Thursday started kind of slowly and ended up being completely incredible. We woke up early – again – and after breakfast, headed out for the Hraunfossar waterfalls and some nearby caves. We then drove on literally the bumpiest road ever, a Kaldidalur mountain road between two huge glaciers.
At one point, we heard a loud pop and could have sworn a tire just blew, but the bus kept rolling for another hour. When we pulled up to the Hotel Valhalla for lunch, the bus driver discovered that we were right – he had blown a tire. I have no idea what would have happened to us in the middle of nowhere, in between glaciers, if our bus would have broken down. It’s been an incredibly lucky week.
After a lunch of grilled chicken salads and/or trout, we jumped back onto a paved road to make our way to the Geysir hotspring and got to see the geyser in action. So incredible – but very smelly, since there’s lots of sulfur. So smelly in fact, that I was actually alarmed when two chefs were brought out to our group to dig up a loaf of rye bread they had steamed underground – if anything would have tasted like that smell, yikes. Thankfully, the bread was delicious and sulfur free. Herring was served on the side.
After visiting another waterfall, Gullfoss, we finally made our way back to Reykjavik. The original plan was for a group dinner at the new restaurant Orange, but Thor surprised us with a dinner set up in a private home. A couple have this amazing house (with a waterfall in the backyard) in an area just outside the city – we came in to find a huge table set with arugula and smoked trout salads.
After that first course, the wife took us on a tour of the neighborhood – we saw a neighbor’s art studio, watched another neighbor’s documentary teaser, and then were treated to a tour of Sigur Ros’s studio! Best of all, the tour was given by drummer Orri Páll Dýrason’s wife who couldn’t have been sweeter or more excited to show us where the guys have recorded such albums as Takk… and (). We went back to the house for dinner – smoked lamb and what I believe was a kind of fowl. (couldn’t get the name) Our dessert was whipped skyr (yay!!!) and blueberries. I’ve got to say, it was the best meal I had in Iceland.
By that point, we were startled to hear it was 1am so we returned to our hotel, the Hotel Borg – a fantastic art deco hotel that was just beautiful. Sleep came easy. Tomorrow we get to relax, visit the Blue Lagoon, and then head to the airport.