Saturday, July 30, 2011

Water, water, everywhere - Day 10

Wow.  You hiked up a glacier, that's a big day for you, Chub-chubs.  So, did you take the next day off to recuperate?

No.  Of course not.

This trip kind of followed the story map that we are all taught in English class.  Some exposition, a whole bunch of build up and then, fifteen pages from the end, a crazy climax.  Days 9 & 10 were the peak of the story.

We slept in as much as you can when its bright as noon (still not really adjusted) and the children sharing your room are all sighing noisily as if they want to get up, but can't?  I am not one to debate parenting techniques but I feel like if your kids are all up - its time to get up.

And we took exactly seven steps around the corner of the Hostel building and were greeted with this.


Skogarfoss was one of my favorite waterfalls because we got to get so close to both the bottom and the top of the falls.  Day 10 was the day of wishing that I had a waterproof camera because my silly, amazing camera was fairly useless as I desperately tried to take a picture from essentially IN the waterfall.  Then we had to hike up to the top to get that view.


This is when it hit home how out-of-shape I was/the enormity of what I had conquered the day before.  I sang Disney songs to get us up to the top where we had a solid shaming as we saw a couple in their 60's hustle up at a rate about three times faster than us.


Once we got back down, it was time for a quick photo shoot in a field of the Nootka Lupin.  I was never not in love with these flowers.  I am excited to try to grow it next summer.



Then we were off to the magic of the Golden Circle.  First stop - Pingvellir (or actually Thingvellir, or really, really - ├×ingvellir) - The Thorn is my favorite of the crazy Icelandic alphabet characters.  We got there with just enough time to look around a little bit before heading out for our snorkeling adventure.


Before the actual snorkeling our adorable, elfin tour guide man gave us the lowdown on ├×ingvellir and we stopped for some pictures in the big ole crack in the plates of the Earth.  The best part was that there were a couple of awesome girls on our trip who were able to capture our only trio jumping picture of the trip.


Then it was suit up time.  Snorkeling required stripping down to long underwear and then putting on a puffy marshmallow suit before the dive suit.  Then gloves and a cap and we were ready to party.

 

Where we went snorkeling is called Silfra - and while they tell you that the big old rocky bits up top are where the plates are splitting (and they are...kind of), its actually down here in the crystal clear waters that the world is being her crazy Mother Nature self.

The water was ice cold and completely numbed my lips every time I put them in the water, the suit kept everything but my hands warm and, if anything, was too buoyant as I did not really have control over my body in the water as I had to fight to push myself into a standing position.

Before we went in, the guide asked if anyone was afraid of heights.  It seemed like a really ridiculous questions until I looked down and had the same sensation I do at the top of any tall building.  It was the most strange and surreal experience ever.  The water is perfectly clear so you are looking down 100 meters (or 328 feet).  Higher then I have ever been without the use of an airplane or a building.

There aren't a ton of fish, just plant life that is these electric shades of green.  I struggled with the snorkeling, having realized right before we got in, that I had never actually done it before.  Also, having cold lips was nothing compared to cold hands. Unlike normal humans, I prefer to use my hands to swim, rather than my feet but I was instructed to keep them out of water as much as possible, so I was left trying to paddle with flippers (never really used those either) and unable to get more than half my body underwater while ALSO dealing with the face that my snorkel thing was constantly full of water.  It was drinkable, delicious glacier water but left me struggling to breath without putting my face up.

This, believe it or not, despite the fact it only was an hour or so of actual in-the-water time, was far more challenging than the glacier hike and yet another thing that I don't have any pictures of.  I wasn't going to drop the $50 needed for a rental water-proof camera, but I am sure the images I would have gotten would have been amazing.  It is truly fine, though.  Like whale watching, this is something I am happy to have as a just me and mah friends experience.  There are lots of great pictures on the internet, that's exactly what it looked like.

Then, after we took off all our snorkel gear we got to jump in off one of the ledges that was about 6 meters (20 feet) up from the water.  So silly and fun and ensured that if we weren't completely wet and cold before, we were now.

The next stop on the Golden Circle tour was Geysir and his friends.  Geysir, is the geyser that all other geysers are named for.  Apparently, it was pretty awesome until the mid 70's when dumb (probably American) tourists would throw rocks and coins and small children into Geysir to get it blow (anything for a photo op) and so now it is all messed up and unreliable.

Strokkur is the more reliable younger sister who we watched a few times.


