As I predicted I’ve been falling behind in my emails just simply because the days are so chock full of activities and time spent with the group. So I’ll have to cover days 2 and 3 together here.
First I have to mention Maria’s awesome cooking. We spent the first couple days based out of their home in Reykjavik so everyday when we finish riding and soaking in fantastic hot pools, we had a home-cooked meal waiting for us. The first day we had tenderloin, the second we had charr – both were incredible. Before the tour began I wasn’t eating all that much, partly becauseIi didn’t need many calories and partly because food is so expensive. But I’ve been stuffing myself at their house and I’m sure I’ve gained back any weight I lost.
On day 2 we did the steaming valley ride. Unfortunately it was raining (again) and muddy but the scenery was crazy. There literally are steam vents coming out of the ground all over the place and when you stop and look at the ground, you can see faint wisps of steam rising from beneath your feet. We also passed by several mud pots where pools of greyish mud boil. You have to be careful because the ground is slippery and if you fall into that stuff you will burn the shit outta yourself. In fact, one guy was just walking across a grassy field, sunk into some mud, and burned his ankle abit. Pretty cool. The streams are also quite warm and people just find random spots to soak. I thought it was gonna be a crap day for photos but Dan still managed to fire off some incredible stuff for the article.
On day 3 we drove a few hours north to the city of Akureyri – kind of the capital of northern Iceland and the country’s second biggest city. Main industries are fishing and tourism. Finally we got sunny weather and dusty trails with some fantastic views. Its pretty similar to Alaska or the Yukon actually.
Now that we’re away from Magne and Maria’s place, we’re hitting up restaurants for lunch and dinner. Today I ate 2 animals that I havent tried before: horse and whale. Neither was particularly unique in flavor or texture but the whale was cooked to perfection and tasted like a delicious steak. Yup, its an endangered species – see my previous blurb. There was also seal on the menu but I can only eat so many animals in a day.
Although there seems to be a dearth of expensive cars in Iceland, I sometimes wonder if Iceland’s economic situation has any basis in overconsumption, like in the US. I mean, Icelanders do like new gadgets and fashion items, so things like iPhones, designer clothing, Macbooks, or high-end appliances are quite common. And they do like to travel the world. So perhaps they have been living beyond their means. Perhaps the items that have risen in price by 50% are now the same relative price to what we pay in North America. I don’t know – its something I will have to look into.