Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Journey's Start - Reykjavik

Okay, we're back.  Jet lag from following the sunset all the way back from Iceland is finally wearing off, our internet is back up after Joel climbed up the tree with the antenna and twisted the broken wire back together.  San Juan County isn't so lucky.  Last Tuesday an underwater fiber optics cable broke in 280 feet of water cutting off internet, land line phones and most cell phones.  It wasn't until Friday that a patched together network returned the internet.  Phones are still a bit wonky, I hear.  Out here in the outer islands we have had less impact other than not being able to call most numbers in the county.  We at least could call the mainland.

So I am gathering my wits to start to write a bit about our adventures.  We sat in our hotel room looking at each other and not believing that we were really and truly in Iceland.  Jet lag definitely added to the sense of unreality.  Our hotel, Center Hotel Skjalbreid was sweet.  An older building, small charming, pleasant on a great street full of neat little shops.  Here's Joel in front of the hotel.  The door was obscure enough that in the dark we kept walking right by it.
 The breakfast room was light and airy and being on the third floor had a view out over the rooftops of Reykjavik.

 We only had two days and those days are short this time of year so we spent most of the time wandering about the city enjoying the sights, the city pond with it's population of whooper swans, greylag geese and mallards, the stony waterfront, and the beautiful Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral.  And shopping for Christmas presents.  I love to bring a little piece of our adventure back to the family at home.
We did get out of the city the first night on a tour looking for the northern lights.  In spite of the fact that it was so cloudy we never saw them we have to admit we had fun driving around the countryside in the total dark while our tour guide regaled us with descriptions of the landscape and sights we couldn't see.  We could see a bank of greenhouses heated and lighted by the geothermal energy that Iceland is determined to use to produce 90% of its energy needs.  And as we drove by one of the geothermal plants we could definitely smell it.  The hot springs the water is coming from are definitely sulphuric.

The tour did deposit us at the Vatnsholt bed and breakfast hotel where we wandered around in the dark hoping the clouds would part.  The hotel dining room was open to warm us up and were serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate, beer, wine, vodka and waffles.  We did see one Icelandic pony looking over a fence wondering what was going on and enjoyed the farm dogs who wandered around visiting with the 200 or so people on the 4 buses who had suddenly appeared in their midst.  On the way back to town we were told that since we didn't see the northern lights that nights our tickets were good for 2 more years and we could try again.  Enough to entice us to go back.

 It was neat to wander around listening to everyone speak Icelandic.  Most everyone also spoke English any time we had a question.  We had dinner at a couple of nice restaurants eating local food, vegetables grown in the greenhouses and whale steaks.

And then it was get up at 3:30 AM to catch the plane to London to meet Siri and continue the adventure in England.


  1. I love the idea of whale steaks Margaret - never seen any whale here for sale. Sorry about your phone connections though.

  2. What an interesting trip. It is great that they use their natural resource for electricity.

  3. Glad to see you all made it back in one piece. It was interesting to meet you all! I was quoting what you said about US politics only a few minutes ago.

    Iceland is a place I'd quite like to go to myself. They're talking of laying a cable from Iceland to the UK so we can import some of that geothermal energy.

    1. We enjoyed meeting you as well. We had such a nice time that evening. A lovely way to cap off a lovely trip. Thank you all of you.