Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bacon, Boats, and Blue Lagoon

So on Day 3 we went back to Keflavik, picked up our little Suzuki Swift, and headed off to the Blue Lagoon. Because all the guidebooks told us so.

As soon as we turned off the main highway we found ourselves on the Moon.

That's the geothermal power plant in the distance. It is in its byproduct that we would be bathing in minutes.

It was completely off the hook. Turns out, sometime the guidebooks know their shit.

We took a long time lounging around the pond. Afterwards I took full advantage of the fabulous shower and locker room facilities. Ladies, we're talking European hair conditioning products and salon-strength hair dryers!

Emerging from the baths pampered, relaxed, and equipped with soft-serve ice cream we got into our newly acquired wheels and set off for Reykjavik.

On the way, we encountered this:

And a few minutes later this:

It's a Viking ship, we're told. Personally though I thought it was a set of forks. Maybe I was just hungry.

So to celebrate our last time in civilization we had a fantastic dinner at the local Lula-equivalent and then saw a show. It kicked off at midnight (seeing as it was just getting to dusk) so we only managed to stick around for the first two bands...which was totally worth it! Those guys were fantastic. The first outfit was more than ten people strong, including multiple fiddles, a horn section, and an upright bass. Think Arcade Fire meets Beirut. But better. The second group was more of a synth pop-rock situation but also with a fiddle that sometimes got swapped for an accordion. Really wonderful stuff!

Coming up next -- a drive into the middle of nowhere, seals, and trolls.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Scooters, Hot Springs, and Tuborg

Yesterday was fun. So fun in fact that it knocked us off our geriatric feet before 10pm! Thus, we fully enjoyed the wild Reykjavik nightlife on top of our pillows. Go 30's!!

Anyway, before all the slumber we kicked off our day by checking out the Reykjavik museum of photography. As all other things here, it is adorable. Located on the top floor of the municipal building housing a library and an archives, it is basically just one room, showing one exhibit at a time. Here we lucked out because the artist himself was there giving a tour. In Icelandic. So we tagged along, nodding enthusiastically.

Afterwards we wondered over to the harbor, checked out some rusty and some fancy boats, and then rented some Vespas! Told they wouldn't go in the water, it was suggested that we take them for a ride along a seaside road. After some practice figure eights in the docks (I wiped out only once!) we set off. Here, I would like to stop and offer special praise to the wonderful folks at REI who hooked me up with a miracle jacket that somehow blocked all of the icy air and kept me nice and toasty as we zoomed past the coastline. At the end of the ride we came to an old fish-drying hut, behind which is a hidden hot spring. I would guess the water was at least 85F. We toyed with the idea of soaking our feet in it but in the end just dipped our hands and went back.

Some yummy veg snacking followed, topped off with some cheap beer (this time, Tuborg). Then we saw the requisite church, which really is fucking cool, and wondered around the little neighborhoods surrounding it. We saw hipsters, broken basketball hoops, and some excellent graffiti.

I would like to say more but we must run and hit the biggest flea market in Reykjavik before rushing off to pick up our car and taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hello, Iceland!

We landed at just a little after 7am.

Keflavik Airport is easily the most attractive and efficient hub I've ever traveled through. Upon arrival, the passengers from our flight filed into an orderly queue and patiently waited their turn at the passport control. Naturally, I will avoid lines at all cost, so we used the time to simply lounge around and snack, figuring once the wait thins out we'll go up. Before long however, a security guy showed up and headed straight for us. I braced myself but instead of berating us for not following the crowd he welcomed us to Iceland, wished us bon appetit, and suggested that if we'd like to head on upstairs the line should be very short now. Translated into CPD speak "Whachudoin' down here?! Shoo."

Sometime later, while waiting for the (super) shuttle to Reykjavik I popped into a 7-11'ish type joint and armed myself with a baked pecany something. Turns out: crack m'fing cocaine! I am hooked on these things and I don't even know what they're called. Sometime later Creech found me another one downtown Reykjavik and I inhaled it in seconds. No idea what's in it but it's the most heavenly combination of cinnamon, nuts, and flaky pastry coat with some sort of delicious filling. Yummmm.

So yeah, the Downtown Hostel is nicer than most hotels I've stayed at. We've got a private room with our own bathroom and the view of the harbor. Complete with goose down blankies and a parquet floors. Hostel, really?!

The peeps here seem really chill. Most are surprisingly our age, from all over the world. All together we're enjoying the global economic downturn in unison.

Anyway, tomorrow's agenda includes a museum of photography, the wicked-cool looking church, and the seaside fleamarket. And of course in the undying words of Andrew-fucking-Bird: "there will be snacks!"

P.S. It is now just past midnight. This is how dark it gets.