Reykjavík 3 - SUCH a Day!

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September 30th 2018
Published: October 1st 2018
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Wow! What a day! We got ourselves organised and into the breakfast room nice and early. The food was a little different, typical Scandinavian fare with the slices of meat and cheese and hard boiled eggs, with ryvita type crispbreads. We noticed in Sweden too that their hard boiled eggs always have whiter than white shells. The scrambled eggs were more like chopped up omelette. The pork sausages were nice. I tried their version of hash browns and they were nicer than what we usually have. After brekky we got ourselves organised and went out to the foyer to wait for our tour bus.

We got talking to a German couple in the foyer. The lady had shown me how to operate the orange juice machine at breakfast. They were amazed to meet us - they’d never met an Australian before!

And then our bus arrived. We were the second last pickup and found our minibus was populated with Americans, Canadians, Irish and an unamed Asian mother and daughter. Actually I’d forgotten to mention that yesterday for the Northern Lights tour they moved some people onto a different coach because it had a Cantonese interprete. That’s what is amazing over here - people from everywhere!

Our tour guide, Aevor (pronounced like eye-vor)told us lots of incidental information about being Icelandic and living in Iceland. He says they are known for being weird, a little unusual. They believe in trolls and elves and such.

The naming system in Iceland is totally different - Aevor and his brother have a last name that means son of Eric. His sister‘s last name means daughter of Eric, obviously a different last name to her brothers. Eric’s wife didn’t take his surname when she married because it would mean “son of” and she’s not a son, so the girls keep their surname.

He pointed out a liquor barn along the way. It was all shuttered up. He said they are run by the government and are only open limited hours each day.

At Christmas time, the Icelandic people eat smoked lamb and a special brewed soft drink similar to a non-alcoholic beer. The children don’t put up stockings, they put a shoe on the windowsill every night for the 13 nights before Christmas and, if they’ve been good, they get a gift from Santa Claus. If they’ve been naughty they’ll get a potato. There are thirteen different Santa Claus’s, and the mother of all the Santa Claus’s is a horrible woman who eats naughty children. On the 6th of January they have a big party that signifies the end of the Christmas season, where they build a bonfire and everyone puts their Christmas tree on it. Aevor gave us all a sample of the drink, and also a snack of smoked lamb on flat bread.

When Aevor was younger and people talked about inbreeding in Iceland he said “don’t be silly, we have the whole country to choose from” but as he got older he realised that his whole country was the size of a small town. They take more of an interest in familial ties now, with a database with people’s records on it, so you can check you’re not related too closely, and they’ve even developed an app to check quickly. Aevor found that he’s related to five of his six closest friends! Aevor could’ve passed for one of my brothers - he looked like he could have been a younger version of Terry - and his ancestors all came over from Norway. My DNA with Ancestry indicates that we have Norwegian ancestors. The Vikings did settle in Scotland.

During the tourist season the airlines employ an extra 400 people that have to come from other countries, so they built extra apartment buildings to house the extra employees.

Aevor grew up at Keflavik, where the big international airport is. He said that if you meet someone who lives in Keflavik then they would work at the airport. If they don’t work at the airport, then they’re probably a criminal and didn’t pass the security check.

Along the way we drove through a lava field, and a geothermal region that had puffs of smoke coming out of the ground. They use the geothermal energy for electricity.

We did not see any puffins on our day trip. Aevor said the only part of mainland Iceland they live on is a place you can only get to at low tide.

The first stop was at a service station to stretch our legs and used the facilities. The second stop was to look at the snowfields (not a planned stop), then we had another unplanned stop at a waterfall that was planned for the afternoon, but it looked so pretty with the sun on it, Aevor thought we should stop. The waterfall had a soccer field at its base!

We then drove on to a planned stop - Seljalandsfoss. This waterfall had black sand in its stream, and ice in the water!

Our next stop was to Reynisfjara, the beach that is covered in black sand, with an unusual formation and two rock outcrops on one end (trolls who turn to stone during the daylight), and a marvellous natural arch at the other end, and black sand in between. This was also our lunch stop. Aevor recommended the traditional Icelandic meat soup, which was delicious! He said everyone’s mother and grandmother makes this soup. Two small dishes of soup, piece of buttered bread each + 2 coffees = $50!! Iceland is not for the feint-walletted. It is not cheap!

After lunch he took us to a hill with a cemetery on the top, overlooking the local church and a wonderful view of the trolls.

Next stop was the Solheimajokull glacier which has shrunk 1 mile in the last 10 years (and it was only 7 miles long before). The glacier is really dirty from the ash that landed on it during the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano back in 2010.

On our way to the next stop Aevor told us tales of goblins and baby swapping as he took us to the goblins rock, a huge rock standing in the middle of a field (left there by a troll). The rock has some turf covered hits at the base of it, used in the past by the farmers for their lambing ewes. We drove on to the Skogafoss waterfall which was used in a Justin Bieber music video. This waterfall came out from the cliff and you could walk behind it. Whilst we were in the nearby souvenir shop there was a middle aged couple in their who’d just got engaged whilst they were at the foot of the falls.

We then returned to Reykjavík, arriving back at our hotel at about 6pm, in time for refreshing before dinner in the restaurant. As we were preparing to leave we recognised the girl from Columbus Ohio sitting in a booth so we chatted to her for a bit. She was saying that tonight’s Northern Lights was cancelled. She still has another 5 days here. She went out on her whale watching trip yesterday and was terribly ill.

I had a delicious piece of grilled salmon for dinner, with a side salad and Parmesan something - I think it was barley? With two delicious glasses of Pinot Grigio.

Time to call it a night. Up at 3 tomorrow!!

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