long until I got too tired to continue, so I stopped then and just walked on. I passed by a fish restaurant (or takeaway, maybe?) — closed on weekends — and later a 24-hour supermarket. A map in a bus shelter informed me that I was now in the township of Seltjarnarnes. A few minutes later I found myself at an intersection where I realized I could see the ocean to both right and left sides.

Street signs for Sudurströnd and Nordurströnd

I took a right and in a few blocks (after passing yet another Björnsbakarí — there are supposedly only four locations and now I’ve seen three of them!) found myself facing the familiar view of the mountain Esja. The sea and sky were so blue and the sun so strong, I was reminded of the view from Skye.

Rocks at the coast


I came across one of the funny drinking fountains (no on/off button) and had a sip. These were positioned regularly enough along the path that one wouldn’t ever need to bring a water bottle, if following the trail.

Drinking fountain

I also sat on this bench, which was in a little dip in a grassy hill. So sweet and peaceful… and I found a heart-shaped dog biscuit on the ground.

Bench on grassy area next to the ocean

After that I decided to run some more. I won’t say the view was so lovely I didn’t get tired, but it definitely gave me something else to think about rather than the clumsiness of propelling my body along the trail. And the conditions were perfect for running, really: that crisp clean air, sunshine without heat, the smell of sea.

Grass and seawall

If I were a serious runner, I could have run all the way around the end of the Seltjarnarnes peninsula, and wouldn’t that have felt amazing? But I didn’t think I’d be able to do it; even at a walk, I was getting weary. At the next perpendicular street, I cut across back to the south side and made my way toward home.

Street sign for Lindarbraut

Once again I could see the ocean on both sides.

Lindarbraut facing south

Lindarbraut facing north

Not a bad way to motivate myself to run: going out so far that I jog just to get myself home faster! Even so, I walked most of it, being tired and (by now) a bit overheated from wearing so much. Plus there was just so much interesting stuff to see: the houses, those fascinating tall mushrooms, even a random sculpture or two.

Modern house with gravel landscaping

Sculpture of two figures leaning on each other

Shore on the south side

Grass with visible sod strips


At some point I realized that while in Scotland the knowledge that no one in the country knew me filled me with dread and depression, here — while I was close enough to the water to fling myself into it — that same knowledge was somehow comfortable. Maybe it was just the endorphins from the exercise, I don’t know.

Gap in the seawall

Tiny harbor


Sky and ocean

In spite of my good thoughts, though, it felt like a very long time before I saw the building I’d photographed on Thursday and knew (with gratitude!) that I was back in our own neighborhood.

When I got home and looked it up I found I’d run/walked 8 km (just under 5 miles); if I’d gone all the way around the peninsula, it could have been over 10 km. Not bad for a little Saturday-morning outing! And I’ll repeat it sometime with Erik, because I found out, too, courtesy of a map at a small harbor on the south side, that there’s actually a little isthmus off that northern road, at the very end of the peninsula, that leads to a place called Grótta — which becomes an island during high tide.

Map of southwest Iceland

Map showing Grótta which becomes an island at high tide



There’s supposed to be a lighthouse on Grótta, and so little light pollution that it is a good place to watch the sunset, and in the winter, the northern lights. There are detailed tide tables available online, so one of these days when the forecast is favorable, we will get ourselves out to Grótta.