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Eyes landed on Iceland

2016 June 19
by admin

We are writing this from the Keflavik airport, where our flight is delayed by over 3 hours, in typical WOW airlines style.  We have commandeered a corner of a cafe, and are watching the close match between Iceland and Hungary for the second time.

Since our last update, we have completed the Ring Road, and had some relaxing days in the Reykjanes Peninsula, navigating around other tourists for the first time since we left on our journey.  After dropping our fifth puffin at the airport, we enjoyed a relaxing day in the surprisingly cute town of Keflavik.  For dinner, we drove to the scenic Golden Circle area.  On our way, we stumbled upon, by way of a random gas station encounter, the Viking Festival at Fjörukráin.  It was National Day after all (June 17th) and the attendees were in full Viking regalia. Kim and I had our fortunes told, translated by a 14-year-old Philippino girl, while Cory shot arrows, and James chatted up shop-owners. Several rocks pained with iconic birds were purchased.

Continuing on, dinner was along the gorgeous Þinvallavatn Lake at the Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel.  Despite its corny name, this is one of the best restaurants in the country, and the food presentation was to die for.  The glass-walled bar was tended by an LA hipster, and our servers were mostly from the Czech Republic.  We finished the evening with a soak in our private hot-tub at the AirBnb, watching the sun/moon turn various shades of pink before setting at 4am.

The next day consisted of a long walk around the harbor area of Kevlavik, driving to Grindavik, and walking as little as possible around the harbor area there, due to the heavy rains and closed cafes.  In the time it took us to cross the peninsula, the skies had opened, the wind had roared, and we could not even open our car doors without fear of them blowing away.  We ducked into a tiny fisherman’s cafe, decorated with nets and buoys.  The menu consisted of soup, self-service with self-service coffee, but this was not just any soup.  This was Bryggjan, with the best lobster soup in the world, as we were told, with people coming from all over the world to eat it.

We struggled to find any rooms still open in this run-down town, asking around until we found ourselves in the peeling stairway of a fish factory, with screams coming from the upper floors.  We were told to wait there, until a woman come to lead us to a partially completed house, without a locking door or a completed kitchen.  We paid whatever she asked, in a combination of cash currencies.

Finally, we drove all of seven minutes to the famous Blue Lagoon, the most infamous tourist trap in the country.  Not a single Icelandic native came that day, to brave blinding winds and chilly waters.  We dodge from hot-spot to hot-spot, leaving the water only at a dash to get to the steam room or sauna.  My hair still feels stiff, like salted fish.

Today, before the airport, we did a final round of Reykjavik shopping and downed an under-whelming “natural” breakfast.  I snuck into the Reykjavik Art Museum, and James purchased an authentic Icelandic wool blanket.  We still have almost three hours of the heavily commerced airport to wait, before we bid this country with its endless fields of volcanic moss and falling water ado.  Now to “Joe & the Juice” for out last round of vegetables before a long, dehydrating flight ahead…

Our top list of Iceland includes (and not in order…):

  1. Blue whale sightings and the all-whale feeding frenzy
  2. Epic waterfalls along amazing hikes
  3. Natural baths and sulferic waters (aka Blue Lagoon and Myvatn)
  4. Glaciers floating on the iceberg lagoon
  5. Looong days and hours of sunlight
  6. Visiting the northernmost tip of the world (for us, thus far)
  7. Cooking collectively at home (omelette, eggplant pasta, risotto)
  8. Staying in cabins on farms and by the sea
  9. Dinner at the Grillmarket and lobster soup at Bryggjan
  10. Stories from old fisherman and at the Viking village
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