Right now I´m at the Hotel Reykjahlid... not only am I the only guest here, I am currently the only PERSON here, as the owner went home to his wife for the night. So I figured this would be a good time to post. It´s strange having an entire 3-story hotel to yourself... let´s hope it goes better than The Shining. The hotel is on Lake Myvatn, which might be the most peaceful place on Earth at this moment (I hear it gets really crowded and hectic during the summer tourist season). Before the owner left he cooked me a delicious dinner that included Arctic Char freshly pulled from the Arctic. I really like it here!
The rest of the trip has been great so far. The flight on Friday night was smooth and on-time, and IcelandAir has a free entertainment system with Slumdog Millionaire and 2 eps of Arrested Development. Yesterday I spent the day in Reykjavik, which is the world´s quietest big city; did some sightseeing, not much to report. Then this morning I picked up the rental car and drove 6 hours north to Myvatn. Actually it was more like 7 hours, due to one small navigational error that took me off the highway (it´s not my fault... I was told by the rental car guy to keep going straight "forever," when actually there was one left turn). As the road got less paved and more slushy, I began cursing the fact that I hadn´t gotten a car with 4WD... I hydroplaned more than once. Eventually I reached a huge snowbank with a sign that said "Impassable." A complicated U-turn and 40km of backtracking later, I was back in business.
Iceland is just what I was hoping for: beautiful and low-key. It´s crazy how un-modern they are... the hotel owner says there is one TV station here, and I learned from the National Museum that they didn´t even begin broadcasting TV until 1966. They also didn´t get credit cards until 1980, and through the 50s most people lived in tiny one-room log cabins before learning about concrete.
The next few days will be all about hiking... at least as much as possible, as there is still tons of snow on the ground. I´ll be working my way back to Reykjavik to pick up my friend on Wednesday, then together we´ll hit the southern part of the island. Sadly this trip will be over before I know it...
I´ll try to post a couple more times from Iceland, and photos will come upon my return to NYC.
P.S. Whoever came up with the saying that Iceland is green and Greenland is icy is at least 50% incorrect, at least from my experiences...
Sunday, April 05, 2009