The next morning we decided that we had to head into town and try to find a Laundromat to de-stink our biking clothes. Living in America, you could make a pretty safe bet that any strip mall on the outskirts of any town will likely contain one. Reykjavik, the largest city in the entire country has ONE. Singular. And I’m doubting that any other villages out of town have any at all. If any of you readers are well seasoned travelers, can you tell me if Laundromats are common in other countries? I was not doing laundry outside the home when we lived in Germany. And when I traveled to South America, I’m pretty sure I didn’t care what I smelled like!
We attempted to drive Kevin through the medieval sized streets of Reykjavik, and we quickly decided that we should park far, far away from downtown and walk in. Clint managed to avoid all other cars, parked and moving, successfully and we happily hoofed it back to downtown as pedestrians. Phew, accident avoided.
The single said Laundromat is a really good one, to be sure. It is a combination bar, restaurant, kids play house and clothes cleaning facility. Sounds odd, but it works really well. After a few hours of sight seeing we started searching for a local food restaurant to dine in. We sat down at a fairly collegy looking place that advertised fresh seafood chowder and Icelandic fare, were given the menus and after a quick tally on our currency converters….. we walked out of the restaurant. We decided that we could make delicious sandwiches in Kevin that would rival any $40 soup. We did find a fantastic bakery however! And Megan is promising to make rhubarb wedding cake as a special for her bakery in Hood River, The Pine Street Bakery. If you go there, make sure you ask for it!
Bellies full and clothes dry dryish, we hit the road and headed north towards the Westfjords. We passed through the amazing Hvalfjordur tunnel that must break some records set somewhere on earth. First of all, it was 8% grade on the north side! What the heck?? That is seriously steep! And it went nearly 540 feet under the sea. Being from Seattle where Bertha is setting other kinds of records for her tunneling skills, in the interest of mutual tunnel comparison, we asked the toll booth lady how long it took to drill the whole thing. She confidently said 5 months, which left us all agape and marveling at the wonders of Icelandic industriousness.
However, a quick peek at the brochure and verification on Wikipedia tells us that it was started in 1996 and finished in 1998. Last I checked, two years is not the same as 5 months. We determined that she was a member of the Icelandic tourism board and paid to impress us with stories, fictitious or otherwise.
Our goal for the night camp was Laugar at Saelingsdal. This itsy bitsy place features prominently in Icelandic saga, and if you are interested in a brief synopsis of Laxdaela Saga, I recommend this thesis. (http://www3.gettysburg.edu/~cfee/MedievalNorthAtlantic/Lavgar/Laugar%20by%20Saporito.pdf)
We locked our bikes up and went for a fantastic hike amongst the lowbush blueberries, sheep and swans. It was a real treat to see a swan family so close. We rounded a bend and the male took a defensive stance at Clint while the female and 4 babies walked up the cliff away from us. The male eventually took flight, and buzzed Clint’s head, then flew down valley and landed in a farmer’s pond. He continued to call for his family from there and eventually got impatient enough that he took flight again and returned for a more intense family discussion. After giving them a what-for, he returned to the pond and apparently that inspired the mom to take flight. The babies followed one at a time. She guided the kids around the valley and towards the pond. It took several attempts to get the right spiral downward, but eventually she guided all the kids to a safe landing and avoided all high tension wires too. Great parents.
Notes from my journal:
“To Bertha: get fucking digging!!!”
Shaggy manes from the side of the road added to lamb curry dinner.
THINGS I’M GLAD I PACKED:
Clint: Megan, Cooler, Red marmot parka, Dansko’s, and thermal mug.
Megan: half gloves and thermal mug
Mark: crocs and half gloves (forgot a thermal mug and that will plague him for the rest of the trip)
Meika: Feathered Friends coat, Filson’s camp socks and crocs
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