Iceland – Day 7

Day 7 (June 27th)

Click here for the Google Map (then zoom out, and click on "Hybrid" in the upper right, Google Maps lacks data for much of Iceland).

Finally I am caught up more or less with where we are on the green land called Iceland.  Sleep was short, rising at 7:20 a.m.  I shaved slowly and then eased myself into the tiny shower (relative to my almost 2 m. frame) more or less on auto pilot owing to the fog of the previous night’s feast.  Eastward crossing the Skjalfandafljot River past Laugar to our new inn, relatively close, called Narfastadir, where we will be for the next two nights.  Quickly we were on the road again toward Lake Myvatn, one of the most geologically active area in Iceland.

Our first stop was at Goðafoss falls on the Skjálfandafljót river.  According to the Saga of Christianity the formerly pagan chieftain Thorgeir threw the wooden images of the pagan gods into the waterfall after Christianity had been accepted in the year 1000. Thus the name of the waterfall, The Waterfall of the Gods, was derived from this event.

Lunch was a surprise at the Vogafjós Cafe on the lake.  R200706271321071344
The "Cow shed" Cafe is half cafe, half, well… cow shed.  There is a glass partition between the "patrons" and the "resident" and it is the latter whom are milked twice a day at 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.  But the oddest thing was our arrival and going into the restaurant…. we were greeted by two quite affectionate (and domesticated) small sheep.  Lambs I suspect, not being a sheep person.  They were about the size of my Border Collie "Lola" and would have been quite the prize for her.  The lambs tried to stand up on my leg, obviously begging for food.  Their appearance was quite sudden and caught Steve off guard as to what was happening initially.  Later as we dined inside on some "meat soup" (a cousin I surmise) they were outside by the outdoor tables.  R200706271410141346
Some restaurants have birds to pick up crumbs… this one has sheep.  I should mention that the temperature has dropped over the last few days to all of 4 degrees C (39 deg. F) with a stiff wind.  So I was working inside on my notebook and on a piece of Icelandic carrot cake (more like a spice cake here).

We circled north in a loop from our hotel to the Tjörnes peninsula via Dettifoss falls first passing Mývatn.  There was an eerie fog on the water as we passed.  The road to Dettifoss was much (MUCH) rougher than I thought it would be and over the Mars-like landscape, dotted with some extraterrestrial plants.  R200706271728391412
It was misting when we arrived at the granular, black sand-like parking lot, and had about a 800 m. walk to the falls in progressively heavier mist. 
I had foolishly left my gloves at the new hotel, along with my water proof pants.  Steve had his gloves, but was in blue jeans, and worse of than I in my synthetic pants.  We got doused by the massive waterfall and the wind.  A biting, cold wind it was too.  I think I left my rain slicker for my digital camera in Austin by mistake, so I just took the HD video camera (Canon XH-A1) as I had a rain slicker for it.  With head down, right hand pressed gloveless inside the HD cam cover, and my left hand jammed in my pocket.  R200706271612031350editeditThe falls were noisy and I am sure on a clear day, spectacular.  However today we were getting soaked in cold plume spray by the frigid wind.  A few quick shots with the video and then I did an "I was here" shot with my Canon SD800 and 15 seconds of video (which I will post shortly).  We wrapped up, shook and dried off as best that we could, and headed north on our very narrow, wash board, wet & slippery dirt track toward the Tjörnes peninsula and dinner in Husavik.

There are 50 m. cliffs along the eastern edge of the Tjörnes peninsula and as that tapered to a low plain at the north terminus of the peninsula we found the remains of turf house from the 1800’s. 
It was a hard life, a cold life, on the beach at 66 degrees north.  The water here is averages about 4 deg. C.  A few million years ago it was 12 deg. or warmer evidenced by the fossil record here.  R200706272013411357
We were ready for some warmer water too, and headed on the Husavik to the Gamli Baukur restaurant.  The building appeared to be half a whale watching enterprise, a large one at that with three nice looking wooden vessels just opposite the building in the harbor.  The other half of the building was our restaurant.  Grilled cod with potatoes and vegetables, preceded by some tomato soup, an average Californian chardonnay, and it was $150.  Double the cost of what I think is "normal".  I still can’t get used to it.