Borgarnes is the centre of commerce for much of the western part of Iceland. It exists primarily to supply services to farms in the region, to the owners of summerhouses along the coast and to people travelling between Reykjavik and Akureyri. To reach Borgarnes, drivers usually pass through a 5.8km-long tunnel under a fjord and then cross the second longest bridge in Iceland.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We didn’t give the town more than a cursory glance, but carried on along the highway for another kilometre watching for the sign for ‘Bjarg’. The farm was well marked and we turned onto a gravel road and within a few moments the striking farmhouse came into view. We had read that the guesthouse is being run by the third generation of the same family to live on the land. The former cow shed and sheep shed have been converted into comfortable accommodations, highly recommended by the Lonely Planet. There were a few other cars in the driveway and our hearts sank not knowing how many rooms they offered.
I set off on my own to find the reception, and passed by a window in the largest building and saw the family seated for their evening meal. A young woman waved me on to the door and met me warmly as I entered. I think she was as delighted to have a surprise guest, as I was to find they had a room for us. We were assigned to the former sheep shed, to a room named after a former pet lamb named Móra.
I was given a key and the woman returned to her dinner. I waved to Anil to bring the luggage, and entered the door of the shed not knowing what I would find. We’ve come to rely on the advice of the Lonely Planet, but the highly recommended guesthouses are often full if one doesn’t book ahead. Thank goodness we were travelling in the off-season, otherwise we never would have had the chance to enjoy the delightful Bjarg.
We stepped into a warm, wood-paneled kitchen stocked with everything one would want for a comfortable stay. There were three rooms off the kitchen, each with two single beds and a set of bunk beds. The rooms also contained a small table and two chairs and had immaculate bedding and modern lighting. There was even a flat screen television mounted on the wall near the window.
The three rooms shared a shower and a separate toilet and everything was done up with what I would call homey little touches that warmed the heart. There was even a small professionally done album placed on the desk that answered all the FAQ’s that might come to mind and provided a history of the farm and the family. It was here that I learned about the pet lamb Móra, who acted more like a member of the family than a member of the flock of sheep.
We prepared a light meal for ourselves, checked our email on the wireless network with its fast connection and settled in for a comfortable sleep. I remember thinking how nice it was that we were the only guests in the sheep shed that night, as it would be hard to share the kitchen and the bathroom facilities if all the beds in the three rooms were filled to capacity.
The next morning we arrived for breakfast in the former barn, and found we were on our own. The other guests had eaten earlier, so we had our hostess for company. She had laid out a tempting array of breakfast foods and the coffee was hot and aromatic. There were small tea lights glimmering on each of the dozen IKEA-style tables in the dining room. It was clear that a lot of love and attention to detail had gone into the renovations.
I had read about the family but our hostess answered my questions about the recent additions to the guesthouse and her plans for the future. She told me that she rarely puts more than two families into the adjoining rooms and that she too shared my concerns about overcrowding. She has four young children to raise, in addition to running the guesthouse, but so far she is loving the challenge and she realizes that once the summer is over, there is time to focus on other chores and the children’s education.
We were so taken with the guesthouse and the setting overlooking the sheltered bay; that we would have loved to stay longer. I looked for the Bjarg on the TripAdvisor website so that we could add a review, but it wasn’t listed. Pity. It was only then that I dug a little deeper and learned that it was possible to request the site to add the guesthouse so that we could be the first people to write a review.
A couple of days later, it was up and ready. Anil wrote the review and I added several photos that I had taken. We were only too happy to share our experience with other travellers and hopefully promote this fine woman’s guesthouse in a very positive way. If we had longer that a week in Iceland, we would have been sure to stop at the Bjarg on our way back from the north coast.