Hello from Stykkisholmur

Cosy here at the Harbour Hostel. This is the largest town on the Snaefellsness Peninsula, 1150 occupants. Our room looks right out on to the harbor, which is full of fishing boats. There’s a big hill across the way, where the lighthouse stands. And the wind is just whipping off the water and along side the town. The town is strangely silent because all you hear is the wind. I have had to put double barrettes in my hair and my new hat on firmly to keep from being blinded while trying to take pictures. Although this morning, when I woke up, my hair was standing up off my head in an inverted comma shape, courtesy of the silica from the Blue Lagoon. It was easily the most impressive bed-head I have ever had. It literally looked like I had help an inverted comma above my head and shellacked my hair into place.

Yesterday after landing, we headed directly to the Blue Lagoon. It was incredible. You can’t even see your feet when you look down. It is full of super rich algae and silica and you cake yourself with it and let it dry like a mask. Of course, with the whipping wind, you don’t really want to hang out above water and dry out. It definitely took care of the blisters I had managed to raise on the soles of my feet. It was so great to just soak in the really warm water and move only to find a hotter spot. I had put a lot of conditioner in my hair – they warn you ahead of time about getting the mud in your hair but it wasn’t quite enough. So while the rest of you is super soft, your hair gets crazy.

Afterwards we made our way into Reykjavik to check into our hotel. It used to be the Faroese Sailors Home and now is just a hotel that they run which benefits said sailors. Very simple and very clean. We walked from there down into the center of town in the quest for dinner. The search for dinner took us several hours because Eliza was certain that the perfect restaurant was just around the corner. The criteria were: had to serve Icelandic food, there had to be people in it, had to have vegetarian options and it couldn’t be ridiculously overpriced. And the last criteria we added was no nachos on the menu. In our quest for this, I earned my 20,000 steps for the day. And ultimately, we ate dinner at the Scandinavian Brasserie which we had passed on the quest and ended up looping back for. Their disqualifying factor was the Scandinavian in their name. The food was good and sufficiently unusual that I think it met the Icelandic criteria!

Today we decided that we would head out here to the Snaefellsness Peninsula and spend today and tomorrow exploring West Iceland and then head back east to go to the other side, with Friday being the day for snorkeling at Silfra. It was about a 170km drive here and on the way in we stopped at the famous Saga Settlement House museum which tells the story of Iceland settlement history. It was really well done and impressive to think that people have been coming here since the 800s. I learned a lot of Icelandic history.

To get to this side, we went into a tunnel that is about 6km long and descends so deep, you wonder when you will come out, if ever. I have never traveled through the intestine of a dragon but I thought that was a good description of what the tunnel looked and felt like. The walls weren’t smooth, instead they were the volcanic rock and it was narrow and dim and went on forever. It also saves you about 80km of driving.

There are geothermal pools here too. With the end of the summer, they might already be closed. I will have to check that out. With as cold as the weather is and the wind, those pools are definitely a treat.

Going to look for the Northern Lights tonight too. So much of this trip reminds me of going to the Yukon with Mom in 2012. Same parka, hot springs, looking for the Northern Lights I like to think I have her close by. And in proper Mom spirit, I have been taking pictures with her big camera of anything.

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