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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lost In Iceland

Saturday morning, I woke real early to get out to drive to Vik and to see all the waterfalls along the way and then return via Gullfoss.

I got out by 8AM and could see the Imagine Peace Tower blazing above Reykjavik. As I made the turn out of Reykjavik on Rt 1S to Vik, I immediately hit sleet and snow and terrible road conditions. As I climbed towards Selfoss, the town, it got worse and worse. I was going 30 KMH. No one else was on the road. Maybe I should have taken this as a warning, but I was on a mission. My big fear was the big hill that weaves down to a town before Selfoss. I stopped at a N1 gas station to fill up and stop for some hot chocolate and to let the dawn start so I get some light and let some traffic go over these roads. I rest there about a half hour and leave as the light begins to appear. I'll have about 4 hours of sun. The sun never gets higher than about a finger above the horizon at it sweeps fro east to west and is a constant source of heat as it beats on my right side as i head towards Vik. The road is covered with snow and yet the fields are bear of snow and the lakes are absent of ice. Go figure. The roads here are gritty which makes for better grip if your tires actually touch road. Most of the time today I will be riding on ice, packed snow and late in the day snow so high in the road it is scraping the bottom of the car.

Once I get past Selfoss, the road is pretty much mine. My first stop is a waterfall that has a walkway behind it. I have walked behind this in August,, but today, it is all ice so I decide agin it. I just sit and enjoy the sight of it and close my eyes to hear it. I'm alone. Although it is windy, the sun is warming on my back. I spin out of the parking lot to regain Rt 1 to Vik. On the approach road the sun is a large bright orb in front of me. It is about an inch or two above the horizon.

My next stop is Skogafoss. This is a majestic waterfall with a walkway up the side of it so the climber can navigate up the feeding river into the glaciers beyond if so desired. There is just another couple here and they make the ascension, so I'm alone with this majesty. Last time I was here in August, people were everywhere. I have lunch, a sandwich, banana, and energy bar.

It's time to head back to Gullfoss and let the sun hit my left side now. I pass a couple of excursion buses heading towards Vik or the waterfalls. I take a road well before Selfoss towards Gullfoss. Now the roads haven't been plowed and I'm on roads others have already packed down. The going is slow. After the last point of civilization before Gullfoss, the roads have definitely been less traveled. I'm on one lane roads with one lane bridges. I remember this road from my August trip. It winds through farmland and the drifts of snow are concerning me, especially since I have forgotten the shovel. It is a long and harrowing road and I'm beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. I'm not seeing any one else on this road. Eventually I come to the turn that will take me to Gullfoss one way and Geyser the other. I have had to scrape the road signs to verify this since they are covered with snow. This road is well traveled. I turn right to Gullfoss. I am going against lots of traffic, which is good. I finally arrive at Gullfoss and am the only car in the lot. What an amazing day. Gullfoss always extends a gracious welcome. She is stupendous, magical, and glorious. She radiates such power and grace. She is a life force. I stand for a time in awe until an expedition bus arrives and disgorges its 25 occupants. I leave and head toward Geyser and back to Reykjavik.

Today I drive back a different way through Pingvellir and the National Park there. This road winds through glaciers and eventually puts me on Rt 1 towards Akureyri. I like this way to Gullfoss instead of the other way. I turn left to Reykjavik and arrive home an hour before dinner reservations.

I have another superb dinner at 3 Frakkar. Tonight I had the creamy fish soup which was a tomato base with lots of fish chunks topped with a dollop of cream. Next I had the shark which could have come with the schnapps, but I passed on that. I had some in Akureyri. You have to develop a taste for it, I couldn't. I finished the meal with the mussels in a white wine sauce. Mussels were introduced to Iceland 10 years ago, so they are developing how to cook them. No oysters in Iceland, which is strange. I'd love to know why no mussels in this cold water. After this excellent meal, I walked down streets and alleys I hadn't been along before to the harbor to pay homage to John Lennon. The Imagine Peace Tower was shining brightly to infinity and beyond. No clouds. It was as cold here tonight as it was that horrible night in 1980. I sat on a wooden bench for a while. I strolled down to Harpa, the concert hall which was doing their Christmas pageant. They were performing the Frost Roses. The show was starting at 11PM. I walked over to Vid Tjornina to make reservations for tomorrow night. Unfortunately they are closed tomorrow night. I had a lovely conversation with the owner about tomorrow's matches. He is a ManU fan and the Manchester Derby is huge. We spoke of other things, too. Next time. Lots of next times which is good, since that guarantees a next time, haha. I don't need encouragement.

Tommorow I'll be spending most of the day in the English Pub.

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