Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 2, 3, 4, 5 - Leaving Reykjavik, Sytikkisholmur, a ferry, Ísafjörður, and finally Holmavik (sort of)

No internet access tonight in the Hotel Laugarhöll, so I'm writing this offline and hope to post it tomorrow on our way through Holmavik. (Turns out there was a very weak signal - posted tonight.)

The good news is that we have plenty of time here, so I can get caught up in offline mode.

Let's see now.... we left you in Reykjavik. On saturday, we arrived at the Mac store an hour after it closed and discovered that it isn't open on Sundays. I brought my Ipod to play music in the car for the drive, you see, but orgot to bring a "connect to the car" cord, or a "recharge from the computer" cord. Darn.

We had dinner at the Tapas Barinn in Reykjavik. Wonderful! Delightful! Sangria! I love tapas as a style more and more as I try it in various places and in Iceland, with its variety of products from the sea, it's even more delighful. Puffin and whale were on the menu! You can try a wide variety of things from the menu because the portions are so tiny, the arrangements on the plate are visually exciting, you can stop when you're full and not feel like you're wasting anything, and you can stretch the meal as long or as short as you wish into the evening as a result.

Day 3, also known as Sunday, sees us driving to Sytikkisholmur via Eirikstaðir. Eirikstaðir is a small museum on the site of what is thought to be Eirik the Red's first married homestead. It was occupied for only 10-20 years before he had to move on "due to some killings". The museum itself has a small staff shack, a set of washrooms, a half dozen full sized poster boards with the site history in four languages (Icelandic, English, German, and one of the scandinavian languages). Just slightly uphill from the signs is the actual remains - covered over again but with the wall outline shown as at L'anse Aux Meadows.

Neil tries to give us some perspective on just how small the house is - 4m by 12m.

A few yards off to one side is the reconstructed house where you find the re-enactors.

Their presentation is entirely in third person story telling. They talk through the story of Eirik and Leifr - birth, exile, new lands, all of it. The hall is fairly nice, and like the houses at L'anse Aux Meadows it cuts out the outside wind-noise perfectly. Neil thinks they have too much stuff 'though - multiple spears, a sword, multiple axes, many shields, sheepskins everywhere, bric a brac tucked in every corner, lots of clothes on the walls.

This nice lady (who's name we failed to get) humoured the crazy Canuck and held Snorri still against the wind so I could take his picture.

In Sytikkisholmur, we stayed at the Hotel Sytikkisholmur, which had sticky internet service that was nowhere near a power outlet (as mentioned in the previous post). Dinner was lovely 'though but I've already forgotten what I had. I emailed it to Vandy as she requested and it promptly left my brain. I'd check my sentmail, but gosh, I'm writing offline.

On Day 4, also known as Monday, we got up early enough to get some gas and to be at the ferry at 8:20am. I was up even earlier then I'd hoped because the bed was too hard, and sunrise happens here at 4 bloody am. I have yet to meet any form of accomodation here that understands the concept of blackout cloth or blinds or those of us afflicted with light activated brains.

Neil answered a directional question from another tourist just before we hit the ferry - in French!

The ferry ride was fun, if a bit.... windy. The wind, by the way, is all out of the north so far, so it effectively drops the temperature. Don't get me wrong - in Iceland, outdoors is almost always better then indoors, but it can take some getting acclimated. Neil tried to take some bird pictures while Karen hid from the wind just around the corner.

When we landed at Brjanslækur, we turned right and drove 6km to Flokalunda for lunch.

And then the fun began.

Where 'fun' becomes synomonous with words like 'terrifying' and phrases like 'oh my freaking god' and 'Oh god, oh god, we're all going to die!' Serenity fans should know that last one. Neil tried "I am a leaf on the wind" just once and I had to remind him that the character did die right after that line!

Let's just say the drive to Ísafjörður was.... a tad.... interesting. Lots of blind curves, blind hills, sharp drops from large cliffs too close to the road for comfort, steep inclines (up and down) - and did I mention narrow and roughly unpaved?

We took a brief break from the driving terror to visit, and climb several terraces up, around Dynjandi. This group of waterfalls is 186m tall in total and is comprised of many different smaller waterfalls on the way down, each of which is indvidually named. At the main fall off the cliff, the top spread is 30m, widening to 60m at it's base.

Just to give you some perspective on that height - see that road just in front of the fjord? And the little brown circle (aka the parking lot)? You can't really see the cars from this close to the top....

And here's one of us in front of the main fall, courtesy of fellow tourists returning the favour.

so..... this was Monday, and we lived to arrive in Ísafjörður. But I was so tired that even though we had great internet and a wonderful meal ... I went to bed quite early, and even slept through sunrise at 4 bloody am, right until a rather decent 8ish am.

Day 5, otherwise known as Tuesday, sees our inteprid couple driving in zig zags around these annoying obstacles called fjords - no straight lines here!

Also, a few amusing obstacles, known as sheep....

No special stops along the way here but the road was much much better then the day before and there was lots of interesting scenery.

Tomorrow, we'll be stopping at the Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery in Holmavik and the sheep farming museum about 12 km just outside of Holmavik on our way to Blondous.

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