So many highlights, so little time to capture them all.
I’m going to try to let our photos do much of the talking for me.
How wonderful it was to spend time with our dear friends, Sharmon and Luis, who took us to dinner at a fantastic Argentinian restaurant. It was an evening of great food and great company!
But first we toured their new business venture, currently under construction. That blue area to the right in the above photo? That will be a gorgeous infinity pool. Best of all — there will be zumba and yoga classes offered in another area of the building.
If you’re longing for a panoramic view, all you need to do is ride the chairlift to Campanario Hill.
Not satisfied with staying in the usual viewing area, we explored further and found this monument. I asked one of my new friends, Karen, to take my photo, and she did exactly as requested.
BUT, she went above and beyond. She thought it important to show how hard I had to work to get way up to that cross. It was a rather steep climb, which is probably why it is not part of the usual tourist experience!
Next was a nature walk with our local guide, Fernando.
That was just a warm up. Lunch at a family owned brewery would include a tasting, so we moved on for some serious hiking.
It is hard to gauge how high up we managed to get from this photo, but my iPhone said we did the equivalent of 66 flights of stairs. My Fitbit thinks it was closer to 100. I think I’m going with the Fitbit.
Whatever the true number, we were all quite pleased with ourselves.
Growing up, I remember watching an old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby movie entitled “The Road to Morocco”. It may have been the first “buddy” road trip movie ever made. It was a comedy that got its laughs from the strange costumes and mishaps that the two “buddies”encountered during their travel.
You’re probably thinking “yeah, so what’s the point? Well, unlike my usual digressions, there actually IS a point, that point being that at times I FEEL like I’m in a buddy movie. Perhaps that’s what happens when you travel with 14 of your friends.
We haven’t had as many mishaps as Bing and Bob, but we HAVE had our share of comedic moments.
Those of us who didn’t feast on fermented shark were greatly entertained by the facial expressions of Sam and Nancy. Believe me, they definitely weren’t acting.
SOME of us hiked to a nature reserve in a volcanic crater, on the coast. The hard part was SUPPOSED to be the climb down to the “flat”area, except the FLAT area was actually a bed of mud with rocks poking up haphazardly.
We, however, were undaunted. A bit muddy, a bit wet, but definitely undaunted.
Odd costumes? Yep, we had a few of those.
If YOU had been experiencing misty, windy weather, would you want to get on a boat to go chasing after whales? Neither did 10 of us. Instead, we elected to have a leisurely breakfast, a stroll through the botanical garden, and lunch in town. No mishaps and no funny costumes for us.
The whale watchers, on the other hand, had both. Sorry. No photos of them in their bright blue jump suits. All we got were very vivid descriptions of the experience from our participants. Sharmon reported sighting “two whales and nineteen puking passengers”. Fortunately none of our five were in her head count. Even more fortunate, the sea sick whale watchers had the foresight to come equipped with plastic bags. That presents another question. If you thought you were going to need them, would YOU get on the boat?
In the afternoon, eleven of us (including four from the morning adventure) decided to try our luck riding Icelandic horses. I’m happy to say that there was not a single incidence of motion sickness. We DID manage to model some pretty funky outfits.
Is it my imagination, or do some of us look like we are on our way to fight a fire?
Our ride took us through magnificent scenery. The air was clear and fresh smelling, unless you happened to be riding behind Diane. HER horse was desperately in need of the equine version of bean-o, emitting noises that would have had most third graders in hysterics. (Okay, so WE laughed too. )
Because we took so long getting fitted with helmets, choosing our trusty steeds, mounting and dismounting, we were running late for our dinner reservation. Modern technology came to the rescue. A google search for the restaurant phone number and a quick call via cell phone, and voila, problem solved.
We ended our “buddy movie” on a high note, having a great dinner at Strikiò Restaurant.
We were on a mission, leaving rainy Reykjavík in search of sunshine. Would we need to squander one of our three wishes on a request for some respite from the rain? Read on, if you want to find out.
First up on our way to Stykkishólmur was a stop at a wool studio.
When I had initially learned that the itinerary would exchange a visit to a waterfall for a wool demonstration, I was a bit distressed. Was I ever wrong! The presentation was quite wonderful. The explanation of the chemistry involved in dyeing wool was fascinating. In the OLD days, cow’s urine was a key ingredient; it has since been replaced with ammonia, and not just because of the smell, although that alone was a good enough reason for me. The problem is today it is too difficult to collect. The cows are allowed to roam free and don’t take too kindly to someone following them around with a bucket. The urine of old women also had characteristics that produced a particular color. I don’t remember the color or the age requirement, I DO remember several of us volunteered to donate.
Our next stop was at the Settlement Center in Borgarnes, where we were treated to a very interesting Norse history, including an opportunity to stand on the bow of a moving Viking ship.
Lunch in the second floor restaurant was delicious: a choice of tomato or lamb soup and a salad bar chock full of my favorite items. A nice surprise was that this lunch was now included, where at one time it wasn’t. Given the high price of food in Iceland, this was a welcome change.
Today’s drive was a long one, blessedly broken up by several stops. Here we are viewing vertical lava flows. Our guide explained the geology behind this particular effect. I promptly forgot it.
Finally, we arrived at Mount Helgafell, where, if you climb to the top without speaking and don’t look back, you can face the east and make three wishes. They have to be of positive intent, and you can’t tell anyone what they are.
Being a generous soul, I gave one of my wishes for the good of our entire planet, (excluding Russia), one for Mike and me and one for a family member in need of a wish. We’ll see if the Viking version of prayer works. (At least none of us got turned into a pillar of salt!)
Mt Helgafell deserves a few more photos, so here goes:
The ascent was rather easy, because the path was well maintained, and the view was worth every step. Although we hadn’t really found the sun, at least it wasn’t raining, and there were some patches of blue in the sky.
Our second day on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula was also quite full, starting with a visit to a waterfall. This short video, done by Mike, captures the beauty of the waterfall better than any of my photos, but if you don’t want to hop over to YouTube, this is for you.
Kathy expressed an interest in bird life, so Hlynur took her for a little walk in a nesting area. Wonder what happened? Mike managed to get this action shot of Kathy being dive bombed by an angry mama bird.