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ICELAND | Wednesday, 22 June 2011 | Views [732] | Comments [2]

Snaefellnes Peninsula

Snaefellnes Peninsula

Oh what a long day.  I went on the Snaefellnes Peninsula tour with Reykjavik Excursions.  It was a lot of sitting on a bus and frequently getting off to walk around, then getting back on the bus to head to another location.  It was a lot smaller group than my other day trip, so we took this smaller older bus where it bounced a lot and the trunk kept popping open, much to the dismay of the passengers who actually stored their luggage back there.  I saw some beautiful locations and the guide gave us a bit of Viking history because a lot of the sagas pertained to places in the areas we were visiting.  The language in Iceland is still the old Nordic that the Viking sagas were written in, so it's pretty similar to what it was 1,000 years ago; Thor and Odin are still popular names.  The biggest myth that seemed to cause the most doubt out of my group, comprised of mostly Americans, was about this one Icelandic woman who went with her husband to Greenland, and then traveled to North America and was pregnant, gave birth to a son in America but then were forced away from the lands because of conflicts with the Native Americans.  This would have placed her and her family 500 years before Columbus as the first Europeans to discover North America. Our guide said they recently replicated a Viking ship from 1000 AD and sailed it to Greenland and then to Canada without any major problems... except this ship also had GPS.

We hiked along some gorgeous cliffs along the sea, and then headed down one beach covered in volcanic rocks, and of course passed through huge lava fields which are very prevalent all along the highways I've seen so far.  There was only once scenic railing throughout the whole day; otherwise you had to be super careful while looking down at the views from up top because those cliffs had a sheer drop down to the jagged rocks below.  I finally got to experience that Icelandic wind, and yes, that makes things a LOT colder.  We stopped at this tiny cottage for lunch and I ordered a tea and a fish soup, which is a common restaurant item here.  It's a little hard for me to describe, because there's obviously some cream in it but it's not thick like clam chowder.  Also since this was probably the only restaurant in the area they could charge a lot for food.  I got nice thick slices of bread with butter with my meal, but the soup cost about $16, and there were probably 5 small pieces of fish in there total.  Eating outside has been very expensive here in general; the only thing that is actually cheaper is all the coffee drinks.  It might even be more expensive than London.  In my younger days I would have packed a bunch of instant noodles and used that as one meal every day but as I discovered once I traded my hostels for hotels, eating fresh food is a lot more satisfying.

Once we finished all our walking and photo stops it was over a 12-hour day so I finally put the camera away after hundreds of photos, a lot taken on the bus ride too where I'm sure less than 40% will be in focus.  I think digital cameras need a “car mode” that takes into account the kind of focus you need while you're on a moving vehicle and shooting through glass.  Tried to get some sleep but the bus way too bumpy (I've had smoother horse rides) and I just wound up either banging my head against the window or almost falling out my seat when I did try to shut my eyes.

When I got back into town I checked into my “deluxe” single room, which has a bigger bed and an actual shower door (yay!).  And it has actual walls where the window used to be in my old room so the  room can actually get dark(er).  The room is located at the end of the hallway though, a half-level below the rest of the floor, so I had to bang my huge luggage down the staircase.  But at least no more snoring neighbor!  Since it was already past 8 when I got back I dropped off my luggage and then headed into the city center for dinner.  I chose Cafe Paris, which seemed to be a popular place.  The whole inside was booked so I had to pick a table outside where all the Europeans were smoking and the seagulls were doing some reconnaissance flybys right over my head.  Oh and of course the waitress pulled out an iPad when she took my order.  I guess that's convenient for orders and paying, but it was funny because she had to store it in her belt and walk around with it and had to awkwardly draw it out whenever she went to another table.  I had the lasagna, which was surprisingly a decent size, and it came with a side salad and no dressing.  It's been a long time since I've actually had this green vegetable stuff!

Tomorrow I am going snorkeling, but not until noon which means I can actually sleep in tomorrow.  I haven't been able to do the hotel buffet breakfast the past 2 days because I've had to catch the early bus to go on my trips.  But tomorrow I am sitting and stuffing my face for an hour.  Then I need to decide what to do the rest of my time here: maybe horseback-riding or whale watching.  I don't even care about the whales so much since I don't think Reykjavik is going to be the best area for spotting them; I just want to see some puffins.  Iceland fun fact: you can dine on both whales and puffins here and it's not considered weird.  Oh, and Greenland shark is a specialty here, but the shark is poisonous because of its urine, which it releases through its skin, so to eat it it has to be buried underground for 3 months, and then hung out to dry for another 3 months so it's cured.  Then you're supposed to eat just a little of it because it tastes so bad, and then wash it down with Black Death, i.e. Icelandic beer.



Nice hip-pack

  Louise Jun 23, 2011 2:10 PM


I like it because it says, "Hey, I'm a tourist, try to steal my wallet."

  Diana Jun 23, 2011 8:31 PM

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