Found a few snaps on the iPhone...
This chap's wife was in hysterics. I think she dared him to go to the hotel dressed like that (you can see our potting shed / tin hut in the background)
Keflavik floral displays
Bergás Guesthouse small fluffy pretend dog thing (who apparently loves watching Animal Planet)
Today has mostly been spent in Reykjanes peninsula. The majority of tourists fly into Keflavik airport on Reykjanes, pick up their cars and speed off towards Reykjavik. But I definitely think it is worth taking some time to drive around it. The lava fields are beautiful - though bleak and seemingly never ending.
The official line:
'The Reykjanes peninsula has several high-temperature geothermal areas, three of which have been harnessed to generate electricity. Nowhere on earth is the junction in the earth's crust between the European and American tectonic plates as clearly visible as on the Reykjanes peninsula. The area is a veritable hotbed for recreational activities. The dramatic, rugged landscape features volcanic craters, caves, lava fields, geothermal waters, and hot springs, in addition to a variety of restaurants, museums, churches, lighthouses, and festivals.'
We stopped off at Selatangar - an old fishing station, used from the Middle Ages until 1884. You can make out the remains of lava rock houses where the fishermen used to shelter. We met a local chap there who gave us a potted history. Nice man.
From there we diverted to the Blue Lagoon - to spend my voucher. Well - that was the plan. But after half an hour they couldn't find it and asked me if it could perhaps have been collected already! Anyway - they finally decided I wasn't trying to pull the wool over their eyes - gave me the 50 euro credit, some free samples and a free shower gel (approx. £40 of freebies for our trouble).
Tonight we're staying in Bergás guesthouse - instead of the Hotel Berg (our normal last night haunt). Great place and very friendly owners. If you ever get to stay here ask the owner to do his sheep impression - it's uncanny!
Stu has set the alarm, we've had the best pizza Iceland has to offer and now that we've recovered from the sheep impression we'll be getting an early night.
See you all soon
Blue Lagoon purchases and freebies (worth the half hour wait!)
I will never be a travel reporter but...after three weeks of our first ever summer visit to Iceland - some thoughts:
We're in the oddest town ever. I can't even describe it. It's just odd.
You don't see too many residents - unless you pop into the local shopping centre. Though Stu did spot an old chap on a disabled scooter, equipped with oxygen tank - puffing on a smoke. I think the majority of the residents are old. Most houses seem to have one of those wheeled walker-frame shopping trolley type things parked at the front door.
The town is also the hot springs capital (of the world - they claim). There is steam rising all over the town and in the surrounding hills. There is a 3k hike up to a hot river - a mecca for tourists (we didn't bother).
We headed out to a nearby town, Eyrarbakki - which boasts some of the oldest buildings in Iceland. It's very quaint and home to a lot of birds, horses and a stunning view of the atlantic ocean. We spent most of today just relaxing on the beach - watching whooper swans enjoy the surf.
Tomorrow we're heading to Keflavik - for our final night of the trip. We're avoiding Reykjavik taking the southerly route through Grindavik - with a quick stop at the Blue Lagoon to spend some pennies on moisturiser (thanks to Matt and Claire for the voucher).
Today I got up at a decent time for breakfast. Then went back to bed - until 1pm.
When I finally dragged myself out of my pit we had an easy, relaxed, day within the golden circle. Managing just two of the attractions - Geyser (Strokkur) and Gulfoss.
If we ever come back in the summer - we will avoid the south and particularly the golden circle area. It is so busy. Nothing like our previous experiences in the winter - when you can drive for hours without passing a car, or witness the wonder of a waterfall without a battle to get a front-row seat.
Tomorrow we're moving again - to Hveragerði, not too far from Reykjavik.
Don't assume hump day means we have been grumpy. Though there have been a couple of 'moments' today. But after 16 days in each others company - without a break. It's to be expected.
Taking stock - we have also averaged around 150 miles a day so far. No wonder we're a little frayed around the edges. And to top it all today - we even managed an 8km walk.
