I am finally here - in ICELAND!
Luckily, both made it here. Then, like any good tourist, I visited the duty free shop to stock up on wine, which is way cheaper than at the government-run liquor stores. After grabbing that and getting some kroner (money) from the cash machine, I went to pick up my car. It turns out my regular car was not ready, so I got upgraded to some Suzuki thing (sorry, car enthusiasts, can't remember.) Then I headed to Reykjavik, the capital.
I opted out of the Garmin, only because I'm in Iceland. I mean, eventually you will run into water, mountains or a glacier
My room was not ready, so I tried to Skype home, without much luck. Facebook is also locking up on my netbook. Being somewhat of a Facebook addict, this did trouble me, but I decided, seeing as I hadn't had a shower in a while, to walk to the local pool. Geothermal pools are HUGE in Iceland. They are everywhere and something the locals do. Before this, I took the elevator up Hallgrimskirkja to get some great shots of the city.
Now at the pool. I paid my way in, rented a towel, and walked down to the locker room. All the shoes were lined up. I took this to mean they don't want dirt being dragged in the changing room. My locker was more of a "closet." I changed, and then remembered reading that Icelanders usually shower/wash before putting on swimwear. Like, it is highly frowned upon to not do this. So, I did as the Romans do, and made my way into the pool area. Some locals were swimming, but the best part was relaxing in a hot pot (hot tub) outside, with the wicked wind
At this point, it was 11 am. My room was ready, and the nice lady at the front desk cut (literally) my SIM card so I could make calls. I had to put some money on it first, but I was able to call home, which was nice. I did some walking, then had lunch at Sægreifans, a place by the harbor that has the "world's best lobster soup. It was quite delicious. Then, I made my way toward the famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins beztu pylsur. Icelandic hotdogs are made of lamb and topped with ketchup, mustard, onion and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. Apparently Bill Clinton had one in 1994, and when he asked for it "without mustard," a hotdog from then on became known at "The Clinton
After some more strolling, I took a much-needed nap. It was windy today, so much that it was hurting my face. Sunny, and no snow on the ground. At 7 pm, I had dinner reservations at 3 Frakkur, where I ordered steamed mussels (very good) and Plokkfiskur, an Icelandic dish made of boiled cod, potatoes, tartar sauce and onion. It was very tasty and went great with a glass of wine. The tap water is also very clean and safe to drink here, so it's not necessary to buy bottled water with meals, which is kind of nice.
After dinner, I met a couchsurfer named Oliver for a beer at Olsavik, a no-nonsense place filled with locals getting their alcohol on. Oliver is from Germany and has been living here for 6 years. Very nice and intelligent fella. Icelanders party hard on weekends. Drinks are pricey so they pub crawl late. My guidebook said they pretty much drink to get drunk and don't mess around
Tomorrow is a big day, where I can drive 5 hours east to Jokulsarlon. I'm hoping it is a bit warmer, or not as windy. I asked the waitress at 3 Frakkur if this is typical. She said, "it's Iceland. Weather is not typical. Today it was cold, tomorrow it could be hot." :)
Bless Bless (bye bye)
Friday, April 12, 2013