Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.


Sweeping Vista

Iceland Recap: Day 6

Monday, April 30, was mostly a driving day as we made our way southwest, back to Reykjavik. The weather was gray and windy and rainy and cold, which made the drive all the more exhausting.

The day started with breakfast at our guesthouse, Mikligarður. We then hit the road, but took a break about an hour and a half later, stopping for a snack at the immaculate grill counter at the N1 petrol station in Staðarskáli. (It was seriously huge and very clean, and the convenience store area well-stocked. They also offered an English-language version of their menu.)

Further south, we stopped in Borgarnes to visit the Settlement Center museum, devoted to the country’s history around the time of Viking settlement. The structure of the museum’s main exhibit was similar to that of the Saga Museum in Reykjavik — listening to a recorded English-language audio guide and stopping when prompted at various stations — but it felt a little better-executed. Afterward, we partook of the vegetarian “light lunch” buffet at the museum restaurant, which included a delicious carrot ginger soup.

Our route back to Reykjavik included the Hvalfjörður Tunnel, which charges a toll. We’d heard that credit cards were accepted for payment, but just in case — we didn’t know if it was going to be an automated card-swipe situation (where we’d run into the chip+PIN issue again) — we stopped for cash. It was the only time we got cash our entire trip — and we turned out not to need it: There was an attendant at the toll booth, and we had no problem with our credit card.

Finally, we arrived back in Reykjavik and checked back into Kex. We had a salmon dinner at the hostel’s gastropub.

Then we headed out for a movie. I’m not usually one to go to movies while I’m on a big vacation — so many other things to do and see — but after a week on the road, a movie sounded pretty good. Plus, The Avengers had opened in Iceland (and a few other countries) a week before the U.S.(Hooray, Thor?) The movie-going experience was pretty similar to that in the U.S., with some subtle distinctions (and one big one):

  • Our movie stopped abruptly right after a pivotal scene. I was taken by surprise and frustrated at first, but Rob told me he’d read about it — apparently it’s a customary thing in Iceland. Most people in the theater shuffled out for a few minutes.
  • The movie was shown in the original English, but with Icelandic subtitles. During a scene in Russian, the subtitles were still Icelandic.
  • Compared to U.S. multiplexes, concessions seemed pretty inexpensive. The candy offerings were heavy on licorice, but also included some tasty Icelandic chocolate selections.

Afterward, it was back to Kex to repack and plan our final day, listening through our open window to a Smiths cover band playing downstairs.

Photos from Iceland »

More: Overall | Day 1: Reykjavik | Day 2: Golden Circle to Vik | Day 3: Vik to Höfn | Day 4: Höfn to Mývatn | Day 5: Mývatn to Sauðárkrókur | Day 6: Sauðárkrókur to Reykjavik | Day 7: Reykjavik