Iceland & Greenland Adventures - Part IIAuthor: Linda V. (More Trip Reviews by Linda V.)
Date of Trip: July 2005
Moved on down the road and saw lots more waterfalls but didn't stop at all of them. We came to Skogarfoss. What a great place that was also. It's kind of a wider waterfall that emptied down the mountain (and managed to spray us pretty good). Fools that we are, we climbed the stairs to the top of the falls for a different view. I'm out of shape. Huffed and puffed but finally made it. We could see the river flowing along the ridge and emptying down the mountain.
Continued on and then stopped at Dyrhólaey. We had great views of the bird life on cliffs that overlooked the black sand beach. A few tour buses stopped there for maybe 2 minutes. We were there nearly an hour. You could see the peaks of Reynisdrangar (the troll rocks) off in the distance. I sat on the cliffs watching the kittiwakes and puffins flying back to their nests and feeding in the ocean. I tried getting close to a puffin nest, but they burrow into the mountain and were hidden from my watchful eyes as I snaked my way along the edge of the cliff. I had to be careful not to trip, because there were huge holes in the ground covered by grass. We drove up the nearby hill to the lighthouse and saw the big arch and some more stunning views of the mountains.
Onward to Vik. We filled up with gas (3900 ISK or $50+). We had dinner at a cute little restaurant in town called Halldórskaffi. We almost made the mistake of eating at the Esso cafeteria. Thank goodness we consulted our Lonely Planet guidebook for recommendations first. I had a marguerita pizza and a diet coke (1020 ISK). The pizza was great. Nina was very excited - she got to have puffin. She said it tasted like a cross between tuna and smoked turkey. Poor little puffin! There was a group of around 20 people at the restaurant that began singing loudly - must have been Icelandic tunes. They all had the music sheets to follow along. We clapped, but after 2nd song we wanted to change the station. They were having fun. Perhaps they were part of a choir or something.
We drove down to the beach area and spent time walking along the black sand, admiring the sea birds and enjoying the area. We had great views of Reynisdrangar. Nina scaled some cliffs and waded into the ocean. I kept my parka on. As we started to drive away, Nina noticed her wedding ring was missing. She had it in the bathroom at the restaurant and thought she may have lost it at the beach. She searched her clothes, purse, car, and parking lot. We retraced our steps along the beach for about an hour, but no luck. She was so depressed and we felt terrible for her. Nina is a newlywed and had designed the ring and was crushed. She checked back at the restaurant, but still no luck. We were a quiet group as we headed back to Reykjavik at 10:15. About an hour later, Nina exclaimed, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" She found her ring. It somehow got stuck in her pants legs (she was wearing polar fleece leggings). We all cheered. The mood in the car lifted, and we made it back to the hotel at 12:45.
We ran into Arni as we were entering the hotel and chatted with him a bit. He gave us some advice for tomorrow's adventures. Stay tuned...
Thursday; July 14, 2005 Vacation - Day 16 Reykjavik & the Reykjanes Peninsula
I woke up with the sun beating through the curtains. This was our first day of blue skies in Iceland, and it was so beautiful. It was warm! Took photos from our balcony and didn't have to rush anywhere for a change.
We went to a little café for breakfast that had teapots everywhere. I had a chocolate chocolate chip muffin. We walked around a bit and asked at the tourist office about the location of the Phallicological Museum. Bummer! It moved to Akureyi. Everyone was too embarrassed to ask. So I went up there and said, "My friends want to know..."
I called Dennis at the dog sledding place to make reservations for tomorrow. They were booked, but told me to call back in 5 minutes. He was going to check for cancellations. Yeah! He was able to get us in for the noon ride tomorrow. Hope we'll be able to find our way there! We made periodic stops at the car all morning long to continually feed the meter. We could have parked a couple more blocks away in the residential area and not worry about meters. Next time...
