Our plane from JFK to Reykjavik was uneventful except for the young man who was sitting in front of us. I spotted him drinking beer when we first boarded, and I can only assume he also consumed something more “powerful” as his behavior eventually degraded to the point where the flight attendants confined him to one of the bathrooms for an hour or so.
After he was released from the bathroom he sat down, wedged his face in between the seats in front of us and passed out.
I didn’t sleep on the red eye flight, and after an hour driving through Iceland’s trade mark fog and rain in our rental car, we spotted an Ikea. Jean remembered reading that Ikea is a popular breakfast place in Iceland and we were in desperate need of coffee. Sure enough, even though we were the first people there, the place soon filled up with hungry people. It was cafeteria style and the woman who made my waffle was VERY eager to cover it with chocolate. I had to tell her “No” several times. She seemed saddened by this.
The rain eventually cleared up on the drive to our Bed & Breakfast. We saw many lamb and beautiful horses along the road and in the mountains. In fact, the restaurant we ate at that night had beautiful things on the menu.
Breakfast at our Bed & Breakfast included waffles, but our host didn’t try to push any chocolate toppings. we met two couples from Canada who were riding motorcycles around Iceland. One of them was a chef and commented that he tried the beautiful horse at the restaurant. He felt it was over cooked .
We left our rented car behind and took a ferry to Heimaey Island, one of the Westman Islands. We’re not full fledged birders, but brought our binoculars on a 5 Kilometer trail along the sea cliffs of the island in an effort to see Puffins. We saw many birds and sea lions before finally spotting a Puffin that was flying out to sea and then back to it’s nest. Our walk to the end of the island had lasted about four hours and we forgot to bring snacks. Ruth, the woman who ran our B&B said that if we didn’t feel like walking back from the end of the island, people who drove out there would be glad to give us a ride back. Eventually, people in a SUV drove up to the plaque we just read, never got out of their car, and took off back to the other end of the Island. It was a hungry three hour walk back. I thought about waffles covered in Chocolate.
A volcanic eruption occurred on Heimaey in 1973 burying a good portion of the town and increasing the size of the Island. The next day we hiked up Eldfell, the now dormant volcano. While climbing we were hit with fog, rain, wind and at some moments, clear skies. As we approached the top of the rim of the crater, a rain cloud moved in causing the German tourists ahead of us disappeared in the mist. It also made for this cool photo.
I really don’t know if they were German, but they didn’t return a hello to me except for one person who mumbled something in German. I think. It makes for a good title to my post anyway.
Heat vents at the top of the volcano are still fairly hot and will warm you up and dry you off. Our host, Ruth baked bread up here in the heat vents until recently. She told us that it’s cooled off and is only hot enough for fondue now.
We walked down the side of the volcano to what is basically the lava field created in 73. The landscape is barren and covered only in moss and some interesting pink plants.
We also stopped by the Natural History Museum on Heimaey and met Toti, a rescued Puffin. He (or she-they’re not really sure) lives at the museum and has the run of the place.
Hiemaey’s main industry is fishing so they have a great array of ships to sketch! We hated to leave.
Everywhere we went in Iceland, signs warned us that we could be burned, fall to our death and or be crushed by falling rocks. It was great! Strokkur Geysir had a sign warning you that you should NOT put your hand in the water running down the rocks as it could scald you and the nearest hospital was 47 Kilometers away. Of course I saw a few people test the water with their hands.
Mainland Iceland was also amazing, if a bit more full of tourists than Heimaey Island. There are many hitchhikers and we picked up a woman from Boston who was not afraid to hitch rides in Iceland due to the low murder rate. According to her, Iceland had one murder last year.
As with most adventures, our trip ended with Vikings, and not chocolate covered Waffles as I had expected. Actually, it ended with a Viking ship. A museum dedicated to a Viking ship a sailor built and sailed to America in 2000. I sketched it.