Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Iceland Day 6: Vik to Reykjavik

Vik's famous black basalt beach. You can see the Reynisdrangur sea stacks in the distance.

The night of Day 5, we arrived in Vik. I was hungry and tired and my camera battery was dying, so I was in a very crabby mood. All I wanted to do was find something to eat and charge my camera. We showed up late enough, however, that simply finding a place to eat proved challenging.

Eventually we found Strondin Bistro, which a nice local lady raved about as we walked up to the door. They were getting ready to close but the weary-looking waitress seated us without complaint. Since the kitchen was closing up, they could only offer us pizza or soup, which was fine by me as they had the classic and ubiquitous homemade Icelandic lamb meat soup, to which I had become addicted by that point. Their version was the most savory and satisfying I had eaten yet; I could have had at least one more big bowl of it. Tyler got a huge pizza, and it was fantastic. Best of all, there was an outlet right next to our table so I could charge my camera! My mood improved drastically.

Our campsite.

After that, we went to the Vik campsite, which only charged us about $8 per person to stay. They had big, clean bathrooms with free showers, which excited me until I learned - while taking a shower - that they didn't have hot water. I wanted to cry, I was so cold and miserable. It was chilly and windy outside, so it took me a long time to get warm and sleepy in the tent, even though it was well after midnight.

At one point, I woke up to the sound of banging around my tent. I looked over, and Tyler was gone. The wind was so fierce that he was worried that we would be blown away, so he had gotten up to put more stakes in.

In the morning, things were a lot better. We went to Dyrholaey and saw the puffins there, which was magical.

The cliffs were absolutely stuffed with puffins. They would occasionally take to the wind, which was so strong that their little bodies could just hover in midair until they were ready to dive into the sea for fish. Tyler originally had thought that puffins were like penguins and could not fly, so he was amazed to see so many in the air. So cute!

We kept heading west, and saw some good stuff along the way: an ancient Viking meeting cave, an old farmhouse, and the charming Skogar Folk Museum.

Old bed headboards.

Sod houses.
Sod houses were made for people my size! The doorway is low but the ceiling inside is about 6'.

Our primary goal of the day was to hike the short path to the Seljavallalaug swimming pool. The oldest standing pool in Iceland, Seljavallalaug was built in 1923 to teach Icelanders how to swim. It's tucked into the mountains and it's pleasantly warm. (It's also full of algae, but it's not toxic so we didn't care.)

It was a little crowded, but not terribly so. I opted to swim without my top so I was the subject of much interest - but everyone was polite enough to keep everything but their eyes to themselves.

We couldn't stay as long as we wanted to because we had to dash back to Reykjavik to return the rental car and the camping supplies. We only just made it before the deadline! Then we had to figure out how to make it to our AirBnB lodgings, which turned out to be very nice. We had a whole apartment to ourselves! And it came with a real shower, with hot water and everything. Ohhhhh.

We had dinner at Icelandic Fish and Chips, which was well-rated and did not disappoint.

Those onion rings were heavenly.
Then we returned to Slippbarinn for a drink (and to soak up the fancy atmosphere).

I ordered the Femme Fatale. It had jasmine, "Navy-strength" gin, lemon, and cardamom in it. WHOA AMAZING.
Most delicious dessert waffle IN THE WORLD.

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