Journey to the centre of the Earth ... in Iceland

Kirkjufell or the Church Mountain. — Photos: CHING POY SENG

In the fictional novel Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by Jules Verne, Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland is considered the gateway to the centre of the Earth.

This peninsula has a stunning landscape and is steeped in supernatural beliefs and mythology. During my trip to Iceland, I decided to check out the place with a local travel company.

On the day I was supposed to visit the peninsula, Iceland was hit by a huge polar storm. The wind was so strong that I found it impossible to walk steadily outside. Roads were closed and most tours were cancelled. The capital, Reykjavik, came to a standstill.

I thought that my trip would be cancelled too. However, I received no cancellation notice from the local tour company. I guessed that the trip would proceed as usual but with this kind of gusty wind, could I actually venture out? I shuddered just thinking about it.

But the tour guide-cum-driver appeared on time for pick-up and soon, we were all set to head to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

On our way there, we were flanked by the coastline and ocean on one side, and snow-covered volcanic mountains on the other. Iceland is truly a place of fire and water. The desolate landscapes also gave off an intoxicating charm.

A sculpture of Barour, a mythological figure at Snaefellsnes.A sculpture of Barour, a mythological figure at Snaefellsnes.

Our first stop was the coastline near Arnarstapi. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too windy in the peninsula.

Near the coastline, I could see marvellous sea cliffs with basalt columns plunging into the sea. There were also many fascinating rock formations. The one that really stood out was the Londragar Cliff and it looked like a sea monster rising above the sea!

Walking inland, I then came to a huge sculpture depicting the mythological figure Barour, who is said to be half-troll, half-man, and is the protector of Snaefellsnes.

Next, we were off to Djupalonssandur, a black pebble stone beach. The way down to the beach was very slippery and I had to walk slowly and carefully. I managed to get to the beach, but I was not prepared for the sight.

The view seemed out of this world. White pristine snow dotted the shiny black pebble stones on the beach. This visual effect formed quite a sharp contrast. Bizarre rock formations, with some looking like rings, could also be seen. It seemed like I was on another planet.

Londrager Cliff near Arnastapi coast. — Photos: CHING POY SENGLondrager Cliff near Arnastapi coast. — Photos: CHING POY SENG

Leaving the beach, we then headed for Kirkjufell or Church Mountain. Kirkjufell is an iconic and symmetrical mountain. It towers about 460m and is a free-standing mountain.

It is also probably the peninsula’s most photographed landmark.

During summer, the vantage point to take a photo is next to the waterfall. That was also the picture that I saw during my arrival at the Keflavik Airport. Alas, the waterfall was frozen at the time of my visit in winter.

We headed back to the capital around evening. At the end of this visit, I did not feel tired or worn out despite hours of sightseeing and walking in the extreme cold. In fact, I was jubilant and felt so inspired by what I saw. Was it because of the Earth’s energy in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula?

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

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