Too much fun stuff has happened in the past two days for me to be able to write anything at all comprehensive. Yesterday we went to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermally heated swimming pool filled with volcanic mud that's supposed to be really good for the skin. Seeing as whenever I fly, I always want to have a hot shower as the first thing after landing, going somewhere where I had to have a hot shower followed by a long 38 degree C bath followed by another hot shower was the most excellent plan in the world. We ate at an Indian called Shalimar where I had a curry made from courgette/zucchini and red kidney beans with mango - never had anything like that before, but it was great.
Today we wandered down Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik. Ludy met many yarn & knitting shops. I bought some sandals from 66 degrees North, the Icelandic clothing retailer, that have PROPER TOE PROTECTION and A SOLE WITH THICK TREAD. I've been looking for such footwear forever, as while I love my Doc Martens-type boots, they do get hot in the summer. Too many sandals, even the ones designed as summer walking shoes, don't protect the toes and lack a sole with enough grip for me to feel safe. The really amazing thing is these sandals actually have BUILT-IN ORTHOTICS, so I don't need to find a way to hide mine in them. And while Iceland is notoriously expensive, these shoes cost about what less useful ones would at home.
We had coffee and lunch at Kaffi Hljomalind, a co-operative anarchist vegetarian cafe with great artwork. We walked up to Hallgrímskirkja, possibly the oddest-shaped church in the world, and were lucky enough to go up the tower before it shuts for renovation on Monday. Then we went to the Einar Jónsson Museum which is almost next door, but only made it as far as the free garden before deciding we'd had enough (his sculptures are really rather depressing). Finally we saw an odd exhibition in the National Gallery of Iceland, which I'm sure Ludy will write about in more detail. Dinner was at an Italian restaurant called Rosso Pomodoro, which did an excellent vegan pizza with roasted vegetables.
This evening we went on a bus trip they call the Golden Circle tour. It featured just the right amount of science to keep this Science Genius Girl happy. There was loads of geology in the form of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, glaciers, volcanic craters and the aftereffects of an earthquake 3 weeks ago; the chemistry of lava (black and red); the physics of geothermal and hydroelectric power (which I already know, but it was still cool); and even some biology of native trees and the Arctic fox. We saw a huge waterfall called Gullfoss, the original Geysir (pronounced GAY-SEER) that gave its name to all the others, and we stood on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where new rock is forming as the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates move apart. My brain is full, in a good way.
Anyway, I suppose I should drag myself to bed, although the square outside is still full of drunk people shouting "RUNTUR! RUNTUR!" and quaffing ale. Photos will follow much later - considering my existing backlog, maybe in 18 months or so :P I'm sure otterylexa and artremis will be writing entries soon, which will fill in some gaps, and both Alexa and Richard have taken several billion photos on decent cameras, which I'm sure they're intending to share.