Driving driving everyday we’re driving. Its been a busy couple of days and I think I can legitimately put professional driver on my resume. On Tuesday we set out to Snæfellsjökull from Akranes. (You may have heard of Snæfellsjökull from the novel A Journey to the Centre of the Earth) It was a long day of driving but beautiful non the less, and because I was the driver I pulled over whenever I saw fun things I wanted to check out. We stopped at one spot called Rauðfeldar canyon. The story goes that Bárður Snæfellsás was half-man, half-troll and lived in the area until the end of the 9th century with his “voluptuous and handsome daughters”. His brother lived nearby with his two sons Rauðfeldar and Sölvi. One day when the kids were playing by the shore Rauðfeldar pushed Bárður’s eldest daughter onto an iceberg and she drifted away to Greenland. She was unharmed but Bárður was so upset that he killed the brothers and pushed Rauðfeldar into a canyon which is why it bears his name. He pushed Sölvi off a cliff that is now called Sölvahamar Cliff. After this happened it is said that Bárður went into the glacier and was never seen again. Cool story eh? Iceland is filled with these, it seems like everywhere you go there is a story.
After making a quick trip up to the canyon with Dad we got back in the car and made our way to Hellnar for lunch. We stopped at this little ocean side restaurant, sat out on the patio and had some really delicious fish soup and quiche. After lunch we walked down to the coast where dad and I walked around the cave and cove. We continued our drive around the glacier stopping at a couple of little spots along the way including Grundarfjörður and Stykkishólmur. Dad and I talked about how we were doing this trip way too quickly and how we would prefer to take a full week just making our way around the glacier. It was such a beautiful day and it would have been really nice to go for hikes, camp, sit by the ocean and enjoy the sites a little more (but still really nice to have been able to see it!) When we got back to Akranes around 7:30, dad and I grabbed a quick bite to eat before meeting up with Kris to climb up Akrafjall and we made our way up to the highest peak (643m). It was a beauty of an evening for a climb. If I lived in Akranes I would be trying to make that climb at least once a week which has led me to make the decision that I’m going to join the outdoors club when I’m back in Ontario, I really need to find more nature near Burlington if I’m going to be living there this year. We made our way down the mountain and back to Akranes around midnight.
Wednesday we woke up and made our way towards Reykjavik to have coffee at our frænka’s (grandpa’s cousin) Bryndis house. This woman is a pure gem. So much energy and such a positive outlook on life. She said something at one point when speaking about her family that I just loved – “I’m very rich, I just don’t have a lot of money”. Beautiful. While we were at her house grandpa was telling her about my stay and how I was going to be staying with their cousin Skuli’s son at a farm but that things had changed and I ended up with the other farm instead. Turns out Skuli and his wife live in the same building as Bryndis so she ran up and invited them for coffee too. It sure is a pretty small world but then again this is a pretty small island. We had a great visit and I understood quite a bit of the conversations around me, I really do think I’ve learnt a lot but I haven’t really tried to speak which is unfortunate.
After we left Bryndis’ home we made our way out to the ‘golden circle’. We drove towards Þingvellir and drove around Þingvallavatn which gorgeous and made our way to Geysir and Gullfoss before driving back to walk around Þingvellir a little. We made our way back into Reykjavik as grandpa was meeting a man about a book. Each year Akranes does a ‘yearbook’ compiling news stories from the year but also sharing stories about people from Akranes. When we got back to Akranes it was about 11pm and I was feeling pretty exhausted so I went to bed pretty much right when we got back.
This morning Dad and I woke up to take a walk around town. We made our way to our cousin Dora’s bakery to grab a snack and coffee (no coffee for me, but for dad). Dora doesn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much Icelandic so it was a little difficult but we made it work pretty well I thought. One of her daughters, Rebekka, was working in the back so Dora took me and dad back there to meet her, and shortly after her husband came into the bakery so we got to meet him too. As we were leaving Dora told me that she had been nervous about having me stay with her originally because she works so much and doesn’t speak much English but it didn’t seem like it would have been too bad. She said that when I come to Iceland next time I have to stay with her. On the way out her daughter Arndis arrived from making her deliveries. When she walked into the bakery and saw me she kept asking “who is this” to Dora with a look of shock and excitement. She said that I looked a lot like one of her cousins. We had a nice chat and I had to promise her that I will be coming back to Iceland sometime soon.
When we got back to the house we had lunch and then made our way to the Akranes museum which is comprised of three different museums – geological, sport and general Akranes. It really is quite an impressive place with lots of things to look at. There we even a few pictures of my great grandfather in the sports museum as he was very active with the local soccer team. After checking out the museums we walked around the cemetery and visited my great grandparents and great great grandparents graves. Grandpa then wanted to head to the bakery so we made our way back there with the grandparents and had some snacks. Dad and I ended up sticking around for a while just chatting with Arndis and her daughter Alexandra before heading back for dinner.
Now we are watching the Icelandic handball game against Sweden. As I type this Iceland is winning 17-13. Fingers crossed it turns out in favour of Iceland!