Retracing our drive after sleeping in sadcar, luck brings a sunny day, where the tops of mountains and snow-covered volcanos revive our senses. We ride through the golden circle which reveals hot spots and the Great Geysir, the original geyser from which all others get their name.
The main attraction, though, hides a few miles away down a canyon hidden by the landscape. The double-cascade waterfalls of Gullfoss greats us with a rainbow.
We sleep in a hostel this night, as the coastal winds make conditions too hostile to pitch a tent. Another clear day in the morning gives us views of moss-covered lava beds that resemble a crowd of dancing elves in the distance.
Fjords divide the North Atlantic’s shores with craggy tips.
After lunch, we drive a dirt road in search of what Anthony Bourdain calls, “the worse tasting food of my life.” At the small Bjarnarhofn farmstead, the scent of ammonia surrounds a small museum dedicated to the Greenland Shark. Icelanders cut the meat of this toxic mammal, store it in an uncovered wooden box, and allow it to ferment in its own juices for about 4 winter months.
Then, the meat is hung and air-dried for a few more months. Voila – Hakarl, a delicacy for special occasions, ready to eat. The bittersweet of transforming toxic into edible. Most folks cannot get past the smell of rotting flesh and the aftertaste, but Mare and I actually like it. Go figure.
Eventually, we pitch tent in the town of Stykkisholmur, next to a golf course that boasts a midnight tee-time. We eat Icelandic hot dogs, drink beer, and stare at mountains from our picnic table. Oh yeah, Babe, that’s what I’m talking about.
Before leaving the next day, we take a 3-hour boat tour around basalt islands, which ends with dragging a chain net on the bottom to retrieve scallops and sea urchins. They treat us to the freshest possible sushi, cut live from the shell.
One last tent camp back on the grounds of Reykjavik City Hostel, where I donate a signed copy of my novel, Broken Collar, to their library. We enjoy another splurge meal, this time of blue mussels and minke whale filet, which resembles a grisly T-bone steak.
Let’s stop at the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport.
From a distance, the Blue Lagoon looks and smells like the Coke Plant in a steel mill, minus any dirt in the air. Strap on an electronic bracelet, shower with busloads of naked Europeans, and then wade into clouded heaven.
Walk in warm/hot milky white water tinted in blue. Step on lava rock smoothed with silicon mud. Not heaven, probably Purgatory, since bodies wade around wearing skimpy bathing suits…go up to the bar for a drink and pay with your bracelet. Yeah baby, give me Purgatory!
Mud up the face for a deep cleansing, relax and then relax more. What a perfect way to prepare for a midnight flight to St. Petersburg. No doubt, six days is not enough! Takk fyrir Abundant Universe! Ron Mitchell