It was so hilarious standing around with all these other people, cameras at the ready, waiting for Mother Nature to do her thing.  And there would occasionally be these bubble up false alarms where everyone would get all pumped and then it would be another four or five minutes before anything happened.  Mother Nature is a tease.

The area around Geysir reminds me of a ogre's swamp or something.  Its all muddy (possibly because it was raining while we were there) and the earth is bubbling and popping and steam is rising.  The faerie people who are rumored to live below the surface there must have fantastic, soft skin and virtually no pores.

After getting a few good pictures of Strokkur it was time to head out once again.  We made the decision to skip Gullfoss for the day and just head to our hotel.

We got to the adorable little cabin that we called home for about 10 hours, and then got gas while also getting our very first bacon wrapped Icelandic hot dog.  I think we would have been disappointed if we had discovered these earlier in the trip, but then had not been able to get them for two or three days because they were even more amazing than regular Icelandic hot dogs which were pretty close to perfect.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Glacier and his friends. Days 9

The next two days were when things got really, really serious.  Also - they are the days with the best costumes.

Day 9 was glacier day.  We prepared ourselves in the way we assumed, based on our imagination of what climbing a glacier would be like, was best - by putting on six layers of clothes.  Once we got to the meeting place, we were promptly laughed at and went back to the car to take off 4 or 5 of the layers.

After we disrobed in public (some of us for the second time, Musar) we were ready to get fitted for crampons and helmets and given our ice axes.  These costumes were easily the most bad ass of the entire trip.


Once we were suited up we headed out to Skaftafellsjokull.  According to the guides on our hike, we were very lucky because we were hiking just after the eruption of near by Grimsvotn so instead of having nice, pretty blue and white ice - our ice was blue, white, and grey.  It did make for really pretty contrast in the pictures.  But I am fairly sure its also pretty gorgeous when it's pristine and not volcanic ash-ified.


There was a bit of the hike that happened before we put on all our gear.  It was no more than 20 minutes but I felt myself getting a little out of breath.  It was then that I realized I was probably completely unprepared for what was about to happen and my new goal became just not embarrassing myself and not dying.

Once we put on the crampons we had to practice walking in them a bit.  I have this somewhat inexplicable fascination with mountain climbing (since I have no interest in actually participating in such an activity, just learning about it) and so getting to strap on crampons made me feel very much like Jon Kraukur.  Which was kind of cool for exactly 10 minutes.  Then I realized I had another 4 hours ahead of me and reverted back to my original goals.


The hiking guides (just like the horse-back riding and whale-watching ones before them) were awesome and incredibly patient with us.  And they had this really subtle, polite way of stopping for breaks but pretending that we were stopping to learn about various glacier things.  The flat bit wasn't too bad at all.

I had assumed that we would get to the part where its no longer flat, eat our sandwiches, take some pictures and hike back down, but the guides had other plans.  They kept us climbing long past what I felt was necessary.  Apparently, we had to go up so far so that we could find a place high enough to rappel down.


If I had any lingering thoughts that perhaps I would like to pursue this hobby more seriously, they were quickly squelched with this exercise in clumsiness and un-coordination.  At one point I was dangling in mid-air... and then ran shin-first into the glacier.


This, coupled with my tumble down a volcano in Hawaii last year, cemented my place fairly close to sea level.  For keeps.

As with anything, the hike down was a piece of cake in comparison.  I couldn't believe that what took three hours to traverse up only took about thirty minutes to get down.  As soon as we were back at the bus, they whisked us off to the glacier lagoon for a far less ambitious way to take pictures of ice.


The glacier hike & boat ride were by far the most crowded tourist excursions we booked (with the exception of the Blue Lagoon which was essentially the Disney World of Iceland).  After 6 or so days of relative solitude, it made me kind of hate people.  My heart is still in the city, but it made me really angry when a fellow tourist answered her cellphone in the middle of the lagoon while the adorable little guide was talking.  As if there is something so important it cannot wait until we're all back on dry Icelandic land.

I got all mad, but then I ate a piece of 1,000 year old ice and felt better.


After many more photo ops it was time to travel to our next adventure - Svartifoss.  This is one of the most famous waterfalls (as opposed to the hundreds of unnamed, unimportant waterfalls we saw along the way) but we were so tired, we couldn't really properly enjoy it.  We were so lazy we took the Old Folks short cut and still didn't make it all the way to the top.  Also, after seeing so many waterfalls, it was hard to get excited about another one.  So we took two or three far-away pictures and called it quits.


