Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Iceland, Day 2: Reykjanesbaer

After a day of driving, we decided to spend our second day closer to where we were staying in Njardvik, namely on the Reykjanesbaer peninsula.  I became intrigued while looking at a map I found in our accommodation showing the sights on the peninsula:  some geothermic spots, craters, a place where 2 tectonic plates meet, the Blue Lagoon.  All in all, it wasn't as boring as I'd previously assumed.  I thought there wasn't anything to see nearby, but was pleasantly wrong!

The first sight of the day was this, outside the supermarket where we picked up the bread, cookies and treats we'd need for the day-and boy, did we need them: 

I found this mildly amusing, in particular the poor spelling.  Just what language was the writer a native speaker of, anyway?  Probably not English, despite their impressive vocabulary. 

Even more pleasing than badly spelled insults, however, was this find at the grocery store checkout:  my initiation into the wonderful world of chocolate covered licorice!  This was one of those things that I saw and thought, "It's either going to be wonderful or horrible, with no in between."  I was right:  it was the most wonderful form of licorice I've ever tasted!  This was sort of my gateway licorice, later in the day I became overwhelmed with bulk licorice, which I've already posted about. 

After shopping, we went back to our little cabin, made some coffee, had some breakfast, packed some sandwiches and were on our way. 

 Much of the peninsula looked like this, which didn't make me very optimistic about having an interesting day, but things picked up later.

I enjoyed the patches of lupines, which added a touch of color to the otherwise rocky, mossy landscape.  Apparently these natives of northwestern North America were imported from Canada to help stop erosion, but they've spread so quickly and so well that they are practically weeds in some areas.

 It was kind of neat to see the place where two of the Earth's tectonic plates meet.
 Here I am between the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate, a line I've been treading for quite some time now.

Now I'm back in Europe.

This was the tourist stop, with nice signs and paths.  On the way here, we noticed a gravel road going in the opposite direction, toward the ocean.  We decided to take that road, likely the one less travelled, after making the official tourist stop.  It turned out to be quite the experience.  We probably should have read this sticker in the car before doing so:

 But that's why we rented a four wheel drive!  We ended up doing a couple of these things.  We drove on road 35, which was no problem at all, it was just a dirt road.  Perhaps it's problematic in the winter.  The more questionable decision, however, was driving on a track with no road number.  But you'll see more of that below.
The thing that lured us back in here were the cool black sand dunes, which I would have liked to have walked on, but then I got distracted.
 Here's a view of the beach and the Atlantic ocean, it really was lovely!
 More of the dunes, and someone else drove in here, so it should be fine...

Oops.  We had a little trouble driving along the beach, it was slow going, but at one point the drive was over.  We just sank right in.
Fortunately there was a gracious family farther down the beach who had a bigger 4x4 than we did, so we ran to them and asked for help.  They didn't have a rope, but we did.  We'd found a big, thick rope that had washed up on the beach, it must've fallen off a ship.  That's the whole reason we drove out onto the beach, we wanted to take the rope home and had been carrying it, but it was kind of a pain in the neck, so drove out, and, well, you can see what happened next...

So we got down on our hands and knees and started digging out our tires.  You can't really see it in the pictures, but sand was all jammed up under the car and even up in it, so we worked on clearing it out, and slowly, slowly pulled it out, all of us taking turns driving the cars and pushing BOTH cars, because later on we managed to get the Jeep stuck, too.  The poor guy had just put his summer tires on, and on that sand winter tires would've definitely been better!

Many push marks were left on the car after that little 2-hour adventure.  There was more to our tour of Reykjanesbaer, but I think we all need a rest after that.  Quote of the day:  "Now this is like vacation!  It's getting fun now," said 100% irony free, and not by me.

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