We are in Hvammstangi now, a major seal colony viewing area. Time for some revisionist history as I struggle to remember what we’ve done since my last dispatch.
Wednesday [29 June]
I’d forgotten this anecdote…our friends have an enormous 9 person rental van to accommodate their family. On their first travel day, they hit a camouflaged speed bump and everyone in the van screamed. One of their grocery bags - of course the one holding eggs - fell down from atop their Jenga’ed luggage and several eggs broke but they saved the broken ones and turned them into a decadent scrambled egg dish with over-the-top butter and cheese for our skinny active kids. Our friend named them “speed bump eggs” and made them several mornings. So it was fitting that our last day together started out with “speed bump eggs.” We had our all-you-can-eat sushi lunch at Rub 23 as planned. As always, the staff looked harried and annoyed with the grabby tourists/cruise ship people (we try our best not to get lumped in by making eye contact with the staff, saying please and thank you and it seems to go a long way). We finally had our happy hour drinks (along with beer, we had an unusual Italian sparkling white wine that was almost cider-esque) at Cafe Laut in the botanical garden.
We had a celebratory delicious mish-mash last dinner together, eating the last of the salmon and cod, a mapo tofu-esque dish, rice, and whatever random veggies (sauteed mushrooms in soy sauce and butter, roasted zucchini and squash) we had left. The photo, which is sparse-looking, belies the deliciousness of the meal.
Thursday [30 June]
After a fabulous whale watch on a very quiet electric motorized schooner, we grabbed lunch at Fish and Chips in the harbor, which we tried the last time around. It was good, not superlative (just as last time), but it hit the spot, sitting on the deck, drinking some beer, and soaking in the sun (!).
View from the schooner as we headed back into the harbor
At that point, we and our friends split off, which was quite sad. They headed back in the direction of Reykjavik. Our friends managed to stop in an out-of-the-way place, Sauðá, which they said was delicious. They report very well-cooked salmon and vegetables in a modern space. I love that about Iceland when you get outside of Reykjavik - finding the unexpected in unlikely places. We remained in Húsavík for 2 nights. The first night, we had leftover fish and chips and pasta at home. After dinner, we visited Húsavík öl, a local brewery. Industrial-chic tasting room. I had a saison with elderflower which was not to my liking but I still managed to drink it. B had a couple of good IPAs. Nice guy working the taps.
Friday [1 July]
We visited Vatnajökull National Park and Dettifoss, our first time seeing the biggest waterfall in Europe and it is astounding as giant waterfalls tend to be. We had a hatchback picnic afterwards in the parking lot as a few other Europeans were doing nearby, of crackers, cream cheese spreads, one with mushroom another with bacon, the finest boxed wine, peanut butter and bananas for Spring Onion.
Dinner was leftovers supplemented by surprisingly good pizza across the street from where we staying. Pizzakofinn. It’s in a tiny, modern glass and metal box with an outsized oven that is take-out only. It rivals the best we’ve had in Iceland, with a crust that is cracker-like on the exterior, giving way to a pillowy interior. B got us the margherita with parma (a bit on the sparse side, which was fine by me, as I gave my parma pieces to B). He reports friendly service and only locals coming in.
We are also staying very close to a bakery that has donuts that are to SO’s liking and cream cheese-filled twisted rolls that are my new obsession. I forgot to take a photo of the name and as with all Icelandic words, I am powerless when it comes to retaining.
Speaking of which, our apartment has Icelandic Scrabble, which boggles my mind…wouldn’t you need 20 tiles to complete just one word?!
Saturday [2 July]
We check out and head to Akureyri for one more visit to the awesome public pool. It is a sunny glorious day (we had a stretch of gloomy weather when we were with our friends, except for some patches here-and-there and the whale watch). The guys had post-pool hot dogs and we went to Kaffi Ilmur to soak in the sun on their beautiful, hopping patio (seems everyone was out, enjoying beer or coffee and snacks). I had some tomato soup. It was fine tomato soup, but I’m usually not a big fan of tomato soup but it was the only vegetarian soup offering today…I like a chunkier soup. Three types of homemade bread, which were distinct and delicious.
Then “home” to Hvammstangi. Dinner of leftover pizza, some random pasta and ramen noodles for SO. We’ll head towards Alftanes peninsula, just outside Reykjavik tomorrow, where we will spend the remainder of our trip.