Saturday, 2 August 2014

Is Vik there?

Mel’s alarm wakes us and we venture out for breakfast. It’s self service and we cheekily make a couple of sandwiches for later, as I’m not sure where we’ll find lunch today. Mel discovers skyr, the typical type of yoghurt here and immediately becomes a fan. There is a couple from Yorkshire with a toddler staying, and we chat about our itineraries over breakfast. They are at the end of their Iceland trip, but on their way to Prince Edward Island in Canada. We set off around 8.30 for the short drive to the Blue Lagoon where I’ve booked the comfort package. This allows us to jump the queue which only 15 minutes after opening is already pretty long. We’re given fluffy bathrobes and towels and make our way to the changing room for the compulsory naked shower.

It’s less surreal for me than last time, when the water in our hair froze, but Mel still finds it a novelty. We wander around the different parts of the lagoon, sample the sauna and the waterfall and have a smoothie and an algae face pack at the lagoon bar – at least, Mel has a smoothie and I have a bright green concoction with spinach and ginger that tastes a lot nicer than it sounds. While our face packs are drying we go inside and sit on loungers, then have one last bathe. After we’ve dressed we go back to the pool for photos and a couple from Mumbai takes a photo for us. Outside we take a walk in the lava fields before continuing our journey.
En route we stop at the small hill Alex and I tried to climb last visit before being beaten back by the wind. No chance of that today, although it is a bit chilly. At Selfoss we stop to buy some provisions – crispbread, ham and cheese for lunch on the run, and some drinks. Then we continue to Seljandsfoss waterfall where we park facing the waterfall and eat our lunch. There are plenty of people there, including a couple of youths apparently taking photos of the falls with a remote controlled airborne camera.

Last time I was here there was snow on the ground and the paths were icy, so we couldn’t take the path behind the waterfall. This time, of course, we do it – and get fairly wet. We walk up to the other falls which are smaller but still picturesque. We try to climb up to them but the ground is muddy and we don’t make it to the top.
We continue along route 1, stopping briefly at Eyjafjallajökull (of the infamous dust-cloud), and then branch off to Dyrhólaey where we walk along the black sand beach and collect rounded pebbles to make a cairn each like the ones around Iceland. There are masses of puffins here, nesting on the cliffs. Then we drive round to Garđur to see the basalt columns and get a better view of the arch at Dyrhólaey. We walk right along the beach here, to the small cavern at the far end. Mel is fascinated by the rock formations.

We drive on to Vik, just to take a look at it, and then turn back to our guesthouse for tonight which is just past the turning for Dyrhólaey down a long, unmade track. Guest house Steig is on a working farm and offers evening meals but today there is only lamb. We’d like more choice so we decide to return to Vik, about 10 minutes away, after a cup of tea. Not finding any milk or sugar in the guest house kitchen Mel asks the owner who sends her back with a full carton of milk and a sugar dispenser with instructions to return them when we’re done. There’s a family cooking dinner in the kitchen, which is a sensible solution to the high cost of eating out.
When we get to Vik, our first choice, the bistro in the centre of town (if you can call a settlement of 300 people a town!) is full so we end up at Strondin which is by the beach at the end of town. We decide to be adventurous and share a plate of shark bites and dried fish for a starter. The dried fish is not too much of a challenge; like faintly salty cardboard if eaten alone but much improved by a smear of butter. The shark, which is traditionally buried in sand for 6 months to break down the toxins, is a different … well, kettle of fish. It’s ok at first but it leaves an ammonia-like after-taste which makes you grateful for the shot of brennivin provided to cleanse the palate.

The second course is more conventional – Mel has a burger (huge and with plenty of fries) and I have the fish stew served with rye bread. Both are good and filling. We walk down to the beach but although it’s only just getting dark at 10pm, the wind is cold and we head back to Steig.

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