We finally found the crash site of the US Navy DC-3. It came down in 1973 - seemingly from lack of fuel (or pilot error - switching to the wrong tank). Anyway - all onboard survived, so it isn't too grisly a story.
That's about all we managed today. But the walk gave me an excuse to inhale a Snickers when we got back to the car. And a large slice of chocolate cake about an hour ago. See - walking is bad for you!
We've checked in at one of our favourite spots - Héradsskólinn Hostel - an old school house full of old furniture, books and artefacts (I have NEVER used that word before!). We're here for a whole two nights - luxury.
Starting to get really tired now - but checking into tonight's lodgings didn't help. It's basically a tin shed. With a bed and a toilet.
And the roads have become noticeably busier now that we're in the South - every POI is heaving with tourists.
We stopped off at Jökulsárlón (glacial lake) - beautiful but, I think, ruined by the amphibian trip boats. The ice breaks off the glacier and some of it makes its way to the sea - out of the lagoon. The clear ice against the black sand is stunning.
Next on today's list was Skaftafell and Svartifoss.
We arrived. And after ten minutes trying to find a space - we left. We'll add that one to the winter tour list.
Aside from all of that we had another great day. And tomorrow can only get better when we check out of the shed!
The potting shed
After a three-hour drive we got down to the south coast - to Hofn.
Vatnajökull glacier is what grabs your attention here. It is huge. Near where we're staying we can see two outlet glaciers, Hoffelssjökull and Flaajökul, both with decent gravel tracks up to them.
After all the excitement of the ice (and seeing two surprise Ptarmigan pottering about) we headed off to spend £16 EACH for a burger. I quite fancied anything but burger - but the prices are just ridiculous. It's the first meal we've had to buy in a while though as Stu's been cooking for the past week.
Top tip: if travelling to Iceland in the Summer - bring a hell of a lot of money. And warn family, in advance, that they might only get a satsuma this Christmas.
Early to bed tonight - we have a long day of sightseeing ahead. I want to get up early and try to beat the crowds to the glacier lake in the morning. That's the plan. Unless there is a stunning sunset tonight. Then I might just stay up to watch it.
We've come to the end of our second week - travelling clockwise round Iceland.
Tomorrow morning we will set off to the south coast - to Hofn. Still new territory for us as we've never been further east than Vik on the south coast. So there is still a lot more for us to discover. Like the flamin' reindeer.
One thing I meant to Google - do horses do damage when they kick the shit out of each other. We have horses behind the cottage - fenced in with electric wire. I don't think they like it and they all seem a little prickly.
Oh and I nearly forgot to mention - we saw a bloody Ptarmigan today. In a field. Pootling along. Minding its own business. Without a care in the world. Miles away from that bloody island that is supposedly teeming with them.
Into the middle bit...
Today we drove into the highlands - to the ranger station below Snaefell. Great drive again - this time on a pretty decent tarmac road for much of the distance.
After a scout round up there, taking in the views of the clouds on top of the peak and the glacier behind, we headed out to yet another fjord - Seydisfjordur.
The town there is really quite pretty. And when we arrived there was someone making pancakes in a car park and about two minutes later 100 people in costume, banging drums with red blobs on their foreheads showed up. Expecting pancakes I think. All a little odd tbh.
We left our little wooden cottage this morning - travelling slightly south and east to our next two-night stop at Ásgeirsstaðir, after an afternoon's diversion to Mjóifjörður.
The drive to the fjord was long - along a gravel road (953), up over a mountain, past an abandoned WWII landing craft and then a track up to Dalatangi lighthouse (old and new).
Not a deer in sight.
Tomorrow we're going all out for the reindeer. Heading in to the highland interior, to the island's highest (freestanding*) mountain where apparently they love to hangout in summer.
We're now settled into our next wooden cottage - tummy's full of Stu's curry, rice and naan.
*What the bloody heck do they mean by 'freestanding mountain'? Are some propped up?