Reykjanes - Grindavik, Blue Lagoon
the Laxá valley
From Þingvellir, instead of going straight to Reykjavik, we went north
to Hvalfjörður, along a road that runs through farmland down the valley
of the Laxá ("salmon river"). Across the fjord there were views of a
huge cement works and of Akranes, but we saw no whales.
Reaching Reykjavik, we drove around looking
for somewhere to have dinner. After a visit to a
supermarket near old harbour, we ended up eating catfish in a cafe
"Gallery 22" on Laugavegur, right near Anna's flat. This was just
like a Newtown cafe here in Sydney - the video screening list included
Manufacturing Consent - and there were two men playing chess
and a man and a woman playing backgammon.
Anna wasn't home - and she'd left note on her door, but on the inner door
where we couldn't reach or read it. There was no response on her mobile,
so we left a note on her door and waited in the car, a bit depressing.
But she eventually turned up and found us - she'd been invited to a
farewell party for a fellow student (in a swimming pool, as is apparently
common in Iceland).
Wednesday 3rd September
Heading south out of Reykjavik, our first stop was Kleifarvatn, a large
"dead" lake - this was slightly eerie, but not that exciting. Just south
of Kleifarvatn is a small geothermal area with half a kilometre or so
of boardwalk, and some coloured lakes.
We stopped at a lovely little reconstructed church at Krísuvík, then
went out to the Selatangar beach, where fishermen used to bring boats in
and out of the water. It wasn't stormy, but you could still feel the
immense power of the sea here - I wouldn't want to have been taking a
small boat out even in good weather!
It was raining lightly so we pushed on to Grindavik for lunch, which
was an excellent meal in a fish restaurant - monk-fish for Camilla,
haddock for Anna, and "three kinds of fish" for me. The Icelandic Salt
Fish Museum has a surprisingly fascinating history of salt-fishing
in Iceland; there's also an attached art gallery. They were selling
(saltfish), and Anna bought a bag just to try it -
it has the consistency of cardboard, with a slight fish taste (for some
reason it's popular in Spain and Portugal).
Blue Lagoon from afar
Blue Lagoon (Bláa Lónið) utilises waste-water from a geothermal power
plant to heat what is effectively a huge outdoor swimming pool. It's a
big complex and something of a tourist trap, though it wasn't that busy
when we were there. We swam
around the "lagoon", playing with the therapeutic mud, a tame waterfall,
and other attractions, and made a brief visit to the sauna. It was good
fun despite, the gusting rain, and we spent maybe an hour there all up.
It was too wet for photos, except for some very blurry ones taken from
inside through the windows or from a distance when we were leaving.
Back in Reykjavik, we left the car in same spot I'd picked it up and
rang the car hire company to tell them where it was. We had dinner in
Gallery 22 and Anna explained her computer woes - the hard drive on
her laptop had carked it, and getting a new disk drive and having it
installed was so expensive in Iceland that it was more practical for
her husband buy a entire new laptop in Australia and FedEx it to her!
Next: Reykjavik attractions
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[Alternative spellings: Hvalfjordur]