Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

What good is livin' a life you've been given If all you do is stand in one place

The wind was whipping pellets of ice-cold rain at a degree I did not think rain could travel. We'd boarded a shuttle off of the plane in the early morning darkness of Iceland. It was about 6 A.M., and the sun would not rise until almost 10. It was cold and wet and exactly what I was hoping for. 

After we'd collected our checked luggage we grabbed some caffeine from a coffee bar bumping some very early morning club tunes. The young, hip baristas making drinks for foreigners had no idea that I'd only slept 45 minutes on the 5 hour flight, and not a wink since the morning before, when I'd boarded my flight to Boston. I appreciated the vibe. But the scene was a little jittery in my exhausted state (until the java hit my blood stream). 

The shuttle into which we would load was in a lot maybe 50 yards from the airport doors. The wind could push you over if you weren't careful, and pulling luggage increased your aerodynamic probably 8 trillion-fold. It was a bit of a workout, but we made it.

A quick 45 minute bus ride from the peninsula into the city, we arrived at the Hotel Natura, our home for the next 3 nights. Bags were unpacked, jackets were equipped, water was quaffed. It was time to explore breakfast options. 

A very nice meal at Bergsson Mathús
Tumby's full of Icelandic yogurts and soft-boiled eggs, we ventured out to explore Reykjavik on foot. It was pretty gray and drizzly, so we decided to dedicate the day to indoor activities. First stop, The Saga viking museum. As we made way along the small city streets, we got our first real feel of the city... And then promptly watched a couple ahead of us almost get blown away after a wind gust barreled down an unsuspecting alley. They clenched a sign post with all of their might to stay perpendicular until the mighty gale subsided, and they could take refuge next to the adjacent building. 

A self-guided audio tour of the history of Iceland revealed the ballsy Europeans who decided to inhabit the smoky coves around 800 AD. I don't even think they had an REI from which to buy boots, so mad respeck. 

The rain died down whilst inside of the Saga, so we pounded pavement towards what looked like a pier, before hooking around to preview the other museums. We found ourselves taking in our first glances of (what I literally, as of typing this right now, discovered was called) Faxa Bay. The volcanic Esja mountain(s) in the distance faded into the creeping clouds crowning the range across the water north of us. After taking in the view, and popping into and out of a few museums (not ready to commit to another one quite yet), we found ourselves parched. 

The first of many Viking beers, and the first of many bacon dishes.

So most things in Iceland are preeeeeeetttty pricey. If I hadn't just received my tax refund, I have no clue how I would have been able to afford the trip. The price of most things started at 1,000 Krona (ISK), which after fees and such, we just rounded to $10. (Side Note: 1,000 was designated as 1.000, which was a bit confusing at first. I was unaware using a decimal instead of a comma to denote thousands was a thing.) It was pointed out to us several times that there are many happy hours, bringing 15 ISK drinks down to 8 or 9 ISK. We peeked into a few shops, but it had been a long day, and we were booked for a tour to see the northern lights at 8, so we taxied back to the Hotel Natura.

The sculpture I dubbed Sassy Obi-Wan always welcomed us in the hotel lobby

The hotel notified us that due to inclement weather, the trip to see Aurora Borealis had been postponed, so we took a nap. Post-nap it was time for some food and some more local drinks. We didn't realize that the kitchens in town closed early, especially on an unassuming weeknight. Seeing as the rain had quit, and we were both equipped with fantastic new cold weather gear, we felt adventurous and decided to walk back to the downtown area. It was a... brisk walk. But not too bad, only 20 or 30 minutes. But that, stacked on top of our nap session, had us strolling into the downtown area 10 or so minutes after most kitchens finished closing. We were lucky enough to snag a bite to eat in a closing restaurant (and did our only tipping on the trip as a thanks for feeding us at such a late hour), before strolling across the street to catch some live music.

After a few more drinks and an early morning bus tour awaiting us on day 2, we hoofed it back to the hotel. Boy, that wind. 

Next time, on Adventure Boy:

Day 2 of exploring Iceland, including -
More Beer!
A possible conversion to weather-altering Nordic Gods!