A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: dtbradley

Day 8 - Blue Lagoon

all seasons in one day

Last day in Iceland and it was Blue Lagoon day!

The bus transport picked me up at 8:30 am. They picked you up at your hotel by a little bus and take you to the bus station to get on a bigger bus. While I was waiting for everyone to load up, there was Sue and Steven who were with me in the West Fjords and on the Golden Circle tour.

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal pool that was formed by the nearby power plant. The water is very blue and silica mud comes from the water. The silica mud rejuvenates your skin. Everyone can put the mud on there face to gain the effects. It was funny to see people walking around the pool with mud masks on, but why not. A 4 oz bottle of the stuff sells for around $80.

We upgraded our package and got a reservation at the Lava restaurant (along with a towel, robe, flip flops and a free drink). The food was amazing! I had heard that the chef won a master chef competition. The weather changed a lot while I was at the Lagoon. Had sun, rain, hail and wind, but it was warm in the pool. What a great way to spend my last day in Iceland!

When I got back in town, I saw the other couple I was in the West Fjords with. They went on the Golden Circle tour today and had the same guide I did earlier in the week.

Dinner was at a Place called the Public House. Great food! Music was from the 80's which was fun. Afterward I walked around a bit to see more of Reykjavik. While on my walk, I went past the Hard Rock and it looked open so I walked in. I wasn't sure if they were open or not, but no one stopped me when I walked in so I started looking a shirts. When I went to check out, I was told they were not open and there was a private party going on. Oh well, made me chuckle that they let me walk around, look at shirts, but didn't let me buy anything.

Overall it was a great experience! Iceland is a beautiful country with very friendly people. It was easy to get around and the food was fantastic!

Posted by dtbradley 09:24 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Day 7 - Back to Reykjavik

all seasons in one day 4 °C

My time in the West Fjords has ended and today we said buy to Stella and headed back to Reykjavik.

We headed out at 10 am. The Arctic fox was back to bid us goodbye. On the way back to Reykjavik, we took the paved road the whole way. We had all sorts of weather. When we left the temp was near 40 and it was sunny. As we drove the clouds came and left. At one point we were in the snowy mountains and it was 32 degrees. We stopped to see a sheep building we didn't see on the way up as we were on the dirt road. Another stop was at the witchcraft museum. There was a small amount of time where about 21 people were tried for witchcraft in Iceland and the museum documented the history. Afterward we were back on the road eating our sandwiches in the car. Again we saw snow and sun. At one point stopping off to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. Our last stop before town was a farm where they primarily had cows, but there were a few pigs as well. The cows had a self milking machine. Craziest thing I have seen. The cows line up on their own to get milked. Saw one push her way through. The machine then put the milking contraptions on each teat and then it milked. When it was done, the machine pulled the milking contraption off of each teat and the next cow came in and the process started again. Amazing.

Back in town our Czech friends dropped us off at our respective hotels and we said buy to everyone.

The evening was cold and rainy. I headed out to look at shops and to find a restaurant. All the ones that looked appealing were Italian and I wasn't in the mood. I stopped in the Big Lebowski bar, but didn't stay long. Ended up back at the Cafe Paris. Everyone around me was speaking Icelandic so I didn't feel so bad going back to a place I had already been. Maybe tomorrow I will try something different.

I ended the evening sitting in the hotel lounge drinking coffee and sparkling water watching folks leave for Northern Lights tours. Hopefully they will find an opening in the clouds to find something and it won't be a elusive tour like looking for a leopard in South Africa.

Posted by dtbradley 13:48 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Day 6 - West Fjords

rain 5 °C

Today was a slower paced day.

At breakfast, the hiker joined us before continuing on his journey to Isafjordur. We chatted a little a little more with him before he headed off. After breakfast, we started the day with a walk with Stella around the farm as she told us some of the old stories. Then several of us went horse back riding around the guesthouse. While the horses we rode were trail horses, we walked, trotted and galloped when the ground allowed for it.

Afterward it was time for lunch. We had a tomato soup, a cheese and ham sandwich that was like a panini. As well as a salad. Lunch and dinner have always been served with a salad. I am not sure if I mentioned it, but there are greenhouses throughout the country. Stella also has a couple greenhouses where she grows an assortment of fruits and vegetables.

After lunch Stella had mentioned that we were going to go for a short drive (2 hours) to see a settlement area and then a salt factory. The last 2 settlements I had seen were inside so I didn't think I would need my hiking boots, however, I was mistaken. It was raining and the settlement - Vatnsfjordur was outside so I was a little cold and wished I had waterproof shoes as we walked around with Stella as she pointed out the different ruins. Nothing phases her...as we were walking with our jackets zipped, gloves on and hoods up, she didn't have her jacket zipped or her hood up. She just let it rain on her. At the settlement, we went inside the church (Stella had a key) to look around. I wasn't the only one who likes cemeteries, so we walked around the cemetery as well. The oldest grave was from 1876. The newest from 1978. A lot of people were close to 100 years old when they died. A hearty bunch those Icelanders!

From the settlement, we headed over to an artisan salt factory (Salt Werks) and the owner showed us how they made sea salt from the sea. After the salt factory, we walked, yes it was still raining, to an old swimming pool that was used in the 1850's, it was outside and was naturally feed with warm water. It was pretty wet out and we got a little worried when Stella slipped on the steps leaving the pool, but all ended well.

On our drive back to the guesthouse, we stopped to see the local giant. They have trolls and hidden people throughout the country. Just look on any mountain side and you will see people's faces in the rocks. It is pretty amazing. The giant we saw even had hair. The story Stella told was that the giant was fishing and lost track of time and didn't notice the sun coming up. When he did it was too late. As he turned around to leave, the sun came up and he turned to stone.

