Its almost 70 degrees outside. In December. You know where its not 70 degrees in December? You guessed it - Iceland. You like that?
I can't emphasize enough how bipolar the weather is in Iceland. It literally hailed, snowed and rained while we walked a block. It's not even that cold in Iceland but the wind - uff the wind - its soul shattering.
Something I forgot to add in my previous post but I would like to emphasize now: take as many pictures as you can. Don't say "oh i'll take the picture on our drive back." Nope. No. Nada. Do. Not. Do. it. Just pull over whenever you want and take the picture. I missed many many shots that I regret not stopping and taking. As you're driving, there are road signs with a camera (don't confuse these with the speeding camera - we made that mistake), stop at these spots. Also, if you're driving, make sure your passenger knows how to use your camera (cough cough Bob had no clue). I regret not taking enough pictures. I regret not taking a picture of everything. Literally, take a picture of everything.
Day 2 in Iceland started as everyone had predicted - we overslept. My phone battery died (while Bushra's phone was charged at 100%). I think the biggest and most important consequence of us waking up late was the fact that we missed free breakfast; the only free thing we got in Iceland, other than the water.
I quickly changed and went to get the car out of the parking garage. There I was distracted by this wall mural. One of the guys working asked me where I was from, and I told him DC (by the way, I was never sure how to respond - America? USA? The States? DC?). He told me his mom lived in Philly but he didn't know where DC was. Close by buddy.
I assumed you could pay exiting the garage. My assumption was incorrect. Everything was in a foreign language and I couldn't understand anything. Oh and I'm in this big SUV blocking everyone else from exiting. I push the help button and the guy keeps on saying, yes yes pay pay. Uh, how do you pay pay? Yes yes pay pay. This was our conversation. Someone came to the rescue and I paid, I'm sure some crazy amount. So I exit the garage and I can't figure out how to get to the hotel. I see the hotel but of course there is no straight road and I can't tell whats a one-way or not. I say Allah's name and start driving. I ended up on a road which had a sign I could understand: Do Not Enter. Bob saw the idiot in the white SUV and came to my rescue.
According my detailed itinerary, it was the day to see the West Coast: Akranese, Hraunfossar, Gerouberg, Arnarstapi, Londrangar, Djupalon, and Grundarfjorour.
We started our journey to Akranese. After much persistence and some yelling, Bob finally stopped on the highway so I could take these pictures. So pretty you guys.
We also stopped at this random farm. That tiny little red dot is the farm house in front of the mountain.
First stop, Akranese. Akranese is a cute little port city. One thing I notice was there there was no brown dirt anywhere. Everywhere you looked, there was black dirt. The colors, like my fabulous orange boots, really stand out against the black ground.
I made a friend at this port named Gre-goooryyyy (if you have snapchat, you would have met him). He told me that the boat pictured below was contracted by an American to be built in Iceland. Once they started building the boat they told the American that they would need more money to finish building it. The American was like "yeah sure, let me just go back home and I'll send you money." 60 somewhat years later, they're still waiting for the money.
Okay now the most important part of the day two: meeting these cuties. I begged and begged and begged and begged and FINALLY Bob pulled over so I could meet the famous Icelandic ponies. These ponies are so so friendly. Maybe too friendly. They come to you and nudge you so you can pet them. They also run after you when you're trying to run away from them so walk away slowly. Also, if you're going with someone, make sure they have you back. Bob stayed in her car, while I ran for my life.
We skipped Hraunfossar because there wasn't enough daylight left to drive that way. Our next stop was Gerouberg. You see the squiggly lines on the sign, that sign means this is a tourist spot. So if you're driving and see this sign, quickly google what it is and if its worth stopping and seeing. Gerouberg is a place with Basaltic columns. I kept on telling Bushra during the trip and I'll say it again, I bet Iceland is gorgeous in the summer time, when its green and warm.
There was a snowy mountain front of us and Bushra was feeling adventurous so we drove a little bit. There we saw this stream.
Next stop was Arnarstapi, another fishing village. These are the roads we drove on. Dotted white lines to show a two-way street. Wtf? We drove from behind that mountain. Literally no other car for kilometers and kilometers. Just me and Bob.
This cool stone structure is Bárður Snæfellsás - cool looking Viking. There was a pathway behind the structure to see the ocean.
It was getting dark at this point but we weren't willing to give up yet. We quickly drove to the next spot, Londrangar. These are ancient basalt volcanic dikes sticking out from the sea. You had to park and walk to these rock formation. The long was would take 45 minutes and we had maybe 5/10 minutes of light left. Bob saw a man-made pathway and decided that was the shortcut. There were tiny stairs going down and we walked as quickly as we could. Don't let this picture fool it, by the time I took this picture, it was pitch black - thank Allah for the wide lens I rented. We took a few pictures and decided it was probably not a good idea to be in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, with no one else around. We started heading back and lost the pathway a few times; our car was parked behind the mountain we cut. Let me remind you again, its pitch black. Thank Allah for the flash light I brought. I may or may not have freaked out but Bob kept her cool.
This was our last spot. There was no point of continuing our journey in the dark. We headed back to our hotel to maybe, hopefully see the Northern Lights. We stood in the dark for hours. One hour. Nothing. Moved to the next spot. Nothing. Our bus got hit by a house, yes a house, but no stupid Northern Lights. Stupid lights.
We got back to our hotel around 2 A.M. and were knocked out. I made sure my phone was charged and set my alarm for 8, enough time to shower and more importantly, get some breakfast.