Visiting Langanes with Ytra Lón Hostel

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.

Fontur Lighthouse

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.

An abandoned farm in Langanes

Inside the farm – there was something so beautiful about this room

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.

Driftwood in Langanes

 

Vetrarblóm or winterflower.

A north gannet colony in Langanes – when these guys dive for fish they can reach 100 km/h

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 coast line in Langanes is spectacular

Our trusty companion

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.

Pure contentment.

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7 thoughts on “Visiting Langanes with Ytra Lón Hostel”

  1. Heather Linnett says:

    I am going to say ‘I know exactly of which you speak’ This is how your country affects me. Having had around 50 days in Iceland and on 4 different occasions, at 4 different times of the of year. I have laughed and cried at the same time. I have driven the ring road for around 18 days with a private guide, researching my own book. I visited Skogar museum where ‘MR’ Tomasson (sp) took me around himself. My guide was there as well, and while ‘MR Tomasson played the organ for me speaking to me in perfect English, I sat bawling my eyes out, hoping that ‘Á’ my guide was not looking or could not see. I am giving this ‘gentleman his English Title of MR out of my respect for him. Such a beautiful man, with the biggest heart and mind to match.

    Then sitting having picnic lunches just this Aussie woman and her guide by waterfalls, raging rivers, in lava fields, with nothing and no-one around but the 2 of us, ‘broke’ me up more than once. Then driving through the middle of Iceland – fighting with myself all the time, then the night I saw the Northern Lights altho a very low level of activity, I was sorry that this was all I would be seeing, and I wanted so much more. Then in the Westfjords, just the two of us- no-one else around, wandering around the bird cliffs, the puffins so all I needed to do was reach out to touch, absolutely stunning and took my breath away.

    The EastFjords altho perhaps not so rugged?? I was captivated. I have tried to pat every horse, and every dog, in Iceland. I’m not sure that I have succeeded, but I will be back again late this year, and I am coming for the winter, and plan to stay for a couple months, to live as a local, (kind of) and to see what you see, in everyday life. Travel a bit more, and learn or try to find out why I am so addicted to Iceland.

    However one thing I do know I will not be seeking a cure for this addiction, I will just have to keep feeding it for as long as I can.
    Thank you for your great work. Can you please tell me, I have seen this word OÐIN written like that and OÐINN. (double NN) Please can tell me briefly why this is so and which is correct. I am guessing it may have to do with your ‘case endings’ Does it matter, and is there a simple way I can know which to use. Thank you!!!! 🙂

  2. mm Auður says:

    It is a question of case endings. it’s Óðinn in the nominative case and Óðin in accusative. When we learn the cases here in Iceland we are taught words to help us determine the right case: Hér er, um, frá, til (Here is, about, from, to). Hér er Óðinn, um Óðin, frá Óðni, til Óðins. I guess you have to have a feeling for the cases to know when to use which. The prepositions often (always? not sure) control it.

    1. Heather Linnett says:

      Auður – thank you so much for your so prompt answer. I do appreciate it. :-)This is the problem I am having in my book. I want to use the Icelandic spellings, and the accents etc, present so many problems for me. I did expect it to be the case endlings, and I will likely never know how to use them.

      Oh I will ask about Langanes. Thanks for the tip

      I am trying to learn Icelandic one word at a time, and if I will live long enough – one day I will be an expert 😉
      Here go’s Þakka Þer fyrir. I hope I got that right, if not what I meant was THANK YOU VERY MUCH

  3. Sassenach (Belgium) says:

    Thank you for this nice post. I’ve been stupid! In order to catch the ferry after a 6-weeks roundtrip with my car, I drove from Kopasker to Bakkafjordur (I don’t find the Icelandic letters and accents on this keyboard 🙂 by road nr 85. I didn’t take the time to visit Langanes, thinking it would be another wonder of nature, as I had seen before during these weeks.
    And now, reading your post, I regret!!! (and finally I had to wait for the ferry for 2 days, bad timing, grmbllll!!!)
    But no worries, I’m coming back, I tell myself.

    Yes, I recognize your feeling of “tears in my eyes” and “nobody has to see it” in Iceland.
    Happily for me I didn’t hide it, I was alone. 😉

    An American I ‘ve spoken there, told me: This scenery is beyond natural”, in fact “supernatural”.
    Well, I couldn’t have said it better!
    Even the “special effects” directors and artists of ‘Lord of the Rings” couldn’t have invented the magical scenes/photography I ‘ve seen in Iceland!

    This is a great blog you have and I will (re)discover it from the beginning till the end before I travel to Iceland next time!!! 😉 Thanks!

  4. Tom Nicholson says:

    Hi,
    my wife and I are considering iceland this summer – during her spring break from school.
    Is there a time to visit Iceland when it’s warmer but not so many people visiting?
    can you proved a point of contact or two for touring? We would want to rent a vehicle and move around a lot.
    We are coming from duesseldorf, Germany

    Thanks

    Tom

  5. Tom Nicholson says:

    Sorry, that was “can you PROVIDE a point of contact?” IOW, who runs tours of Iceland out of Reykjavik?
    Thanks

    Tom

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