Weathering the Storm with the WP #37
The food walking tour with my guide and she goes by the name Love, as her real Icelandic name was difficult at best to pronounce was terrific and again, this is something I would highly recommend and with any of these experiences, I can arrange them for you as the Wandering Puffin wants you to have an amazing adventure in Iceland and anywhere in the world. We enjoyed five places in Reykjavik, and one is the world-famous hot dog stand, which is an iconic place, made famous to Americans by former president Bill Clinton who did not get the hot dog with everything, which is a must and I do not like ketchup, but I did. You also experience the Putrid shark and a shot of Brennivin and a dessert to die for at the end and a few other surprises in between. Make sure you are hungry and open to trying some interesting foods. She was animated and excited to interact, and we had a very nice group from several places stateside, one lady from Dublin and a Canadian mother and son, so it was a nice group. No puffin, however, but if you must, you can find it on your own😊!!!
When I left Reykjavik, I was off to the south coast and did not do it straight on Route 1 (the Ring Road), but on some of the lesser roads, not because they are not paved, they are, but off the beaten path and the vistas start in earnest outside the capitol area. When you drive along the coast, you see the power of the Atlantic Ocean and the war between the land and the sea. The wave action depending on the weather is magnificent and there are places to stop and just watch. Going along the Lighthouse Trail (I drove it, since the weather was not great to hike) is worth the trip through some small towns you may not think to stop in and enjoying the lobster soup at Fjöruborðið. They are open every day at 12:00, so plan accordingly. It’s worth the stop and across the way, there is a nice locale handicraft shop for the woolen and other products.
After leaving, I ended up spending some time in Selfoss, yes on the Ring Road, and the “new” old downtown, which will be very nice when complete and amazingly, found a new piece to add to the puffin collection. It was truly unique, so it was worth it, a handmade clay sculpture and enjoyed some time with my friends Sven and Petra before ending the day at the Stracta Hotel in Hella. Funny how the last time I arrived in Hella and the hotel, the rains came down, but the stay and the breakfast were very good. It is well located to experience this part of south Iceland and a great base to explore.
In the morning, I was off again to experience the amazing nature of south Iceland including Seljalandsfoss where you can walk behind the waterfalls and Skogafoss which up some 425 steps and then back down, the view is spectacular. Getting up close with Skogafoss, you feel the power of this waterfall. Other experiences along the way is the skeleton of the crashed transport plane, the black sand beaches and many opportunities to take in the amazing vistas along route where you can stop and click or hike many different trails. Watch out for those sneaky waves or you can get sucked in. In the end, I ended up in Vik, checked into a little hotel called the Puffin Hotel, where else. Nice and very basic but served its purpose and off to explore a bit of Vik, and then a drive to the area around Vatnajökull National Park. I came within 15 – 20 miles as the views became even more amazing. I had to be back in Vik to experience the making of real lava, which, since I had not seen the active lava flow the week before, this was a must and something I can recommend and arrange for you if you like. Dinner was lava soup, and it was amazing in a bread bowl and the bread served with it, looked like lava. A must experience and Julius shows and tells a wonderful story.
I mentioned, I was not able to experience the zip line here, but I will be back. Not as a replacement, but something that was a must was to see my rescues, and they now live (actually for a few years now), at the Sea Life Trust in Heimaey, yes, the Westmann Islands, which is my happy place and although they were not officially open to the public, they will, if scheduled, allow for groups. I was my own group and enjoyed my short time in the islands, a drive, a hike, dinner at Gott, and a couple of beers at Bothers Brewery, and of course, seeing my puffins. Thank you, Audrey, and Helen, for your hospitality. It is always a highlight to see my little friends, who I missed during the lost year of Covid, but there are new residents and some of the regulars like Thor, Hafdis and Karen and that is nice. They are well taken care of and seeing the belugas and the fish was nice also.
Leaving on the noon ferry and back to take my Rapid Antigen test in Reykjavik was next on the agenda (Note that as of now, the Icelanders do not charge for this test, but you do need to schedule an appointment, online which is easy) and then a relaxing 7 step experience at the Sky Lagoon. It is a very nice and relaxing experience and not the huge commercial enterprise like the Blue Lagoon and right in Reykjavik. Yes, you should experience the Blue Lagoon, but remember, there are other options as well which can be arranged for you. I enjoyed about 2 hours there, but you can spend the whole day if you want, but make sure to schedule your entrance time and tickets in advance. As this was my last night, I was not in a rush to my airport hotel, I took my time and then, after I checked in, dropped my bags, enjoyed dinner at the hotel. I was tired and did not want to decide on where to eat, so I opted to eat at the hotel restaurant. The food was good, the service, a bit lacking. Overall, a good experience and the next morning, drove around Keflavik for a while, and ended up at the Icelandic Rock and Roll Museum. You can spend about an hour here and it is cool to see the history even if you are not a rocker. Finally, dropped off my car and headed to the airport and my flight stateside.
Two weeks in Iceland and there is still more to experience, but very fulfilling with all the adventures I had. Most importantly, re-connecting on a personal basis was what my industry needs and hopefully more opportunities will happen. In less than two weeks, on the road again, so stay tuned.
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin