Iceland has the nicest people…just thought I’d mention that again.
We left Husavik in the morning and headed out east…this was our last full day exploring before taking the camper back. We stopped briefly at a shopping mall in Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland with only 18,000 people. I wanted to stop here for the Subway…probably the restaurant I’ve given the most money to in my life. I was ecstatic when I saw they had spinach and avocado here for the sandwiches…first time I’ve seen that since California. We briefly perused the mall, which as expected was similar to other malls in the world…they even had a Toys R Us!
We wanted to check out the seals, and we ended up in this town called Hvammstangi (great name) and chatted with some locals at the tourist office. They were extremely laid back and helpful, checking the tide levels for their town as well as another town further east to determine the best option for us to see the seals. We decided to drive about thirty minutes up the peninsula in hopes of catching some members of a local seal colony. We saw a few, but only one within a good viewing distance without binoculars. This is where a better zoom lens would help, as I could only get a shot that resembled a seal (not even worth posting)…it reminded me of those vague bigfoot pictures hikers always take. I know I’m spoiled by San Diego, because I immediately thought of La Jolla Cove where dozens of sea lions frequently just lay out on the shore practically posing for photos.
Driving for a bit longer we eventually made it to our primary destination, a town called Bifrost that’s home to the Grabrock volcano. You’d think a volcano would be easy to see from the road, but we ended up asking for directions at a local university. There was an annual fest going on, where the students form teams and play football on a wet, soapy tarp…much like a ‘slip and slide’.
We were immediately approached by one of the organizers, who invited us to stay and even offered us free beer…once again the niceness of the Iceland locals shines through! We couldn’t turn this down, and ended up hanging out for a bit. We started up a conversation with another woman who was starting law school at the university next semester. She was so excited she offered us a tour of the school, and without thinking I quickly accepted for all of us, overriding Tim’s disinterest. We ended up on one of the most mundane tours ever…a law school that resembled an educational facility from the early 1980s. Our tour guide gleefully showed us the classroom, the copy room, and the pictures of previous alumni…so unique, just like every other school in the world. But like I said…Icelanders are super nice so we reciprocated and were polite and acted interested. The one cool thing was a display of old computers, especially a commodore that looked to have an old cassette player that predated disk drives…hopefully this was only an exhibit and not meant to be used by students!
After our re-introduction to college life, we finally made it to the volcano and did the somewhat grueling, uphill hike. The usual suspects were all here…black volcanic rocks littered about, a giant crater, awesome views from the top…maybe a volcano is most exciting when it’s actually erupting?
Following the brief volcanic getaway, we started driving south to find a campsite. On the way we saw an amazing sight…a rainbow descending onto a local horse farm. If you looked close, you could even see a faint second rainbow. We pulled over to get better pictures, and then the horses became intrigued by us. At first only one came over, maybe that was the pack leader. After that two others came by and got right up close to the fence…even allowing us to pet them. We tried feeding them some potatoes but the results were mixed, as only one horse seemed interested. These were such beautiful, tame and majestic animals…what a fabulous end to the evening. It was as if the horses were saying “Bye, and thanks for visiting Iceland.”
We found our campsite just as the sky was getting colorful. I’ve never seen a sky like that before…it’s either Armageddon, or we’re in Iceland!