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Akranes is the town closest to Hvalfjarðargöng or Whale bay tunnel, before you reach Borgarnes. There used to be a ferry crossing the bay between Reykjavík and Akranes, so I went here often just for the ride.
There is a very popular beach in Akranes, called Langisandur, or Long sands. It is very different from the shore line in Reykjavik as the sands are golden here, they are black in Reykjavík. Here one gets the feeling of being in Spain, i.e. on hot sunny days. The ocean is way colder though than in Spain.
But it is a beautiful area and the outside showers are hot, so there is a warm river leading to the ocean, which is so lovely.
Updated Sep 12, 2012
On hot sunny days, of which we are getting more and more here in Iceland due to global warming, then it has become a pastime to jump from bridges into the cold ocean.
In Borgarnes I watched a boy jump again and again into the ocean. One can see him in the ocean under the bridge on my first photo. That day the ocean was very calm and he was also floating boats on the calm ocean, which was lovely to watch. But the weather here can change in a jiffy and that calm Atlantic ocean can turn into a roaring beast.
There are groups here in Iceland which swim in the cold ocean by Reykjavík. It is considered to be very healthy. I might give it a try one day...
Updated Sep 12, 2012
The Viking settler Skalla-Grímur Kveldúlfsson settled in Borgarfjörður and built a home at Borg in Mýrar. His son, Egill Skallagrímsson, one of Iceland's well-known Vikings, lived at Borg after Skalla-Grímur died.
On top of the hill above Borg is one of 9 cairns which are placed at Saga places of interest. There is a trail from the left side of the church leading up to the hill and the chairn.
The church at Borg dates back to 1880. There has been a church at Borg since 1003 and it was dedicated to Archangel Michael.
By Borg stands a black sculpture by Ásmundur Sveinsson, called Sonartorrek, which is a poem Egill Skallagrímsson wrote when he lost his sons.
Updated Oct 2, 2010
Address: Borg á Mýrum, 311 Borgarnes
Skalla-Grímur Kveldúlfsson was one of the Norwegian settlers in Iceland and had been ordered by his father, Kveld-Úlfur, to take up habitation in Iceland where his father's coffin would land. The coffin landed in Borgarnes and there Skalla-Grímur made a home and lived at Borg in Mýrar just outside of Borgarnes. His son was Egill Skallagrímsson (910-990), one of the most known Vikings and poets at this time. His story is depicted in The Saga of Egill.
In Skalla-Grímur park is the burial-mound of Skalla-Grímur Kveldúlfsson and his grand-son Böðvar, the son of Egill Skallagrímsson, is buried there with him. Egill had the burial-mound of his father reopened and buried Böðvar, who was only a teenager when he drowned, with his grandfather. Skalla-Grímur had died of an unknown disease and drawings by the mound show how he was buried with his horse and weapons and tools.
The ornamental park is a park built around the mound, with a monument of Egill Skallagrímsson carrying his drowned son Böðvar home on a horse, an astounding work (see my picture) by Anne-Marie Carl-Nielsen, which was donated to Iceland in 1963.
There is a statue in the garden called "Óðinshrafninn" The raven of Óðinn by the sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson and a lovely fountain.
Visiting the ornamental park is "a must" when visiting Borgarnes. Reading The Saga of Egill is recommended ;)
There are 9 cairns in and around Borgarnes placed at Saga-places of interest. The cairn by The Skalla-Grímur park is nr. 3, the cairn by Brákarsund strait (see my next tip) is nr. 2. Then there are 7 left...
Updated Oct 2, 2010
Address: Borgarbraut/Brákarbraut, Borgarnes, West-Iceland
Skalla-Grímur Kveldúlfsson had a bond-maid named Þorgerður Brák. She had been the nanny and foster-mother to Egill the son of Skalla-Grímur and is described as big and strong as a man and skilled in magical arts.
One day in winter time when Egill was 11 years old Skalla-Grímur was playing a ball-game at Borg with Egill and his friend, Þórður Granason. At first the boys were winning but later on in the evening Skalla-Grímur got really strong and and grabbed Þórður and tossed him onto the ground with such force that Þórður died. He then went after his own son, Egill. Þorgerður Brák was watching the game and said: "Hamask þú nú, Skalla-Grímr, at syni þínum", yes, she said that ;) It roughly translated means if Skalla-Grímur is now going to attack his own son. Skalla-Grímur got so angry that he let loose Egill and tried to grab Þorgerður Brák, but she ran and he chased her down to the ocean where she jumped from a cliff into the ocean trying to reach the island outside of Borgarnes, now called Brákarey island. Skalla-Grímur threw a big rock at her with such great force that Þorgerður Brák didn't resurface. Since that time the strait where she drowned is called Brákarsund - Brákar strait.
There is now a monument "Brákin" in remembrance of Þorgerður Brák and her ill fate.
Brákarey island is off the shore of Borgarnes and is now connected to land with a bridge. The islands was named after Þorgerður Brák and so is the street Brákarbraut where she ran while trying to escape from the mad Skalla-Grímur.
At The Settlement center behind the monument Brákin there is a play, a monologue, on Þorgerður Brák and on the story of the bond-women the settlers carried with them to Iceland. At The Settlement center you can learn all about Egill Skallagrímsson and his story, well, reading The Saga of Egill is strongly recommended as well ;) I add the link to The Settlement center. From there you can get guided tours to Borg in Mýrar and around the places of The Saga of Egill. The places of interest are marked with 9 cairns, cairn nr. 2 is located by Brákarsund strait and cairn nr. 3 by Skalla-Grím's burial mound. You can see on the website of The Settlement center where the other 7 are located.
Updated Nov 15, 2008
Address: By Brákarbraut, 310 Borgarnes, West-Iceland
Borgarnes is easily reachable by car during a daytrip and sunlight. It is a cosy and quite small fisherman town in the western coast of Iceland. The tranquility is almost unbelieavable.
You can find some museums in the town, as well as a souvenir shop and a restaurant/cafe (Veitinger) offering cakes and salty pies and two soups of the day (including salad, water and bread).
Updated Aug 28, 2007
This local place in a one family house is offering cakes and salty pies to accompny your coffee, and additionally two alternative soups of the day to choose from (including salad, water and bread).
You can eat as much soup as you like at the fixed price.
Favorite Dish: That day there was carrot and meat soup; with meat soup being more expensive.
I took the carrot soup as it seemed to be so different from those what I've seen in most of the places. This was no vegeterian super light nonsense, but thick enough, dark and tasty. Spices or herbs had been used.
Updated Aug 28, 2007