This picture show just how disinterested I was in the whole waterfall trek.  Also, this is the most outdoorsy I've ever looked.  Ever.


After the hike we hightailed it to our hotel with a brief stopover in Vik for a trip to the black beaches.


On our way to the black beaches I made the most amazing discovery!

While my friends were busy driving around and playing DJ with our limited music selection.  I divided my time between being the galley master and distributing sandwiches and trail mix, taking blurry out-the-car-window pictures, and engrossing myself in our guide books.  I spent so much time with the guide books that they came to be like friends.  They each had their own personalities, the Lonely Planet was the crazy partier who was looking for some booze and illicit drugs, then there was the big fancy one who's name I never learned because he was big and fancy and had absolutely no information about where the party "was at."  But then!  There was Frommer's which was the perfect compromise.  I spent hours pouring over that thing, planning our next adventure on the fly. 



I was so excited to see the cover of Frommer's in real life, I had to take a really terrible picture of it.


Then finally we made it to our hostel.  The strangest of all sleeping arrangements.  While we had shared bathrooms already this was our first time sharing a room with other guests which was totally fine (I do know what a hostel is and everything).  I was anticipating sharing with some other 20-something travelers and either A-having to sleep with my wallet in my pants or B-getting to share awesome Iceland stories, crossing cultural divides and making life-long friendships but instead when we got there (Fashionably late - around 11 or so at night) there was a family (a mother and 2 children) quietly reading and sleeping which totally killed our post-glacier buzz. 

Knowing that just as much adventure lay ahead the next day, we hung out for a bit in the common room and then promptly went to sleep.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fun with Animals - Days 7 & 8

Since we had tested our luck on the windy, gravely, guardrail-less roads of Iceland and survived, we figured it was time for S.S. Big Britches (which is what we dubbed ourselves while sleep deprived and terrified on the roads of the Western Fjords) to set sail on the actual frickin' Arctic Ocean.

Of course, fate and flat tires meant that this happened on the worst weather day we experienced.  Bad weather on land is magnified dramatically on the ocean as it not only pelts you without any true protection, and makes it feel as though you are sailing in a giant martini shaker.

The boat we were sailing on was advertised as being tres nordic and vintage-y which was cool, except that it meant that it lacked any of those things they have developed to make the boat ride less miserable.

So we set out with some super classy looking foul-weather gear.


I think one of my most favorite things overall about Iceland was all the sweet costumes we got to wear.  The History Museum set the bar pretty high, but the whale watching totally delivered.

The first hour and a half was basically torture.  The puffin island was kind of a bust, since it was raining so hard and we weren't close enough to get good pictures with a short lens.  And then we just rocked back and forth.  The nice Icelandic boat people were perfectly pleasant but failed to mention that the side of the boat (starboard) we were on was the most rocky, dangerous thing EVER.  And that if we just moved to the port side everything would be less miserable.

After telling the Captain and tour guide to take us home NOW they promised that something was going to happen.  Really Soon.  Were they talking out of their butts?  Probably, but they delivered spectacularly.

First there was a blue whale spouting.  Something I think I am always seeing on Nantucket, but actually is totally different than I was anticipating.  And then a pod of dolphins just swimmin'.  And THEN there was a humpback whale and her BABY.  The baby, we were told was actually a toddler, but toddler whale does not sound nearly as adorable.  So it was a humpback and her baby.  How many pictures did I take of this most amazing spectacle?

None.

Nope.  I had a realization while I was flying across the bow and nearly careening overboard to get a closer look - that this was an experience was one just for me.  And I would happily write about it, but that I wasn't going to waste time trying to take pictures.  I was just going to enjoy the fact that I was there. And I did.  It was awesome.

This is my whale face. 

Then Musar vom-bombed over the side of the boat, we got some hot chocolate with Captain Morgan in it (a delightful treat that I am excited to recreate come winter-time), and agreed the torture was worth the pay off.

Once we were back on dry land it was time for a short nap and a trip to Lake Myvatn.  You should read all about Lake Myvatn.  It is quite possibly the coolest place on the planet.  How better to see the amazing lava fields than on the back of a freaking horse?


No way.  There is no way better.  Even in the pouring rain.  Even though my horse had a penchant for taking the most uneven, unstable path set before him.  It was perfect.  The last time I was on a horse was when I was in fourth grade at girl scout camp, but apparently, I have not lost my touch.  I walked, I trotted, I tolt-ed.

