Luckily for me I was in a 10 person dorm room all by myself. I think they were expecting a large group of people to come in, but probably because of the storm they were delayed. So it was me and the storm, and I heard the wind blowing pretty hard the entire night. I wasn’t so sure it was a storm since it was my first night in Iceland, and maybe that’s just how it always was there, but no I was told later it was a pretty violent and bad one compared to their usual weather.
In the morning I got up to meet with Jacamo at 7, but he wasn’t there. I also found out that nothing in the world is open until 10 o’clock in Iceland. So I went back to sleep and got up at 9. This time I actually did run into Jacamo. We went to the nearby small 24 hour market, 1107, to get breakfast – vanilla skyr, aplesin+maltextract, and I think some peanuts. After chowing down on that back at the hostel we went out to walk around the town. Again, it was freezing cold and windy. First saw the viking ship monument, which is somewhat iconic. Then went to Bonus, one of the other main supermarket chains around the country, and I picked up a $5 beanie. It helped a lot. Went back to the church and this time went up the tower. It was a good view of the city, and you kind of got a sense of how small the downtown area was, but it was also very windy and we didn’t stay up there very long.
Made our way down to the Duck Pond, where we witnessed ducks and swans somehow surviving in freezing cold water. I don’t know how they managed to do it. We decided to take a break and headed into a small bakery, and I picked up an Icelandic twisted donut called a Kleina. Meh, it was okay, and I probably would have liked it a lot more if I grew up eating it.
Went back to the hostel since Jacamo had to leave for some volunteer project he was part of. I relaxed a bit, and then decided there was plenty of more time in the day for exploration so I headed out with the car.
I first went to the far western edge of Reykjavik where there was a lighthouse. I parked in the small lot and began walking to the lighthouse, but quickly realized that the path to the small piece of land actually was half-frozen, half-mud, half-submerged under the tide. A larger car drove up to where I was and found the same thing to turned around. I walked down a small path just a little while to investigate some strange wood structure and then retreated to the car.
Oh yeah, it was right then when I learned how to put the car correctly into Drive. Felt a bit stupid, and lucky that I hadn’t ruined the car.
The next stop was to the Krysivik National Park, which was down near the airport. So after about 30 minutes of driving I took an exit onto a small road, which then turned into a dirt road. I was surprised with the sudden change in road and had to make a quick stop while I assessed if the car would be able to drive over it. Having rented a 2 wheel car, I wanted to be really sure I didn’t get stuck in the dirt or snow. More on that later, but at this point I felt like the car would make it and I wouldn’t damage anything if I went slow.
I drove down through the national park, admiring the mountains and rock formations. There was a big lake too, and I stopped to take a few pictures here and there. After a bit I saw a tourist stop for a geothermal hot spring spot, Seltun. There was the really strong smell of sulfur everywhere, but it wasn’t bad enough to gag. Of course I was so excited to start my first hiking experience in Iceland that I decided to go all the way up to this far away steam vent on the top of this steep mountain. It took a while to walk up, and the wind was bitter cold, but I made it! Couldn’t see too much because of the steam, but the most interesting part was how the steam was freezing on the strange rocks around the area. Took a few photos and headed back down. I was really freezing so about halfway down I had to take shelter for just a little while by some rocks.
Strolled around the other hot springs, trying to linger by the warm steam so I could warm up. The place really wasn’t incredibly satisfying, but I felt it was worth heading out there instead of staying inside.
For the way back I decided to go the long way, going south first, and then west towards the airport, around the peninsula area and back to Reykjavik. This was a really relaxing drive but I didn’t see too much out of the ordinary, just a lot of rocky landscape. Made my way back to the hostel.
I went out to Bonus again to buy some deli meat, 2 bananas, an apple, mango skyr, bread, and raspberry tea. That raspberry tea lasted me most of the trip, and was really nice to have. Back at the hostel I used the kitchen to make myself a lunch/dinner out of the bread and salami. I sat around talking to an Australian named Louise. Cute girl, and made herself a huge amount of pasta while i drank a lot of tea. After i was satisfied I went downstairs and chilled, and I believe this was also the day I started to read Heart of Darkness. Not exactly the best choice of book for Iceland, but I enjoyed it.
I was also getting a little concerned about Christine’s arrival, since I hadn’t heard from her at all. I wasn’t sure if she was still confirmed to arrive, or what the situation was. Anyhow, I kept it at the back of my mind. Met with Daniel, this sort of strange but nice guy who seemed to live the squatter lifestyle. Hung out, had mango skyr with chopped apple for dinner, and then listened to music at hostel. One great thing about the KEX Hostel was they had live music very often, and usually it was a jazzy band.
After a long day I went to a well deserved sleep.