Majestic Vistas and Beautiful Bird Cliffs

(Note: I wrote this last night but the wifi connection I was using kicked me off just before I could send it. Now I’m on a three hour ferry with a wifi hotspot! So I’m posting it a day late.)
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The water was absolutely still when I left Isafjordur this morning. And most of last night’s revelers seemed still to be in bed. So I had the roads mostly to myself. Which was a good thing, given how steep, narrow, and rough they were.

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I finally got a picture inside one of the tunnels while waiting for an oncoming car to pass. But mostly it just looks dark.

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For most of the drive through the fjords the road was dirt. And there were a few times when my trusty little Skoda struggled to keep traction on a steep and rutted switchback. But the views were absolutely worth it.

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On many of the mountain passes there are small emergency huts for travelers who find themselves trapped on the road in inclement weather. I am not sure, but I think this might be one of those huts.
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My ultimate destination was the incredible bird cliffs of Latrabjarg, at the most westerly point in Europe (not counting the Azores). But I stretched my legs at a few scenic detours along the way.

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The final road to Latrabjarg was even worse than the others, a teeth-chattering ride. But I was determined to see puffins up close and personal. And those quirky birds did not disappoint!
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They let you get so close you could probably pick them up, but they hang out at the very edge of the thousand foot cliffs, so you’d be taking your life in your own hands if you tried it (I didn’t).

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The first thing that assails you as you step out of your car is the noise. Guillemots, puffins, razorbills, fulmars and kittiwakes all screaming into the breeze.

The second thing that assails you is the stench of guano.

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I walked along the top of the cliffs for a few miles, following the jagged edges of land as they jutted out above the sea.
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But seeing the puffins was a definite highlight of the trip.

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7 Responses to Majestic Vistas and Beautiful Bird Cliffs

  1. charmedbylove says:

    great photos there!

  2. Lovely! Oh to see Puffins….!

  3. Oh the puffins! I’ve always adored those goofy birds… But really, it’s the vistas, the sweeping bluffs and cliffs that have me entranced. Such gorgeous shots Jane!

  4. Greg says:

    Rough order of magnitude, how many puffins do you think were living there? (Quite a few, I gather.) And how many days out would this be from Reykjavik, if you’d done it as a straight-shot? Nice pix as always!

    • Hey Greg! You could definitely get from Reykjavik to the bird cliffs in a day. But it would be a really really long day. I’ll try to ask exactly how long it would take at one of the info centers because I was traveling from the north so I don’t really have an accurate idea. It’s not the distance so much as the slow speed around those mountain passes and on the dirt.

      As for the puffins, I couldn’t actually see all that many while I was there. From what I’ve read, they go out to sea for the day and come back to sleep at night. And I was there in the late afternoon. But the books I’m reading say that as many as six million puffins breed in Iceland. And while Latrabjarg is not the largest puffin colony in The country, it’s still pretty big! So…tens of thousands at least?

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