Sunday, November 23, 2014

Iceland - Day 3

Well, its technically Day 4 (night) now.  I'm behind a day.  No time to write yesterday!  I really should wait to write this until I talk to Mundi because I'm not going to remember all the names of places, but I'll do a short version (ha!) for now...

Slept pretty well at the nice hotel in Vik and woke up around grey skies and rain. :(  The view would have been pretty amazing if the weather had been better!

We ate some food - random stuff we had left over in the bag, which included more dried fish with tons of butter on it. And some random crushed up meat on bread?  I can only eat so much of that, haha, so I got some yogurt in the lobby after we checked out.


Oh, and the lady working at the desk confirmed what my Lonely Planet book said:  Vik is the rainiest place in all of Iceland.  (Also where Mundi wanted to move to until he found that out!)

First stop for the day was an IceWear shop I saw on the edge of town yesterday.  More shopping!  I managed to get out of there without buying anything, but they had some really cool stuff!  Everything is wool here, and a lot is handmade.  I just think that's so cool and unique!  But I already got my hand made wool sweater yesterday.  And I finally go the conversion / exchange rate down.  I'm not even going to say how much I paid for it.  But it is now the number 3 most expensive article of clothing I own, behind a ski coat and a cashmere sweater...

We decided to skip the same beach we went to the night before, because it was crazy windy and cold and rainy.  We went to a more "famous" black sand beach a few kilometers away called... (Mundi is going to have to fill this in for me).  The rain let up - or kind of turned to mist - so we got out and walked along the beach and in to the caves along the ocean.  It was pretty cool - the big waves crashing on the black sand.  I've never seen a black sand beach before!  


From there we were going to head back to Vik to get gas because we were low and the next gas station was right at the edge of what Mundi's car said we could go.  I like adventures and taking risks, but running out of gas in the middle of nowhere Iceland was not the kind of risky adventure I was up for that day. ;)  

Iceland only has one big city really, Reykjavik.  And a few bigger towns like Keflavik.  But other than that, it's just wide open space with tiny little villages or even just gas stations dotted along the roads.  I love it. :)  More nature, less cement and skyscrapers.

Anyways, before we got very far down the road, Mundi started telling me about some hidden cave where a priest used to live that he visisted with some friends...12 years ago.  He wasn't exactly sure where it was, but we decided to pull off the road and try and find it.  So we hiked along this ravine kind of, and these little cliffs were just dotted with small caves.  He would walk up and look in one and say, "No, no, this one isn't it!"  I just kept plodding through the wet grass and mud behind him...

Eventually he hiked up a hill, peeked in, and that one was it.  I never in a million years would have found that one!  Problem was we couldn't quite get in it, haha.  We tried a couple of times and looked a different ways, but it was just too muddy.  So we hiked further down where we could get up on top of it - on top of the hill - and drop down in to it from the other side.  (Now this was my kind of adventure!)  The crazy wind and rain made it even better. :)

                                                  Mundi found the cave!

The cave was cool.  Marking in the wall the priest has made supposedly.  It was decent size, but I serioulsy can not for the life of me imagine living in a cave!!  

Hiked back to the car, went back to Vik for gas, and then started the long drive back to Keflavik.  One quick detour to some islands to see the ocean and cliffs. It was so windy up there there was actually sea foam flying around! 

I decided to start counting waterfalls along the way, because they really are just everywhere.  I stopped at 17...and that was in about an hour.  No joke.

We listend to music - Im really starting to like a couple of Icelandic groups - and practiced speaking Icelandic, which was hugely entertaining for both of us, haha.  I actually recorded Mundi saying some words because I just think it's such a funny language!  (Check YouTube link on the right...) The only thing I've semi got down is Thank You and You're Welcome.  And don't ask me how to spell it.  Not a clue.  

We stopped for lunch ... at another gas station, haha.  I couldnt belive we were really stopping at one for lunch again, but there really aren't many option if you aren't near a town, and this one was much nicer than the cold hot dog place the day before.  And we got hamburgers this time instead.  Much better.  :)

Stopped at a liquor store for some nice wine for his parents for letting us stay at their summer house - and for inviting me to family dinner, and then juts kept on driving!  We were going to stop at some more natural hot springs that required a long hike through some mud, but since it was getting late and it was still raining, we decided to just see a little bit of Reykjavik instead.

Reykjavik - the only big city in Iceland and where almost two thirds of all Icelanders live, is a pretty cool city!  Right on the ocean with mountains across the bay.  We drove by the new theater/concert hall place and down the main sohopping road.  Europeans have such better style than Americans!  Everyone was dressed so nice.  I get the feeling that Iceland - or Reykjavik anyways - is not a very cheap place to live...

After a bathroom break, we found a radio station that was playing early 90's American rap music and drove back to Keflavik (about 45 minutes away).  Mundi knew most of the songs and it was too surreal to be crusing through Iceland singing along to P Diddy, haha.

Before stopping at the house, we stopped at a small museum and a small grass/mud house that Icelanders used to live in.  Learned something interesting at the musem.  Turns out some Icelander actually found American before Christopher Columbus?  Why didn't we learn about that in grade school history??

Quick stop at the house to change clothes and then it was off to Mundi's parent house - about a 5 minute walk down the street - for family dinner to celebrate his grandfathers 81st birthday!

They have a beautiful house that Mundi's dad re-did and added on to.  He's quite the handy-man (did a lot of additions to the summer house, too!) AND he's the chef!  Jack of all trades. ;)

Turns out Mundi is quite the artist.  Several of his pieces were framed in the house and I was shocked at how good he is!  I mean I knew he liked to draw but his pictures were awesome!  I think I've convinced him to paint me one... :) 

Anyways, The whole family was just so sweet and welcoming.  Such a wonderful experience to share a family celebration with a real Icelandic family!  We had salad and corn and local potatos and Icelandic was all delicious and I ate until I thought I was going to be sick.  

Mundi's grandparents didn't speak English, but understood when I said Happy Birthday!  Most of the converations around the table were in Icelandic and everyone would laugh, then someone would translate it fo rme and I would crack up 2 minutes later, haha.  It worked.  And it was great.  Such a fun, special evening and something I will never forget. :)  I wanted to take pictures of everything - the paintings, the house, the deck his dad built, the food, the family...but I thought getting my phone out might be rude so I left it in my bag.  That's stuff I'lll just have to keep in my head I guess.

One hilarious story I have to share:  Mundi's dad has a friend that sells those iRobot vacuum things.  He had one and turned it on and left for awhile I guess.  His dog got scared of it and "shit himself", and the vaccuum just ran over it and smeared it all over the floors, hahaha.  He told it much better than that, but I about fell out of the chair laughing so hard at that one - again, a few minute behind everyone else cracking up. ;)

We sat around and talked for quite awhile after dinner, and then Mundi and I went for a walk on the walking path along the ocean.  It was dark, but the rain had stopped and the sea air felt so good. We went to some sleeping troll thing that was so weird. It was snoring and farting, haha. I never really got what it was or the point of it...

I've still never really seen Keflavik in the daylight, but I bet it's a pretty cool town, too.  I mean anything on the ocean is pretty cool in my book. :)

We went back to the house, packed up my stuff (I feel like all I've been doing is unpacking and repacking!) and watched a little bit of Silence of the Lambs before falling asleep for the night...

Off to Sweden in the morning... Even though I would really like some more time here in Iceland!

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