We Made it to Ìsland (that is the real name of Iceland)

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Hello Family & Friends……We know you have probably been jonesing for more news & insights from us.  Well, your wait is over.  Finally we have some time to devote to updating you on our adventures.  Let’s start with just how AMAZING Iceland is.  I will most likely run out of superlatives/adjectives and repeat myself. Just know that there is no reason to NOT come here (after going to Portugal of course).

When last we wrote, we were in Reykjavik getting ready to head north.  Taking the slow road, we ended up in Stykkishólmur (pronounced like it is spelled).  This is a fjord-side fishing village (a common theme for us).  It is on the Snæfellness (pronounced like it is spelled!) Peninsula.  The weather was shocking.  A bit of rain but an incredible WIND….so powerful that when we opened the door to our Dacia Duster, it was a battle to get it closed!   We found out later it was 45-50mph all day.  I had to do the math as they calculate it in meters per second.  Weird.  Not kilometers per hour.  The temp was the low 50s.

In “Stykk”  we found a restaurant called Narfeyrarstofa, run by a renowned Danish chef.  It opened for dinner at 6 and by 6.01, every table was full.  Blue Mussels (caught 100 meters away) cooked in & served with good beer for Chris & Nancy had lamb shank + lamb tenderloin.  We had to try the rhubarb cake with their own rhubarb ice cream.

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Since I am mentioning food (for a change), I have to confess that our night in Reykjavik, I ate Minke Whale.  I feel very guilty but I have to tell you not only was it amazingly beefy & not seafoodish at all, but Greenpeace & Rainbow Warriors will get a nice donation when we get home.IMG_6642

The next morning we drove off to circumnavigate the peninsula.  It is so beautiful here…..lots of sheep & waterfalls, mountains,  farms, and MORE waterfalls!

IMG_6695 IMG_6667 DSC_3132The sheep even eat seaweed here!

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The wind kept it up all day long.  We were quite worried about the rest of our stay.

On Thursday, we left for Patreksfjodur.  Wednesday night we went back to the same restaurant as the night before & I had an amazing piece of Blue Ling – a local only fishy.  Nancy had her favorite – soup & salad. They REALLY know how to cook here.  Tiny little towns with incredible food.

Patreksfjodur was on the road to the Látrabjarg bird cliffs.  We were headed there to see the puffins.  From P-burg is was 50k on a horrible road.  We stopped for lunch at a small hotel –  Flokalundur.  It was near the ferry dock for the boat from Stykk.  Due to the heavy wind, we chose to drive instead of taking the boat but stopped at that hotel for a meal.  While sitting there, I received a text from Tripit that it was time to check into our hotel for that night.  At 1st, I barely glanced at my phone as I knew we were staying in P-burg.  Something looked odd though.  It turns out we were staying at that very hotel!  Fortuitous that I re-read the text.  Nancy laughed for HOURS about that one!

We checked in, tried the road to the cliffs but we found out the birds had all left weeks ago.  Turned around, went back to Flok & used the nearby geothermal pool built by a road crew in the 70s. It was lovely.

IMG_6728 (1)Arctic Ocean in the background.

Again, an exceptional meal – Smoked Guillemot & trout with a peanut salsa that was to faint for, in a tiny place – not even a town here.

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Friday we carried on to Ísafjördur.  On the dirt road we came across a spectacular foss (falls) called Dynjandi.  It is one of the top ten fosses in Iceland. There were a lot of tourists there. They were from a cruise ship – guess where it was docked for the day – yup, where we were headed.  Oy!  More yanks.  In Portugal, we did not run into any Americans – they are all here in Iceland it seems.  Maybe everyone is interviewing countries to move to if Trump wins.  Right now it is a toss up between Port & Ice.

These falls were amazing as I said:

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The road was so bad, we are happy for the 4WD.  DSC_3127We earned a stop for hot chocolate & cookies at Pingeyri – a very small cute place with a small cute coffee shop.

IMG_6759We went through a 6km tunnel that was 1 lane – opposing traffic had to move into pull outs.  The tunnel even had a Y intersection going off to another town. Amazing.

Arriving in Isafjordur, we filled the car & I broke the prime directive – I washed a rental car!  It was so bad, I could not touch one surface or see out the windows from the dirt & mud.

IMG_6768This is the 2nd pass at cleaning it.  The gas stations have free washes!

The town was chock a block with cruisers.  When they left, it was much easier to get around.  The permanent population is smaller that the # of passengers but there were still views to be had.DSC_3170DSC_3149

Nancy finally got her manicure & was told about a great locals restaurant – Tjöruhúsid.  We booked a table for 7pm when they opened.  The place filled up right then.  It was a low ceilinged, picnic table & bench filled little place.  Very close quarters & full.  Everything was served buffet style – fish soup to start.  I asked what kind of fish – the answer was ‘all of them’.  Main course had a few salads & 6 different fish cooked 6 different ways in huge cast iron skillets.  Again – an amazing restaurant in a podunk town.

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While the language is a tough one (check out theses crazy names),DSC_6312Everybody here speaks English fluently.

Well gang, that brings you up to the end of Friday.  We will try to write more frequently.

As we say in Iceland for “GoodBye,”

BLESS,

Chris and Nancy

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