Then we hiked through spectacular lava formations and talked about how amazing life is, as one does.


Whales and horses in one day?  What could make things better?

Puffins!

The next day, our first stop was Dettifoss, which is the most powerful waterfall in Europe.


Throughout the entire trip there were constant reminders of the fact that Iceland was in no way a litigious place. At this all mighty waterfall, there were no guard rails and very few "do not go here" signs.  No one seemed to care how close we got to imminent death. Which was kind of refreshing and exhilarating.


After the waterfall and brush with death, our only goal was to drive 466 KM and try not to kill each other.  Luckily we had recently discovered Mike and Tom Eat Snacks.  A podcast that is quite simply perfect for a road trip through a foreign land.  I am pretty sure we listened to almost all the snacks.  Not only did we listen to snacks we GOT snacks out of this bad boy.


A completely solar and wind powered snack hut.  Of course it is in the middle of nothingness in the Eastern Fjords (by this point we were at about 1:30 or 2:30 on the Iceland clock of geography)  We got lost for a solid hour or two, but it was completely worth it for snacks and the puffins.

I could tell you lots of facts about puffins but here is what you really need to know.

1- Puffins mate for life


2- Their babies are called pufflins

 

3- This.

This is my puffins face.  My eyes are squinty with happiness.

After visiting with the puffins, we got back in the car and continued through the Eastern Fjords which look kind of like their Western counterparts.  It did not stop me from taking pictures.


Since this is a short recap, here is interesting stuff that you should know about the trip in general.

-Food in Iceland is super expensive.  So we started grocery shopping and spend a vast majority of the trip eating salami and cheese sandwiches, faux-nutella sandwiches, reconstituted soup mix, baby carrots and bacon flavored potato chips.

-Since what we were eating from the grocery store was not a balanced diet by any stretch of the imagination, we supplemented it with Icelandic hot dogs.  They are covered in delicious sauces. 

-Besides MATES we listened to mostly Adele's "21" album and my favorite Icelandic songs, "Jungle Drum" by Emiliana Torrini and "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men.

-There are sheep everywhere in Iceland.  They are adorable but hard to take pictures of without stopping and getting out of the car.  Luckily we had to stop to let some of them cross the road which gave me a chance to take some pictures.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let's Tempt Fate - Days 5 & 6

I am pretty sure that everything that happened in Iceland before day 5 of this trip was just making us cocky. However, in the moment, I think we just thought we were getting comfortable. We thought we were doing juuuuust fine. Little did we know what lay ahead.

First adventure was a total dud. We got up at 6 AM and head out to Snaefellsjokull National Park only to be told that we couldn't get into the visitor's center until 10. Womp womp.


And so my only pictures of Snaefellsjokull were taken out of the back of the car. I am sad we missed it, but it was billed to me as "Little Iceland" (as in its got all of the neat stuff of Iceland packed in to a much smaller space) and since we went ahead and did regular-sized Iceland, I feel like its okay that apparently, the staff of the visitor's center is extra lazy.

So we skipped ahead to our next adventure, Helgafell which is a hill, just outside of a cute little town called Stykkisholmur. The jam with Helgafell is you get to make three wishes BUT there are a lot of rules that need to be followed.


First - you need start in the correct spot which we are sort-of-kind-of-maybe sure we found, but really we just started where everyone else did. It would be super hilarious if they made the start of the trail not the actual start for the wishes-bit. But those Icelandic people, they are way too nice to pull that kind of crap.


Then- you have to walk up totally silent. And you cannot look back until after you make your wishes. This, I am pretty sure is to get all the tourists to shut up for like, 10 seconds, because it totally works. This was the longest stretch that we were awake and not talking the entire trip. Just for good measure we didn't talk at all until we made it back down. We are dead.ass about wish granting.


And finally, you get up there. You face East (there is a compass up at the top, thank the little baby Jesus) and you (silently) make your wishes.


Then, of course, you take a bunch of touristy pictures, and on the way down you judge the people coming up behind you who clearly have not been told the rules because they a) talk and b) look behind them. They will obviously die miserable and alone for not following the made up rules.

After the hill, there was a stop at crazy awesome church two in Stykkisholmur, which looked crazy from all angles. Followed by a lighthouse and some water.




