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Posts Tagged ‘Bautinn’

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I slept in ’til 8 and headed straight for the pool.  Derek did the same, to get warm, and when he came back we ate muesli and broke camp.  Going to retrieve my laundry, I found it all hung on the lines run along the low ceiling, a typical Iceland laundry setup.   The laundry room was warm from being below ground, I think, and all our clothes and even my hikers were all dry!

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Lots of skyr, every day

There was a close call with the camera charger- we almost left it behind plugged in the bathroom, but thankfully remembered while pulling out.

We headed for Hólmavík, interested in the Witchcraft museum, excited by the Lonely Planet and their description of the necropants – wooooo!  When there’s the possibility of seeing, at a bona-fide “award-winning” museum, the magical money-producing trousers skinned off a dead man’s legs and groin, of course you must seize the day.
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On the way we stopped for photo ops of seals hanging out with heads and tails stiffly out of the water.  Is that comfortable?  Why do they do it?  Also sheep and swans crossing the road made the morning drive interesting.

DSCF5340(5)The museum was unfortunately like all the other museums- lots to read and little to see, although severe stuffed ravens overlooked it all and there was an appropriately creepy vibe.  The necropants, were, alas, obviously not real.  Sorry, the cat’s out of the bag (pun intended), we know, they’re not real pants made from the skinned lower half of a male corpse.  You could see where the hairs were glued on.  To be fair, the guidebook does say “plastic replica”.  I felt like I was at Ripley’s in Niagara Falls, anyways.

DSCF5335(5)The genuine stone bowl that had been used for blood was considerably creepier.  It’s a nice museum, aesthetic and well-lit and nicely designed.  Reading material abounds, about the witches who were slaughtered for supposedly practicing sorcery, and their real craft books under glass.  I just can’t get into reading when the rest of Iceland waits, though, so I bought a book and coveted the fat little woollen ravens standing on rocks in the gift shop.  Later I had to have them mail me one.

DSCF5347(5)In Staðarskali we almost left the camera charger behind again.  We were still on our usual program of charging at every stop where we could subtly find a socket.

It was slow driving.  We drove right past the seal museum and the sea ice museum, but we stopped for the turf church and the site of the biggest battle in Iceland.  We stopped for a white-tailed eagle, and the seals at Kirkuból.

Finally we made it to Akureyri.  It was somewhat welcome to be in a town with streetlights.  The first thing I noticed was that the circles of the red lights were masked out a little.  They looked a bit like hearts.  At the actually department sized Intersport store, I impulse bought a pair of white skate shoes that had line drawings of superheroes on them.  I couldn’t not, they were so awesome.

Unfortunately, they were children’s shoes only, and the largest kid’s size definitely didn’t fit me.  I walked around in them for awhile, going I can’t, they really don’t fit, but I have to, because of their sheer awesomeness; I may never see them again.  I decided if I wore them barefoot, they fit.   Bought them.  They became my totally favorite shoes for awhile.  When I tore out the insole and put a thinner one in, I could even wear socks, and only my big toe would hurt a bit.
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We visited another camping store and then parked downtown and walked about.  There seemed to be hearts everywhere, pasted on storefront windows.  It was a mystery.  We went in the beautiful, grand Akureyri library, desperate for a rest room.  The library was wonderful!  Icelandic authors, by first name,  were mixed with English ones.  Derek said “TolkieDSCF5398(5)n!”, and we rushed around looking for them.  The three Lord of the Rings books were there, in a beautiful colourful hardbound set I was dying to have.  That led us to the book store, the multi-storied Eymundson, which was totally overwhelming with books and CDs.  Eat, Pray, Love was in vogue, and the Icelandic translation had stacked tabletop displays.

