There won’t be daily updates, don’t worry.
But today has gone remarkably well, I think. When I was booking the holiday I hadn’t really noticed it was bank holiday Monday today. Pleasingly that meant an incredibly easy journey to the airport in almost empty trains with lots of room for luggage. There was a very slow queue to check my bag in, but atypically for Manchester, security was very quick. The flight wasn’t full and I was literally the first person to pick up my bag from the carousel. Things took a slight downturn when I spent forever wandering around inside and outside the airport trying to find the left luggage place. I think, to be honest, I might as well have brought my big suitcase with me, rather than doing clever packing to make sure I didn’t need it here. But anyway, I got there in the end and then onto the bus to Reykjavik.
The drive is through the lava fields. It is a quite bizarre landscape with moss and occasional grasses as the only evidence of living things. I was relieved to spot a patch of green grass when we passed through a town. It was a very vivid green, with stripes. And as we turned a bend, a little flag became visible. Someone has built a golf course in the lava fields! I don’t think it had any rough at all, just fairway, green and then rock.
Things I like about Iceland best so far: No one is afraid of colourful architecture. Basically everything is built out of concrete and corrugated iron. And then painted in bonkers colours: lime green, blue, yellow, cerise, red. Sometimes tastefully combined with white, other times all piled in together. It is glorious. There isn’t much of a consistent style that I can see, either. I suspect because most of the buildings are relatively new.
The lava fields are a pretty bleak, demanding landscape, and I don’t think the rest of the island is much better. It is amazing to me that people have lived here and survived.
I had something for dinner that was described as fish stew ‘in the new style’ on the menu (avoiding the grilled whale and the smoked puffin). It looked like a bowl of scrambled eggs, though it quite clearly wasn’t. It was fishy and rather delicious, served with fried new potatoes and rye bread. And then I had Skyr sorbet (Skyr is a special Icelandic kind of yogurt) with poached pears, blueberry granita, meringue pieces, raspberries and chocolate crumble. I am not entirely sure all the bits went together, but there were a lot of yummy things on the plate.
I am staying at a youth hostel, possibly for the first time ever. It is, however, an uber-trendy youth hostel and I have a private room, so it is not exactly spartan. It is supposed to be a double room, but it is the kind with two very narrow single beds that you can push together. I am enjoying sprawling across both. There is only room for a single bed in my tiny bedroom at the Shed, so a double bed always feels luxurious. The hostel is right in the centre of Reykjavik and I had a little wander around before and after dinner. I was slightly taken aback by the big sign for the Penis Museum.
Judging by the amount of building work going on, Iceland’s economy must be recovering at least a bit. The sea front looks like one long building site.
Tomorrow is the tour of the Golden Circle and trip to the Fontana Spa. Can’t wait.