Homebound’s Traveling Journal #3

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The road back to Route 1 was foggy, though it still allowed us a view over the mountain lake and the valley on the land side. The road is long, but in the end it lead us over to the magnificent waterfall Dettifoss. The sound of the fall can be heard more by the soul than the ears.

I remember my grandmother’s words when we were at the banks of Gullfoss many, many years ago. “It’s always calling me,” she said, “It tells me to come, to jump, to join it.” But the rainbow, Dettifoss created, looked like a blessing  and I roamed the banks calmly. This sound is somehow disturbing, but still it seemed to charge the batteries and restore my connection with the country I seemed to have almost lost. 

The petrol shop near Ásbyrgi sold a lot of old Icelandic CD’s that were tempting, but we just bought ice-cream and drove into Sleipnir’s footprint. The walk to the pond wasn’t long, but it reminded me so much of my father that I got a bit overwhelmed.

The pond wasn’t full of ducks, like then, but surrounded by tourists. It seemsed wrong in this place, just as wrong as the porch. It’s a tranquil place and slowly walking the forest path brought me most of my calm back.

The hotel was an experience in on itself. An old fishing platform had been transformed into a hotel. When I drove the path, a path I would never have dared to drive unless I had pre-booked the hotel there, I ask J if this is were they make all the tourists just drive, happily, off the cliff.

We didn’t drive off a cliff, but drove down the muddy path crawling on the side of it until we were down by the ocean. The hotel was charismatic and the room had a wonderful view over the ocean and the ducklings playing in the calm sea down below. We even managed to eat our dinner ouside in calm weather, warm enough so I didn’t use the quilt they offered.

I even managed to drive up the path the next morning. It was foggy, almost rainy but the road looked worse than it was. We drove down to Mývatn (Mosquito lake) which greeted us with …

.. can you guess?

… Right! Mosquitoes. Lots of them. No, more than that. We still walked to get a view over the lake and then we drove to Dimmuborgir.

I once slept in a car next to Dimmuborgir with my father. I don’t know why this place always makes me feel like I’m home. I’ve only been there a handful of time in my life but the Mývatn area feels like home. I always get a bit melancholic when I leave the place.

We walked the entire “Kirkja” circle, though the kid complained a bit at the end. It’s incredible how little she has complained on this road trip though, all she wants is to drink from as many creeks as possible. The water is crystal clear and the air is fresh – how can we possibly deny her this?

Then we drove towards Krafla and walked up to the crater Víti. Looking down into a volcano is pretty cool, but also very muddy and the crater was full of water. The kid wanted to dive in – but we convinced her it would be hard to get up again and she settled for just going to a platoe that was a bit on the way down.

Leaving the county around Mývatn wasn’t less melancholy than it has been in the past. There is something about that place that draws me to it. There may be more beautiful places in Iceland, like the county around Eyjafjöll or the mountains around Djúpivogur and the fjords after that, but there is something about the loneliness of Mývatn that draws me to it.

Which may be why I got annoyed at the Koreans who were taking picture in Gjáinn in Dimmuborgir, blocking the traffic of tourists (when I visited that place with my dad many moons ago we were alone there!) so it felt like the Grand Central Station (I imagine) which wasn’t the feeling I was going for. They stood in the gap, hands wide, and a guy on a stone down below shouting something in Korean and then the stream of tourists blocked their attempt so that the girl was still standing there, hands wide, when we returned ten minutes later.  I did get my tranquil moments later as we arrived by Kirkjan, “the church” itself and so I easily forgave the Koreans seeking their Instagram thrills.

The next stop was Akureyri. We had a booking at a hotel not far from there and so we drove to the hotel, checked in and went to Akureyri for dinner. The food was nice, despite the cooks attempt to serve me meat that was still alive. People around here do not know the meaning of “well done.”

The kid was disappointed this morning when she realised there was no water in the “hot tub” she had been eager to test. And the drive to the next destination was a bit empty compared to the previous days. Though we did have a wonderful pit stop in Blönduós, where we walked over a bridge that warned that only 1 or 2 people should attempt to walk over at any given time. The kid wondered if the bag we were carrying was ok.

And that brings me to the hotel where I’m staying now. Right smack in the middle of nowhere in a place called Staður (Place). It was foggy when we arrived at a little over 3 and it still is. The reception was large, quite nice with big windows and a marble feel to the floors. The sign at the reception desk read “We have a self check in system, call this number for help”.

No instructions AT ALL. Not in the booking app, not in the mail confirmation and not at the desk. So I called the number and got a grumpy answer. I told him I had a room booked and he told me, quite rudely, “No, we’re fully booked.”

“But I have a reservation, I booked by…”

“Ohhh,” and then he proceeded to ask me where I was.

Which confused me. I am trying to check into your hotel, how can you not know where I am? So I asked him back, “where are you!?”

This was not the answer he was waiting for, but he named a place quite far from here.

I told him my name and he told me where I had my booking, in a way that made me think he was going to hang up on me at any moment. I told him that that was good because that was where I was.

And so he proceeded to tell me what I should do to get my key. Which I managed to do after asking a male-maid where the damn room I was supposed to be in was.

“Next building,” the guy, who spoke no Icelandic, said.

Roaming the main building made me think I was in a Stephen King novel. Arriving early at a big hotel – only two other people there, in the dining area talking – no one else. A man cleaning the room, shyly sticking his head out as if he was trying to avoid something or someone. And the room?

Let’s just say that The Overlook hotel has nothing on this place. Broadloom carpet on the floors, old fashioned tv and furniture and the button to switch of the lights is situated so that if I sit up in bed I am constantly putting the lights off/on. The groundkeeper may have fled though, so that’s something to be happy about.

We ate dinner at the local “restaurant” which is a gas stop on Route 1. They served nice hamburgers, raw as they were though I did ask for “well done.” I do realise that “meatists” like their hamburgers rare and that they think we’re spoiling the meat by over doing it but you have your taste and I have mine. I won’t force feed you mine if you stop force feeding me yours!

It will be interesting to see what greets us at breakfast tomorrow. This place that doesn’t seem to have people running it, somehow serves free breakfast? I do get what he means by being fully booked though, because now the parking lot is full of cars though the place is still eerily quiet. 

I should be running away in the fog, shouldn’t I?

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