Pictures of Iceland: February 2007
I took a trip to Iceland from 13 - 20 February, 2007, with my friend Bastiaan. Note: In the photo descriptions I have written 'þ' and 'Ð/ð' as 'th' and removed all accents.
Before we even left the airport there was an adventure when a drug-sniffing dog targeted Bastiaan and he was whisked away for further questioning. The customs agents released him, but not before breaking the photo page out of his passport. The passport had been almost broken, but their rough handling invalidated it.
Bastiaan spent the morning of the 14th replacing his passport with a laissez passer which ended up confusing the ticket agent more than his broken passport when we actually attempted to leave.
The rest of the 14th we stayed in Reykjavík, where I tasted skyr and kleinnur. Since it was þorri, I thought I would try some þorramatur, namely hákarl. While it was not very tasty, it was nowhere near as bad as has been suggested. I viewed the medieval manuscript collection at the Culture House and also saw the permanent exhibit and an exhibition on fabrics at the National Museum.
On the 15th we drove through the 5 km tunnel north of Reykjavík to Borgarnes and saw an exhibition at the Settlement Centre. From there we detoured to Reykholt to view Snorrastofa, the cultural and medieval centre. We also stopped briefly in Búðardalur. That night we stayed in a guesthouse, þurranes. We ate at a café attached to a nearby gas station, which offered nothing but hamburgers and closed at 18:00. We were the only visitors, so the speaker system went to waste.
On the 16th we went to the Westfjords, where we tried to reach Dynjandi waterfall. Unfortunately we were not equipped with snow tires, so we had to turn back at Tröllaháls. On the way back we stopped at a gas station and saw the woman who had been our hostess the previous night. We went back to Búðardalur and took the 59 across to rejoin the 1. We stayed at a guesthouse in Hvammstangi.
Bastiaan woke up on Saturday the 17th with a flu. While he stayed in bed, I took a short hike up the hill behind the church in Hvammstangi, and later drove to Blönduós.
On the 18th we drove back toward Reykjavík, stopping along the way to climb up to the Grábrók crater. It was a short trip, so we took the 36 east to þingvallir National Park where we saw the site of the first general assembly and looked at a waterfall. We drove around the north and east sides of lake þingvallavatn, then rejoined route 1 to the south, near Selfoss. We continued east and looked at another waterfall; I walked behind it to get some nice photos. Then we went to the south finger of the Mýrdals glacier before returning to Selfoss for the night. This was not our first choice, but it seemed that every hotel we saw had only seasonal accommodation. I did get a chance to try Brennivín, which was probably the worst thing I consumed during the trip.
The next day (Monday, 19 February) we drove through Reykjavík to the Blue Lagoon spa, located near Grindavík, south and west of the capitol. I enjoyed the waters. In fact, I enjoyed all the water in Iceland, except the stuff which was raining on me when I tried to take pictures. The tap water tasted very good.
Less good was the meal that we had the last night. I wanted to try Icelandic dishes, so we went to a (rather expensive) restaurant which featured them. Bastiaan had the lamb, which was very nice. I decided to try the puffin, on the grounds that I had never tasted it before. I got puffin three ways: marinated, smoked, and cooked in a Brennivín sauce. In retrospect, it was probably a poor choice on my part, given that I don't like fish, and the puffin--no doubt because of its diet--tastes more fishy than most fish. It smells like anchovies and the taste is even worse. I ended up having a meal of vegetable garnish, bread, a few bites of lamb, and dessert skyr.
Alas, during our entire stay it was warm and overcast, so we had no opportunity to see the aurora borealis, which was my primary reason for taking this trip.
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2004 - 2011.
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