Iceland – Days 3 & 4 (Holmvik, fjords, Reykholt & Bifrost)
I woke up bright and early Friday morning. I cursed my lack of forethought regarding earplugs (something I resolved to always travel with after the beer guy and I spent the weekend in Bend over Memorial Day and I was awakened obscenely early every morning by the loudest birds in the history of the world). I will also never again travel without a sleeping mask, lotion, and every hair product known to humankind (I am still upset about my hot-spring damaged locks).
I rolled over, hid my face, and managed to pretend I was asleep for another couple of hours. Finally, I was forced to give in to the inevitable – the looming checkout time. I roused myself, showered, conditioned 100 times, and then headed out for coffee and breakfast.
I ended up at the Loki Cafe just up the street where I had a delightful coffee and NOT the cream cheese and marmalade bagel I ordered. Instead, my bagel had ham, cheese, hard boiled eggs, and some kind of yogurt sauce. It was pretty good – and it least it didn’t have the “mushed fish” that the woman next to me ordered.
After breakfast, I got in the car and headed north to the West Fjords.
The drive was gorgeous. And horrible. And stressful. And so pretty. And also, sheep.
So much pretty – but so few places to safely pull over and take pictures. And then, the wind picked up. And then, the rain. And then, fog thicker than I’ve ever seen it during a rain storm meant I couldn’t see the road at all, but there was nowhere to pull over (and no shoulder markers – only the center line marker).
And before that – I drove UNDER a fjord. I drove through a 6km tunnel. Under water. That was a bit claustrophobic making. then, I drove OVER two fjords. Less claustrophobia, but not so fun for other reasons.
Finally, though, I made it to Holmvik. I took a few pictures and then headed in to my primary destination – the Holmvik Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery.
It looked super sketchy from the outside – and even though I was expecting that, it gave me pause. BUT – I’d driven three hours to get there, through wind and rain very long under water tunnels, so I was going in.
It was fantastic! So interesting! Twenty-two people were burned for witchcraft in Iceland at the height of the European witch trials (and in Iceland, all but one were men). Reading about the history of witchcraft and sorcery and about those sentenced to death over it was fascinating. One of the men burned for witchcraft claimed as one of the crimes worth mentioning – creating spells to cause women to fart.
After Holmvik, I headed 30 minutes south to my hotel in the middle of nowhere. I stopped for a few pics and got to admire the view now that we were no longer socked in by fog.
I checked in to my hotel and as soon as the dining room opened, went for my dinner.
Saturday – i.e. the best day ever.
I got up much earlier Saturday morning – before 8 am! 🙂 I packed up and headed out to the free hotel breakfast. Y’all, I know I’m Scandinavian, but I think that I cannae subsist on the sheer amount of smoked, mushy fish that are part of everything. There was rye bread (my least favorite), swiss cheese, hard boiled eggs, and like…buckets of fish stuff. There was also yogurt and granola, so obviously that’s the direction I went. (I’m pretty hit or miss on fish in general, but am generally very miss on anything smoked [except gouda], so smoked fish = no.) And coffee. Obviously coffee.
After breakfast, I drove around the nearest fjords – Porskafjörður and Berufjörður. I once again cursed the lack of safe pull over spaces, but managed to find a few places to get some pics. They are gorgeous (GORGE-ous), but don’t capture the true beauty I could see with my eyes.
After fjording, I headed back south and drove through that ridiculous wind some more. It was a beautiful drive – made more so by the fact that it was clearer than the day before, so I could see more scenery – and more sheep.
Eventually I made it to Reykholt – my number one destination for this trip. Why? You might ask? Because of the OS (Original Saga-ist) Snorri Sturluson. This was his home town – where he was born, lived, and died.
I got to see his fancy bathing pool.
This is where the awesome pics of Reykholt should be. But do you know what? Every single picture I took on the fancy camera in Reykholt and in the fjords looks like this:
I cannae even begin to tell you how upsetting that is. These were supposed to be the cornerstone of my trip, and a way to get a really good photo to complete one of my 40 before 40 goals – take a good photo and have it framed. I am heartbroken.
There had been some archeological digs, but sadly they were mostly not visible/not there/covered up. The museum was very interesting, and it delighted me that the subject of the book I’m researching (a very much fiction book that will take place during Snorri’s time) mentioned the protagonist of the story – someone that I’ve only seen mentioned by name a couple of times in all my previous digging.
I bought a couple things at the gift store – little souvenirs for me, my kiddo, and my favorite adult person – but things were wicked expensive there, and I did a lot of *head cocked* “am I really converting that correctly? Oh, yes. Yes I am. So sorry, beer guy, about not getting that hand carved beer glass with protective runes on it. It was really cool. REALLY cool. But…I thought my funds would be better spent buying you Icelandic beer instead of an overpriced, hand-carved, potentially magical beer glass. Forgive me?
As I was getting ready to leave Reykholt, I was struck with an aural migraine. I’ve been getting them every 7-10 days for the last few months, and I am less than impressed with this. I had to stop driving for about 20 minutes before I could continue. At that point, I just headed to my hotel, had a late lunch, and chillaxed until check-in.
After hanging in the room for a bit, I decided to go down to check out the night life. Of which there isn’t much. So I wrote. And chatted with friends. And drank beers. The bar scene was…non-existent. By 9:30, I was the only person in the bar. This is not excluding the bartender. It was seriously just me.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my last day in Iceland and the exciting trip home!