Our favorite place in Iceland was Búðir. It’s on the southern edge of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which juts out from the central western coast. The name means “camp,” and reflects the limited extent that humans have altered the place. (That ð is called an eth and is pronounced “th”.)

From Snæfellsvegur, which translates to snow-mountain-road and sounds so much more adventurous than Highway 54, we could just barely see the dark speck of Búðakirkja. The little black chapel with bright white windows is set just back from where the Búðahraun lava field merges with the sand beach. We hadn’t passed a car on the road in the last 30 miles and we felt like the only people in the world while wandering between the jagged lava and grassy mounds of sand.

Sadly, we were running out of daylight and still had several hours of driving between there and our bed, so we only stayed an hour and didn’t stray far from the beach. I can hardly bear to read the descriptions others have written about the long winding trails through the lava fields. But that hour was absolute bliss.