Sunday, June 17, 2018

Here We Go! Days 13-14 (Transitions)

Settled into our little apartment in Reykjavik after a mostly-uneventful road trip, got rid of the rental car, and went out for a night on the town! How nice to be in a city after all of that countryside!
The next day we were blessed with nice weather and sun, so we spent most of the morning/afternoon just walking the streets.
Most memorable sight was probably Hallgrímskirkja (Lutheran Church), where I tried to poke Leifur Eiríksson in the butt, earning me disappointed looks from the locals (and my wife).

Went inside and were surprised by an impromptu organ performance! Cool pipes!
Stopped for some ice cream in the cold.
Watched the world cup in the park with the neighborhood.
This is definitely one of those cities that might just be too hip for its own good.
Wendy set up a BEER TASTING where they paired six beers with a tasting menu of food. Highlight: whiskey beer float with vanilla ice cream.
A nice last day in Iceland.
The next day was cold and rainy, and we mostly just killed time until our flight. I was randomly selected for TSA screening in Iceland, then for a super heavy-duty customs interview in DC. Sheesh, welcome back!
Luckily, Jessie and Laneka were there to pick us up, feed us, and give us a place to stay.
My first American sunrise in about a year!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Here We Go! Days 10-12 (Remember the North!)

We've been out in the sticks for the last few days with no internet, so here goes our northern adventure:
Left Flateyri, drove through Anardalshamar tunnel, just drilled through a little bit of mountain.

Stopped at Litlibær farm for coffee and waffles.
In and out on fjords, back and forth, through the north territories.
To our little cottage past Akureyri.

Next day: Whale watching in Husavik, where we got to wear these sweet outfits (in which milady looks super cute).

Saw some mf'n WHALES! Humpbacks and perhaps a minke or two. Got to see some tail lobbing with a pair of whales, and some very close encounters.

Took a dip in this thermal lake. Lukewarm water, very shallow, but it was nice. There are supposedly goldfish living in this lake, but I didn't see any. Best-smelling place I've ever been, with spruce trees and a bunch of wild flowers.
Goðafoss, where the king threw all of the old gods when he decreed the switch to Christianity. Super cool rock formations and layers.
And, praise Thor, a sunny afternoon!

Next day: another whale watching tour. This time, went by Puffin Island, where we sailed through hundreds of thousands of puffins. Seriously, blow this picture up, all the black dots are puffins. 
Stopped for a sweet treat!

Jökulsárgljúfur / Vatnajökull National Park. A little hiking and bird-watching in the place where the tectonic plates meet.


This is the waterfall I've been waiting for all my life. Totally METAL, so powerful, not giving a fuck, just ruling all other waterfalls. Might look familiar to those of you who have seen the opening scene in Prometheus.

Another long drive through crazy landscape, around Mývatn lake, dinner at Vogafjós Cowshed Cafe, then bedded down for our long drive to Reykjavik the next day.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Here We Go! Days 8-9 (Flateyri will get you nowhere)

Flateyri is a tiny town with about 180 inhabitants where we spent the last two days. It's got an interesting history: apparently a center of shark fishing at one time; devastating avalanche in the 1990s. We took the last couple of days to regroup here.

A shopping trip to the nearest town took us through the Breiðadals- and Botnsheiði tunnel(s). Over 9 km long, some of it one-lane, and an INTERSECTION- like, another tunnel comes and intersects this one!
Visited The Westfjords Heritage Museum in Isafjördur for some history of the fishing industry in the area. Delicious lunch at Tjöruhúsið (lots of fish). Then back to our Flateyri for a visit to the local swimming pool, cards at the apartment.

Next day took a hike on Holt Beach through hundreds of birds. Walked around Flateyri a bit.
Took a run up this path along the fjord. Recharged for another big journey tomorrow.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Here We Go! Day 7 (A Dynjandi Day in the Westfjords)

Began the day by cleaning up the cabin and saying goodbye to Snaefellsnes. Took the ferry from Stykkishólmur to Brjánslækur, gray day, so not much to see on the 3 hour ride.  
Trundled down some dicey mountain roads through barren landscapes to Látrabjarg bird cliffs, where we saw lots of birds! And an arctic fox!
Don't go too fast!

Dynjandi waterfall on the way to our new home.
Arrival in Flateyri, a cute little town jutting out into the water. Dinner of local fish soup at Vagninn restaurant.

Our tough little Duster, living up to its name, and our intrepid driver, getting us through a pretty grueling journey today.

Through ever-changing landscapes, clouds, varying levels of pavement.

Your daily dose of flowers.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Here We Go! Day 6 (Snaefell-upagus II)

Hearty breakfast on the grill.
Stopped in Arnarstapi: This is that half-troll Bárður I was talking about yesterday. What a grumpus!

Gatklettur: super cold wind!
Milady on the stone bridge.
Pissed off these seagulls.
More flowers!
On to Saxhóll volcanic crater.
387 steps up, 387 steps down.
Kirkjufellsfoss (how many gorgeous waterfalls can one country have? Probably a whole lot.)

Kirkjufell Mountain
Soaked in Lýsuhólslaug hot spring pool (with healing minerals and algae), and headed back to the cabin to plan the next leg: on to the Westfjords tomorrow!

Here We Go! Day 5 (Snaefell-upagus)

After a good, hearty breakfast, we set out to explore Snæfellsnes Peninsula. First stop, Ytri Tunga to see some seals playing around in the ocean.

Hiked up to Bjarnarfoss: the approach was like something out of Tolkien.

Took a nice long walk around Búðakirkja, this black church, and down to Búða beach.
Picnic lunch near Laugarbrekka farm (where a half-troll named Bárður Snæfellsás used to live until he got sick of humans and lost himself in the nearby glacier/volcano). This statue is of Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, who was born on the farm and traveled all around Europe and north America back in the day. The baby is Snorri (seriously), her son and apparently the first Caucasian born in America (in Vinland, Canada).

Some bird-watching near Londrangar, some rocks that look like a viking ship.
Lots of cool little flowers on our treks today.

Cooked up some tacos on the grill in the freezing wind, made a great meal to end the day.