We headed to the church - Hallgrimskirkja. It's best seen on a blue sky day. We took the elevator to the top for great views of the city. Checked out the inside of the church and ran into Angelika (Renee's roomie on the boat). She was getting ready to fly home. I stopped at the cheapie store and bought two Viking hats for me and Nina (400 ISK each). We are so cool! Then we ate yet again at 1:30 at the bakery. Ham & cheese for me.
It was finally time to hit the road for our drive around the Reykjanes Peninsula area and to the Blue Lagoon. Renee did the driving. We took Arni's advice and drove to the Krisavik region and Lake Kleifarvatn. The area was so cool. It was full of huge volcanic mountains with the blue lake and dark sand beach down below. We walked down to the water and took some goofy pictures with our cool Viking hats. We stopped at a beautiful pasture with a bunch of cute horses grazing. The Icelandic horses are adorable. Next stop was the stinky sulfur area, Selún Hot Springs, full of boiling mud pots and steam vents. The earth just seems so alive here. We hiked around for awhile. We then continued on toward Grindavik. Unfortunately the road wasn't paved. The landscape consisted of lava rocks everywhere - kinda like we were on the moon. It's so amazing - nothing but lava rocks as far as the eye can see. Our vehicle started acting up - the light came on for "check exhaust". The book said to take it in for service asap. We were very worried but drove on to the Blue Lagoon. (Heck we were in the middle of nowhere.) I called Avis, and the representative told me to check the oil and water. If they are fine, then it is probably just the light malfunctioning. That didn't give us much comfort. Yes, the oil and water were fine.
We did our thing at the Blue Lagoon. What a great place. The water was an unusual powdery blue color with steam rising off it. It was set in black lava rock and wasn't too crowded. We paid our entrance fee (1400 + 300 ISK for a towel). We got our locker keys and went to the changing room. You have to shower before going in. We Americans are all shy and shower with our bathing suits on. The other women parade around naked. I was expecting the Blue Lagoon to smell sulfury, but it didn't - thank goodness. The water was a really comfortable temperature, so we all hopped in. I had read there was a gross sludge in the bottom of the pool, but it was nice. On the far side, we found some gross sludgy stuff. When you scooped it up, it had hair and stuff in it - ewwwwh! We didn't stay in that area long. Darlene got a massage. They actually give it to you in the water. Afterwards, Darlene said it wasn't much of a massage - they just rubbed the silica mud on her. We all gave ourselves silica masks. It made your skin feel really soft. We stayed at the Blue Lagoon for nearly 2½ hours. Great place. I got out and tried to wash the crap out of my hair. Gross - it still feels disgusting. I tried not to get my hair wet, but there was a cool waterfall I had to go under. All that silica gets stuck in your hair. I dumped tons of conditioner on my hair and tried to get a comb through.
We had planned to go to Grindavik for dinner, but it was already 9:00, so we came back to Reykjavik. I drove, and the car seemed to do okay, but the idiot light is still on. We ate at Pasta Basta, and I had a meaty spaghetti Bolognese.
Nina, Renee and I dashed down to the waterfront because the sky was an incredible pink color. We had to take an evening picture of the sculpture in the harbor. Gorgeous. Stopped at the 11/11 store and picked up breakfast goodies. We're out the door at 8:00 tomorrow!
Friday; July 15, 2005 Vacation - Day 17 Reykjavik - Dog Sledding Day
We got up early as planned and tried to get on the road at 8:00, but it was more like 8:30. Hey, better than usual. We ran into Arni on our way out, and I confirmed the route we were planning to take to Jaki. He agreed we should take the ring road and go through the tunnel, travel to Borganes and then head to Husafell. He was very concerned since we still don't have a very good map. (Okay, it's a piece of crap.) Arni is great - at least someone will notice if we go missing! On the way out of town we stopped at a gas station, but they were out of maps. Bummer! We braved our way sans decent map. Yippee! The "check exhaust" light is gone.
It was a pretty drive. Unfortunately it was gray and rainy out. Can't be perfect every day...
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