When we got back to the guesthouse, we had some time to ourselves to relax. Dinner tonight was buffet, however, they did start with an appetizer of smoked puffin, yes the cute little bird. It was served with blueberries and melon. We had a salad, rice and cod baked with a béarnaise sauce topped with cheese. I thought it was going to be super rich, but it was not. That was because after doing a little research, I realized it was a béchamel sauce and not béarnaise. It is a traditional dish called, Plokkfiskur. While I was full, since it was my last night here, I decided to get the apple cake. It was light and fluffy and of course very tasty.

It ended up a quite evening. We were talking that it would be nice to have a fireplace in the restaurant, however, they do not have any trees, so that would be difficult. Guess that is why the hot springs pools are so popular.

Posted by dtbradley 13:45 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Day 5 - Isafjordor

all seasons in one day 4 °C

This morning came early after watching the Northern Lights for so long.

After breakfast we headed down to the fjord Mjoifjordur to kayak. The water was like glass and so very clear. There were some seals swimming around us trying to figure out who / what we were. I could have stayed out longer, but we were scheduled to go into Isafjorour (the "large" town nearby - 125 km from where we were staying) with Stella the guesthouse owner. Stella is in her mid 70's and knows everybody and has many stories which she told us during the day. She has 4 people from the Czech Republic working for her, cooking, cleaning and giving tours.

Today Stella toured us around the West Fjords. Our first stop was to be at the Arctic Fox Museum, however, they were closed so we drove on to Isafjorour stoping many places along the way to take pictures. By the time we got to town it was time for lunch, which we had at a hotel in town. Lunch was fresh halibut with a lobster cream sauce. After lunch we tried to go into the area church which was locked. We then headed over to the library which used to be the hospital and was built in 1926. By this time it had started to snow / sleet out. Inside the library, they had books dating from the 1700's. Crazy, that you could take them off the shelf and look at them. There was also a little museum of hospital items on the upper floor of the library.

Next stop was the city hall to see how the town looked when it was settled in the mid to late 1700's. We then drove around to see some of the old houses that are still around. We then headed to see the Osvor Maritime Museum to get a feel for how life was like for fishermen. The exhibit was built on the ruins of old fishing huts.

The last stop of the day was at Litlibaer i Skotufirdi which is a farm house from 1895. Which has been renovated by the National Museum. Two families (around 20 people) lived in the house which is only 3.9 x 7.4 meters x 2 in size (about 12.7 x 22 in feet). It is times 2 because there were 2 floors. It was a very small house. It is generally only open in the summer, but Stella knows a gentleman (Christian) who's family last lived by the house. We sat in the dining room and had coffee and waffles and chatted with him and his wife. They did not speak any English so Stella had to translate. It was very fascinating! The Icelander's love there stories!

We got back to the guesthouse around 7:30 pm and went right to dinner. At dinner we had a guest eating with us. He is an Icelandic gentleman that is walking the old postal route from Reykjavik to Isafjordur. He said it will take him a total of 5-6 weeks to make the route. Wow!

Dinner tonight was lamb with pecans and mushrooms. Very good as expected. Dessert which I really didn't need was a carmel custard dish. It was very much like a flan.

Early night tonight, went back to the room around 10 pm. It was rainy so no Northern Lights tonight.

Posted by dtbradley 03:02 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

Day 4 - West Fjords

sunny 5 °C

Started the morning with a knock on the door at around 5:30 am that the northern lights were out. They weren't strong, but still pretty cool to see. It made me wonder though if I had seen them as they almost looked like stray clouds. Sadly the camera didn't pick up any of it.

Went back to bed for a few hours. At breakfast, we were told there was a little change of plans and that since the sun was out we would go hike the Drangajokull glacier first before horse back riding. It was 1 1/2 hours drive to get to place we would start our hike to the glacier and the hike was about 1 1/2 hours to the glacier. It was a desolate area with only 3 other people there. We walked over rocks, rivers and boulders to get to the glacier. At one point the river was pink from the iron in the nearby rock. When we got up to the glacier they said they had a treat for us. I was thinking it would be hot chocolate, but then I saw one of the guides pull out a coke bottle with orange liquid. Not knowing what it was, I had her pour me some. The other guide then put some glacier ice in our cup. The liquid ended up being whiskey. Surprisingly tasty! Especially with 10,000 year old ice in it. I took a bunch of pictures of and in the glacier. I can now say I touched a glacier on both hemispheres. I am truly a lucky person. After spending about a 1/2 hour on the glacier we walked back.

On the drive back to the guest house, one of the guides asked if we wanted to go kayaking after dinner. We thought it odd to sea kayak in the dark, but figured they must know what they were doing and agreed, however, before dinner, another guide stopped by to say there wouldn't be kayaking tonight because it would be dark, but we could go at 8:30 am tomorrow. Seems a little early, but I guess I am game.

At dinner tonight, we had a salted fish appetizer in olive oil. The main dish was white goose with a pesto sauce. For dessert, I had a blueberry and ice cream dish.

Instead of kayaking, after dinner we drove down the road to a neighbors hot pot (think large hot tub, but filled with water from the hot springs) and watched the northern lights. They were just spectacular! I didn't want to leave although I was very hot and it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit out. We eventually left at around 10 pm. Came back to the guesthouse and stood outside watching the Northern Lights until 11:00 pm. I didn't want to go back in. Sadly none of us got our cameras to take a picture, so I will have to etch the sight in my memory.

Posted by dtbradley 15:51 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

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