Starving, we headed to Bautinn to eat.  An unlimited soup and salad buffet really hit the spot.  All was delicious, and there was an abundance of different kinds of bread.  Back to the bookstore for some music.  By this time, the two CDs, one unlistenable and one questionable, that had been in the car when we rented it, were wearing pretty thin after days of driving.  New music was a necessity purchase.  We checked out a couple of places and their hours to sightsee tomorrow, and headed for a campsite well after sunset.
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On the way we found a rink, glowing in the dark next to the highway.  A genuine arena!  Excited, we parked and I barged in.  There were men on the ice playing mediocre hockey for about a minute.  I’d arrived just before close, as the final bell was about to ring.  Still breathless, I quizzed the puzzled men at the reception waiting to turn out the lights.  No, there were no skate rentals.  No, there was no “public skating”.  Quizzical looks.  Sigh.  We were this close to skating in Iceland, but it was not to be.  It was still exciting to be in the cold, musty air of an actual hockey arena!
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I went back out and found Derek in the verge with a tripod, taking pictures of the lights on the hill across the water in the shape of a heart.  The lights would pulse, fading in and out, like a beating heart.  It was a big heart, described in lights on a hillside.  What was with all the hearts?  We figured there must be some event in progress today or this week or something.

IMGP0753(4)Following the guidebook’s directions we fortunately found our way directly to the campsite.  It was one of the biggest we’d ever seen, fields after fields, bounded by shrubbery so it wasn’t just one gigantic field.  When we went in, just before close, the girl at the kiosk didn’t want our money because she’d already rung off.  “Oh, just pay in the morning on your way out,” she said, and waved us through.   We crept along through the many fields, trying not to disturb sleeping campers with our headlights and engine, and found our way to a field all our own, on the edge of the property.

There was a strange wall of electrical boxes on a panel at the mouth of the field.  I investigated with a flashlight and it turned out to be many different plugs, probably for RV hookups.  I found a standard one, and even in the middle of nowhere as it felt, we got to charge our electronics for the night.

It was an amazing night, so dark and quiet a location that I had an extremely restful sleep.  There was a beautiful moon and the air was cool.

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So restful, that we woke up very early.

A few more pictures from this day

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On a mission to have a relaxing night, I slept in with determination.  Up at 9:30, I fixed my broken flip flop with dental floss and went to the pool.  Akureyri’s sundlaug is very nice, with massaging jets and stairs over the water.  I warmed right up at the pool, DSCF6072had some skyr and went back to camp.  Derek was all packed up and unfortunately, it was overcast now.  We went downtown, got a parking clock, which I was thrilled about, and we spent some time in Eymundson writing postcards, using the internet, and forming a plan for our remaining days.  We finally ruled out a trip to Askja due to the long drive, and decided to be in Keflavík  the next night for the Festival of Lights.

The parking clock is also visible in this picture

Can you see the heart red light? The parking clock is also visible in this picture.

We checked out lots of things in Akureyri then.  We found the Red Cross thrift store, wandered into an art museum full of large format photography, mostly of the riots in January 2009, and another fabulous exhibit of textiles celebrating rhubarb.

We bought a stack of books in Froði, an unkempt and awesome little used bookstore cluttered with piled boxes of books.  There wasn’t any Tolkien, but we finally got an explanation of the hearts DSCF6031sprinkled around Akureyri.  The sweet bookstore lady said that it was started a year ago, to remind everyone “to have a good heart”, and to “drive gently”.  She also explained that Icelandic books were so expensive because the print runs were tiny for such a limited audience.

An outdoor store downtown had Light My Fire spoons.  I’d snapped Derek’s much earlier in the trip in a jar of peanut butter, and replacing it had nearly become a grail quest.  Nowhere could we find these camping spoons, ’til now.  We bought extras.  Finally to Bautinn, to tank ourselves up properly.  That is one memorable buffet.

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We collected a hitchhiker at the campsite, a young German woman who had approached me earlier asking for a ride to Reykjavík.  We tanked up the car and stopped at the biggest Bónus we’d seen yet, although it didn’t have decent bread or skyr, and hit the road, burning towards the capital.

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A few stops, at Örlygsstaðir and for the sunset, but mostly driving.  We took the tunnel and got into Reykjavík long after dark.  We dropped our passenger downtown, and the city was busy and drunk and kind of scary.

IMGP6246A motorcycle whipped past us at at least 150kmh, cars were speeding, and I wanted out.  We went directly to Hveragerði.    The drive there was a whiteout of dense fog, and then Hveragerði was totally clear, under the blanket of fog.

We set up our tents in the mist at the back of the campsite in town and crashed hard.

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