We were at the end of the world. Or the end of Iceland at least. Fontur lighthouse. 650 km from Reykjavík. At the edge of the Langanes Peninsula. And we were crying. Sort of. Not “snot all over your face” sobbing but graciously shedding a tear over the beauty of the moment. Life was good.
The reason we teared up was not just that we are over emotional, a family trait I’m afraid, but because we had just had the most perfect day. And now we were at a lighthouse, about as far away from Reykjavík as you can get, with our guide Halldóra that was singing us some Icelandic songs to showcase the acoustics in the lighthouse. My sister Helga and I had spent the last few hours in a Landrover with Halldóra exploring the beautiful Langanes peninsula, watching the gannets, looking for puffins and marveling at the untouched nature and beaches full of driftwood . It was in May last year, during our 10 day round trip around Iceland, and we still talking about the day we had. Just lovely.
Langanes peninsula is in North East Iceland and going there is out of the way for most people that do the ring road. It’s a heaven for bird lovers and beach lovers (the no-bathing Icelandic kind that is) and it’s so worth visiting. Unfortunately we were a bit unlucky with the weather when we went there so we couldn’t do everything we had planned but it may have been a blessing in disguise because now we’ll always have a reason to go back.
On the map Langanes kind of looks like a bird but the only village in the peninsula is Þórshöfn. Population: 379. To reach Ytra Lón Hostel you drive through Þórshöfn further out on the peninsula passing endless beached filled with driftwood and birds. The owner of the hostel, Mirjam, is a Dutch artist (slash farmer) and was working on shifts with her husband and kids when we arrived, minding the sheep that were busy giving birth to their lambs. Like sheep do in spring. It’s not the flashiest of hostels and for those that need to be surgically removed from their smart phones it offers a welcomed (or not so welcomed) break from the internet since there’s absolutely no connection out there. But that’s what I kind of love about it.
The hostel offers an artist residency program so writers and artists that need to disconnect for a while can come and work on their creations in the beautiful surroundings. It also offers amazing day trips around the peninsula, like the one Helga and I did with Halldóra, and I cannot recommend it enough. Halldóra answered our questions patiently, there were many, and I especially enjoyed all the information about the Icelandic flora that she could offer. She took us to bird houses, abandoned farms and told us stories about the village Skálar that was abandoned in the 1950s. But the highlight was that moment in Fontur when Helga and looked at each other smilingly without saying a word.