22.08.2016 - 24.08.2016 20 °C
Monday morning saw us heading to the west - we stopped off at the turf church in Vidimyrarkirkja and although all the signs said it was open and listed an admission fee, all the doors were closed and we kept our ISK in our wallets. From there we continued to Gauksmyrartjorn and had a picnic lunch beside the bird watching hut there. There were no birds to be seen, even when using the expensive telescope thoughtfully provided in the hut. While the telescope was a nice touch, the design of the hut had essentially made it into an oversized fly trap, which was less than ideal.
We kept heading in a roughly westerly direction, stopping to admire the scenery and purchase refreshments as needed. We ran into our Austrian friends at one lookout, and also managed to unintentionally upset a German lady who felt that she and her busload of mates were more entitled to park at the view point than we were. Terrible.
We unsuccessfully tried to pick up hitchhikers twice (before AND after Kirkjufell) and eventually made it to Arnastapi and most Icelandic house we had stayed in so far. As we pulled up in the drive way, we spotted some whales having a rocking good time out in the bay. We had a wild and crazy night in, doing a jigsaw puzzle and partaking in some Icelandic gin. Excellent.
The next morning we were given more sunshine, which we used to our advantage, taking in the views over the west coast and climbing up to see the rainbow slicing through Bjarnafoss. From there we moved back east, pausing at our new favourite coffee shop in the middle of nowhere (Rjukandi) before driving through an 11 kilometre tunnel under the water to get us back to Reykjavik. We had one final stroll around the city, dinner at the Chuck Norris grill (aw we miss Chuck...) and then traipsed out to the tourist mecca that is the Blue Lagoon. We navigated the check-in process and the bathroom process, and then commenced the relaxation process. Warm water, lava landscapes, setting sun, silica mud masks... ahh. An iconic way to spend our last night in Iceland, and an ideal chill-out opportunity after some mad rushing around and waterfall chasing adventures. Just wonderful.
Unfortunately this morning was considerably less zen - another one of those early morning trips to the airport, I'm afraid. We'd been warned, we'd been told horror stories and we'd been scared into getting to Keflavik airport as early as possible and so it was that Harald took us for his final journey at 4am. Such joy. I'm afraid that all the youthful invigorating and skin rejuvenating effects of the Blue Lagoon were completely negated by the three hours of sleep. We got to the airport on schedule, returned Harald and zombied our way into the departures department. Simon earned a gold star by scoring a perfect 20.0 on the luggage weigh in, and Icelandic airport security earned a gold star by being the most efficient security process we've been subjected to so far. Suddenly it was 6am and we were checked in, boarding passes in hand. We experienced the delightful sensation of having plenty of time in the airport and spent the last of our ISK on duty free deliciousness, duty free sun protection and, most importantly, breakfast - now that we were awake enough to eat it.
We caught a bus out to our plane, and the next few hours were a blur of trying to sleep, trying not to laugh at the lady buying one of everything from the inflight store five minutes before landing, and trying to choose my favourite Icelandic musician from the inflight entertainment system. Kudos to IcelandAir for their stylish uniforms, and kudos to Iceland in general for their rather attractive population on the whole.
At 7.50am our Icelandic adventure officially ended, and at 12.20pm the Norwegian one began - but without any stamps in the passport! Heartbreaking. Transiting out of Oslo airport and into Snaefellsnes (our new car, and Belinda's new favourite word) took longer than anticipated, but we were pleased to discover an in-car navigation device, thus absolving me of all navigational responsibilities. We eventually made it to our Airbnb apartment and met our hosts, only to hear Spanish spoken instead of the Norwegian we had expected. Because you never know who you are going to run into in this world.
Once we had settled ourselves in, we found the closest food source and settled for McDonald's and Subway because when you are tired and hungry you tend to prioritise convenience over quality and cultural experiences. There's a time and a place for everything in life - this was the time, this was the place.
After grocery shopping (thank goodness for free wifi and google translate in supermarkets) and bus ticket buying, it was time for lifestyle channel watching, taco cooking, tea drinking and chocolate eating. And tomorrow we take on Oslo!