Day Six: Ekra Cottage/ Lagarfljótsvirkjun to Höfn
Follow the yellow stick road|
All driving photos and video courtesy of Dan: I was busy driving and ogling|
A herd of wild reindeer!|
Our halfway point was Djúpivogur which houses a collection of giant roadside marble eggs, each one fashioned after a particular type of bird's egg.
We arrived in Höfn and checked out the harbor and the free museum (a welcome respite from the windy harbor) before checking into our guesthouse. Which we had all to ourselves. We made one last meal of fusilli and bell pepper (fusilli meal #4 for the trip for those keeping track - I'll be taking a good long break from fusilli now) and read. I found a left-behind copy of The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and adopted it. This grisly and yet light-hearted page-turner was perfect for the end of the trip and the flight home.
We got to see even more northern lights that night! (if you're rolling your eyes by this point because these posts seem like one giant braggy list, I feel you. But that's just Iceland: it will overwhelm you with amazingness).
Day Seven: Höfn to Reykjavík
The blue to the left is part of the glacier|
We descended on Reykjavík for our final 24 hours in Iceland, checked into our fabulously posh hotel (bonus of travel in midwinter: prices are a quarter of what they are in summer) and set out. As much as I had grown to deeply appreciate our rental car (a Skoda Octavia, something we don't even have here in the States) I was thrilled to be free from driving and employ my well-developed walking-about-town skills.
We brunched at Cafe Paris and then headed to what might be my very favorite part of Reykjavík: Tjörnin pond. This giant pond is mostly frozen in the winter, but part of is always kept thawed by geothermal heat so that the birds have a spot for swimming. It exudes charm and the greylag geese and whooper swans that inhabit it are quite the welcome committee.
The lake, in all its glory|
The Puzzle - The view was captured from inside the tower|
The Church tower|
The view from inside the tower|
We wandered through the shopping district and I was again reminded by how much more prolific the mid-winter tourism industry had become since my first visit five years ago. We had the most delicious dinner of our trip (mine had chickpea fritters and tons of veggies...which I know is not Icelandic but was seriously amazing and I enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast the next day). We wandered around in the rain some more afterward (not a super easy thing to do on their icy-sloshy sidewalks) and ended up at Stofan Cafe which housed knitters when I was there last, but now is home to many board games which several groups were busy playing.
The 3D model of Iceland housed inside city hall, which abuts my favorite pondThis trip gave me soooooo much more context for the country beyond Reykjavik
We had a drink at our hotel bar before turning in and tried desperately to avoid getting pulled into conversation by the gaggle in the corner, one of whom was busy expounding upon how impressive Trump is. An enormous part of the charm of the trip was being in a place with a leader you can respect, ample social services, a lack of gun violence...the list goes on and on of the sharp contrast with our US reality. We knew we'd have to return to it eventually but that night we just drank our wine really fast and jetted from the bar to avoid it.
Players names in itty bitty tiny font along the base of the monument|
Eve Online monument....if you know what it signifies let me know!|
After a lot of careful ice-slush walking (amounting to a combo of ice skating and a constantly engaged core awaiting a spill) and exploring, we ended up finding a couple of cats hanging out in the main part of town. On my last visit I was particularly impressed with the hearty little felines I met and I'd been hoping to run into some this visit. One was very wisely camped out inside a store featuring reindeer tours - apparently he just lets himself in and hangs out.
We finished our final hour in the city at the lake again. It was powerfully sunny by then and a whole pack of schoolchildren (first grade maybe?) were there to feed the birds, many of whom were the same height as the schoolchildren. It was an exceptionally charming way to end our visit.
I have enjoyed living in this re-write of the trip and lingering over the photos again. It's fuel for my soul and my imagination. Hope it illuminated a little bit of all that is incredible about Iceland. I can't wait to return.
Happy Christin in Iceland|