Then it was on to Holmavik. The cutest gosh-durn town I have ever seen. The most important stop was the Witchcraft and Sorcery Museum where we learned all about what is needed to cast Icelandic spells and how you will totally get burned at the stake if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time and some one's wife is sickly.

After this we spent some time talking to the man in charge of the visitor's center who was excited to tell us all about his lovely town. When we explained that we had bigger and better things to do, namely the Latrabjarg cliffs. We should have noticed his hesitation when we said that we were just planning to drive out and come back. But no. We had climbed a HILL. With Wishes. Nothing was too big or scary for us.

Turns out driving the Western Fjords was EXACTLY that big and scary. It is a little bit Stella the GPS's fault. Stella had a habit of telling us a destination would take a certain number of hours and then continuously adding to that number as the journey progressed. So the journey we were told would take three hours one-way actually ended up taking about six. Bad Stella. Stella also failed the mention that the roads would be terrifying.

 



Anyway, they say its the journey, not the destination that matters. Which is good, because we never made it. We got within in a mile of Latrabjarg cliffs before realizing that our little, cute rental car was not going to make it on the dirt. So we turned around and did the whole crazy thing AGAIN. This time with a stop at a waterfall to keep us from going totally insane.


Naturally, a six hour trip on the way there is also a six hour trip on the way back which meant we didn't get to our hotel until 2 AM. Just in time to realize we needed more music to listen to in the car and oogle our adorable hotel room that we would only spend six hours in before heading out again (a note for you travelers out there, if you are going to try to replicate our ambitious journey, find cheap hotel options - nice hotels are nice, but its not worth the cost since you will only sleep in them and even that you won't do much of - although a private bathroom every night or two makes a world of difference).

Day 6 was the day S.S. Big Britches got taken down a few notches when we were told that we had a flat tire. But by the grace of all the best things Iceland - the town of Holmavik came to our rescue and we got our tire patched by Kali (because Danni was in Reykjavik).

By the end of the tire patching adventure we had just enough energy to drive to Husavik, see the Phallalogical Museum (easily the weirdest thing I have ever paid admission to), take a picture of Courtney next to the phallalogical bit of a sperm whale, go grocery shopping and actually take some time to enjoy the second nice hotel in as many days.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Party time in Reykjavik (Days 3 & 4)

I slept the most of any of the nights on that first one.  Mostly because I hadn't slept in two days.  But after that, no more than 6 hours.  Because while it is pretty weird going to bed when its bright as day outside, its way weirder to wake up, thinking, based on where the sun is in the sky, its 9 or 10 AM and having it actually be 5 or 5:15 AM.  So not so much with the sleeping, which is fine because there was plenty to do.

First things first, be interviewed on Icelandic Public Radio.  My Admiral Ackbar radar went off when the guy asked us questions about what we were excited to see, but I tried to answer honestly and not say too many Icelandic words because that's where I was going to embarrass myself.  Anyway, I have not heard anything about the three stupid, American girls who humiliated themselves on the radio.

The up the bell tower we went, so that we could see the city from a tall building.  Which is always fun.  Even though all cities kind of look the same from the tops of tall buildings.


After bell tower time it was pancake time.  I had heard a lot about Icelandic food but no one mentioned the pancakes and no one mentioned the rye bread (which I will get to later).  So we went to C is for Cookie for a pancake, slathered in chocolate and then piled high with perfectly, homemade (trust me, I know) whipped cream.  It was so sad when it was over.


We ate a LOT of food in Reykjavik.  Which was good, because we basically stopped eating once we got on the Ring Road.  All the food was delicious, but this was probably the most delightful.  Light and perfect.  Icelandic pancakes are by far the best of all pancakes.

And then it was off to the Icelandic History Museum.  Which was educational and awesome.  Why?  The kids section!  I feel like the kids section of most National museums is lacking, because they feel like they need to make the whole museum kid-friendly.  This of course, backfires because kids hate reading and you can only extrapolate so much from a poorly animated movie.  So instead, the Iceland Museum is a grown-up museum chock-full of knowledge but it had a room full of awesome kid things.

Like Dress Ups.

And Viking Props.

Other stuff too, but this was the best.

After learning it was time for more outside stuff.  And more eating.  We had our first Icelandic Hot Dog which was just as amazing as promised.  So amazing that we continued to eat one a day for the rest of the trip (no seriously, we did).  Then a bowl of rye bread ice cream at Cafe Loki.  Rye bread ice cream seems to only exist at Cafe Loki.  And its worth the cost of the plane ticket for a bowl or two. 

