Day 3 (June 23)
It’s fitting that this is the place where the great rift in the
mid-Atlantic ridge surfaces. A point at which the continents are being
driven further apart by dynamic forces beneath us. Forces that in our
terms, have little consequence, for the most part, in the span of time
that we as living organisms can even comprehend. But I am here. Out of
the big city. At first we were like space aliens looking trying to
figure out the populace. We did not know what a grocery store would
really look like, a good idea, but no names or styles. Then we saw it,
a big pink pig, BIG PINK PIG, with flags flying all about it. It has what
appears to be a slot in the graphic, like a "piggy bank"… and the
words BONUS next to it. Some bananas, raisins, cookies and we were set.
We headed inland for Þingvellir
and the Öxarárfoss falls, a place where Mother Earth spreads her wings
(left image). Albeit it at 1-5mm a year. Given time, it’s
significant, so best to buy property that spans the divide, it will be
good for your 10 great grand children. Meanwhile, it has a nice
My second night on this new land was near the
settlement of Borgarnes in the southwest. A little inn call Ensku
husin, simple room, private bath, dinner for two with wine (and one for
"inventory") ran up a $145 tab. This
was not Argentina. However the place had wi-fi and sat on a beautiful
river with a waterfall (these I am finding are ubiquitous in Iceland).
After dinner we drove the coast for a few hours looking eternally for
the right place and the right light. I know this seems nuts, but if
one does it enough, it really does work… you find it when it finds
you. I have pictures to prove it!
Day 2 (June 22)
I am in Iceland. More information will come later this morning. Or
perhaps day four. Is that today? Between sensory deprivation and
subsequent overload on the journey here, to this point in the earth, I am not so sure anymore.
So with our late arrival, by the time we had cleared customs and
immigration, and packed up the 4×4 we rented, a Mitsubishi Pajero (sort
of like a Montero in the USA)… it was almost noon. We headed west
out the peninsula from Keflavik Airport through the towns of Sandgerdi
and Gardur. The act was not so much as we knew where we were going as
we wanted to immediately get the feel of the land, and that meant not
driving into the city of Reykjavik immediately. It was cool and dry
when we departed overland. The first thing I noticed was the staggering
quantity of flowering lupine. A few plants in Colorado were always
appreciated, but I have never seen vast fields of the beautiful bluish
the way back into Reykjavik we were both famished with the thought of
the long ago, smallish and not so tasty meal of Iceland Air… and no
breakfast service whatsoever.
So we did the unthinkable and stopped at Taco Bell for some Gorditas and a diet Pepsi.
It wasn’t the rotten shark and "special" dishes I had read about made
from all the parts of a lamb, but it was quick and I was fading faster
than the memory of the food.
We found our room a few minutes later at
the Hotel Loftleidir (and Iceland Air hotel!) next to the old airport
in Reykjavik. For three hours that afternoon, the world stopped, sleep
came like a great drug at a hospital. I embraced it.
After reviving now it seems on Day 2.5 we headed to downtown Reykjavik
to the main drag. A drag it is… the locals on Friday night are
cruising the place looking for interaction. Dinner was at a nice
little trattoria that had a real pizza oven. Steve and I had garlic
bread as a starter (which looked very much like a pizza) and I had Monk
fish. This was also our first real introduction to Icelandic prices.
We learned that tipping was NOT the custom as prices were already so
high, and that everyone was well compensated. Here is the bill from the first evening, you can divide by 63 or so to get USD.
Still marveling at the late evening light, it was now 10 p.m., we
headed to the port where we stumbled upon the Hamborgarabullan
(hamburger joint) that was mentioned in the Washington Post in
mid-May. They even had a sign in the parking lot declaring that the
place was now "famous." It was in fact closed at 10 p.m. on Friday
night, but the fellow who came out the door kindly said we could park
next to the joint. There in the port we discovered four old, rotting
They seemed just a few decades of rot away from the state of the PETREL
in Grytviken, South Georgia Island, so many miles to the south.
Another round of photos… then off to the tip of the peninsula which
protects Reykjavik’s harbor. Sunset
was not cooperating with the clouds above us, but we had a thin line at
the horizon that kept us intrigued from our dead end road. Mind you,
it was 11:15 p.m. and people were still out jogging, bicycling,
walking… not many, but they were there. The sunset eluded us, but I
took photos anyway, after all, it was day 2.5 of our new journey in the
Day 1 (June 21)
My Delta flight from Austin to JFK was only an hour late. Plenty of
time to arrive well before my friend Steve Ginn came in from Beaverton,
Oregons (see sginn.com)
whom I would be traveling with the next two weeks. Iceland Air was
three hours on the tarmac at JKF International Airport, 70th in a line
of 120. The pilot informed us that he could not ask how long it would
be before we could take off as the pilot of the last plane to ask was
summarily told that he would be LAST if he asked again. So
we ate dinner and watched a movie, then, mercifully, we took off just
over 3 hours late. Perhaps I slept an hour, perhaps two. Awakening to a glimpse of Greenland below the wing and engine.
I was lucky, as I was in the front exit row with ample leg room, albeit
the narrowest seats I can recall.