Jul 27, 2006

Views of Snaefellsjokull

Trying not to think about this being our next-to-last day in Iceland. But...we can see the elusive peak of Snaefellsjokull today; surely that must be good karma. That must mean we're coming back!

On the good karma scale: the weather has cleared up, and no rain means we can go horseback riding; we have only lost one thing this entire trip (Pete's swim suit got left behind at the hot springs pool yesterday); we all are in possession of our passports.

On the bad karma scale: horseback riding here costs a lot more than on Heimaey; our guides are a little more cautious for our safety, which means a slower pace; we can't visit Litla Hruan/Little Lava. Oh, and John is about to lose his wallet.

It's a great day for a two-and-a-half hour horseback ride. This is Peter's second horseback ride in his life! It is cloudy and cool but the cloud cover isn't low, which means we can also see the Eldborg volcano and lots of other interesting sights. I have a horse that is "go-ey," a term that means active. Our guides are Emma (whom I met yesterday) and Sara. Emma is a horsewoman from France, and Sara is an Icelandic college student; both of them are working here for the summer. I ask Emma if she misses French wine, and she replies no, that she doesn't drink. I ask her how she enjoys Icelandic food, but unfortunately she doesn't enjoy much of it: she's vegetarian. Hmm, not eating fish leaves you with few options in Iceland. I ride next to Emma and learn a lot about Icelandic horses and their unique gaits, dressage, and all kinds of things pertaining to horses.

Pete, Sara, Emma and horses

Back at the cabin we enjoy the steamy hot tub. All of our muscles are relaxing in the heat, except John's. John's muscles are not relaxed. John's muscles are very tense. While John was tolting around the Icelandic lava fields his wallet s-l-o-w-l-y worked it's way o-u-t of his pocket! John doesn't admit defeat easily, let me tell you. He goes to look for his wallet, conscripting Pete and Gabe to help him. They end up retracing the entire horseback ride, on foot. When I see that they have returned 1) without smiles, and 2) without the wallet, I refrain from asking them if they tolted all the way.

Quote from John:
There was something out there. I don't know what it was. Maybe it was trolls who stole my wallet. I'll have to find out and write a saga of my own.
Oooh ooooh! Sounds like...another trip to Iceland! A discovery trip! John finds out if huldafolk have his wallet, and that he must bargain with them to get it back! Will he sell his soul? His wife? A hint: in the upcoming series, John bargains with the huldafolk by promising them...his two cats and his joint-custody dog Foo! Uh oh, is divorce on the horizon? Will Darien permit family members to be sold off in this callous manner? Tune in...

We drive back to Reykjavik, after a stop at a police station in Bogarnes to report the missing wallet (they weren't too interested...they also weren't wearing policeman uniforms...definetly the casual look in Iceland). Three Sisters has room for us again tonight! It feels like coming home to be chatting with Thor and Sonja, and back in our "old" room. We haven't had many meals out lately, so we treat ourselves to a very special meal for our last night in Reykjavik. The restaurant we select is near Wincie's cathedral, in the old part of town.

Vid Tjornin is a charming place (Tjornin is the name of the small lake in the center of Reykjavik, nearby), and has a casually elegant charm: floral wallpaper, lots of vintage china, old photos, a nice view from the windows. Peter says he has never eaten in such a fancy place, and that he is glad his job at Bottega has taught him how to! Tonight is a record for the trip: $275. USD--that is with three entrees for four people, and two desserts shared among four. No wine. It is worth it though (especially since we are under budget for the trip).

The table next to us has a mix of people from Iceland and visitors from various European countries. The hosts treat one of the men to hakarl (putrefied shark, aged for 5 months or so), washed down with Brennevin (liquor made with potatoes and caraway). Gabe, Pete and I are very eager to treat John to this national delicacy, but he declines our offer. Darn, now that would have been entertaining.

I call Gunnella and her Dad Thor and make dates for tomorrow. The "boys" hang out until 3 or 4 am, meeting up with various groups of young people and perfecting the Icelandic words Ja and Nei.

Meanwhile, John and I walk around the city until late in the evening looking for Skarphedinsdottir's gallery, but it has moved. We hear live music several places: good jazz, and blues in Icelandic, which is kind of weird. Late night, good weather, people young and old wandering all over the city. Too bad the evening has to end!


Gunnella said...

Aww it´s almost over.. love reading the travelouge, seeing the photos and the drawings :-D

Joel said...

This is all pure saga, I don't want it to end.

Rose said...

I didn't want it to end either! Joel, are you considering keeping a blog of your Korean adventures?