We went out for a late dinner. We had seriously problems getting a grip on what time it was ever, which made us really late for nearly anything we did after 6 PM.  The fact that we didn't have dusk to signify that the "day" was ending, so we better wrap things up like functional, polite humans was a serious problem, and to all the guesthouse owners who had to let us in at 11 PM or later, I most sincerely apologize.

Dinner at Cafe Paris, who was the only place that would seat us (at exactly 11 PM, which is when we sat down for dinner...while it was still light out) so we dined and then went on search of drunken adventure.

Here's the thing about being old crotchety ladies in our late 20's.  Our tolerance for loud noise and rude young people is very, very low.  So first we ended up at The Dubliner, which looks exactly like every Fado I've ever seen.  There was a special - 1000 ISK (so about $10) for a shot of Opal OR Topaz and then a cheap, terrible Icelandic beer.  Courtney managed to talk me into it.  And it was a terrible decision.  Opal or Topaz, which ever we ended up with (I'm honestly not sure) tasted like Jagermeister's skanky younger cousin that wears thigh-high boots to Christmas dinner.  The beer tasted like water that someone had left a nickel in.

Then we ended up at the English Pub.  You might think us xenophobic, but honestly they were the first two bars we came across that didn't have techno-dance-vom-bom music bursting through the closed doors.  In the English Pub, random strangers handed us beers and because we have never seen a Lifetime Movie, we happily took them.  This ended up being a totally fine choice, though probably not one we would have made in any other country (Icelanders have a rep for being really nice and not total sketch balls, and they totally live up to it).

Things get fuzzy from here on out.  All I know is that I spent most of the night dancing around as the band played covers of all the songs my parents used to list to, wearing the scarf I pilfered from our table at the Dubliner.  Occasionally I would strike up conversations with random strangers (and sometimes my two friends, when we weren't yelling at the single one to go make out with tall nordic lads, sorry McKim).  It was a lovely hazy blur.  And when we stumbled onto the street at the ripe hour of 3 AM, it looked like it was 6:30 at night.  It was still weird.

On the way home, in the vain hope of finding a clean bathroom, we ended up on a side street that had my favorite piece of street art ever.

In normal places, it would have been dark, so I would have never seen this.  But in Iceland it was just the perfect light for a picture.

 

I know you don't think I took these pictures at 3 AM.  But, trust me.  I did.

The next morning we got a late start as we realized our little respite was coming to an end and the real adventure was beginning.  First we took this bus to pick up our rental car.


If you know me, you know exactly why this was awesome and exactly why we took the bus when we could have easily walked the half mile to where we were going.

After we picked up the car, we went to the flea market, which reminded me of the Aloha Swap Meet on Oahu.  So many things about Iceland felt like Hawai'i.  These two very proud cultures living on crazy volcano islands that are gorgeous, but are also literally ticking time bombs just waiting to spew hot magma and ruin all your fun.  After a lunch at the extra kitschy Viking restaurant it was time for a ROAD TRIP.


On our road trip, we went clockwise at the island.  Starting at about 7:00 or so - (if you think of Iceland as a clock with the north of it being 12:00 - obviously) our first stop was Barnafoss and Hraunfossar.  This was the first time I knew that we were no longer in Kansas.  Gorgeous waterfalls steps from the high way with hilarious and amazing backstories.  Awesome.



Arnastapi (so 8:45 or so?) was our final destination.  On the way there, I fell in love with Iceland even more that I had before.  I totally got the best straw, in that my friends did all the driving while I sat in the back and took pretty pictures.  We stopped and drove up some random person's drive way because they had a waterfall in their backyard.  That was the first time I lost my marbles about how awesome everything was that day.


The second time was when I had the best lamb chop I had ever had.  Ever.  At dinner.  It was over priced and it took about an hour longer than it should have, but it was perfect.  Mmm. Lamb chops.  This was the last big fancy meal we had before the end of the trip and it was the best send off to a life of sandwiches and ramen I could have asked for.

Then, because it was 9 PM and still looked like this outside -


We went on a hike between Arnastapi and Hellnar that was basically a very easy and fully oxengenated hike on a mossy moon.



This was number three awesome sauce thing. As we collapsed into bed with the snoring man on the other side of the wall (lame sauce thing one) with the sun shining down on us we knew we were in for an adventure.

She's pint-sized and amazing.