town of Vic, Iceland

Fire and ice day 10:”Never on Sunday”

July 5, 2021

Photo credit: Carol Madigan

camper stop: Dyrhólaey and the natural arch, Iceland's southernmost point
Dyrhólaey and the natural arch, Iceland’s southernmost point

   Today marked our first week in the camper. Thanks to Carol’s housekeeping skills, the van still looked as pristine as the day we picked it up. No partially made bed, strewn laundry, empty potato chip bags and wine bottles lying around like a homeless encampment, mad searches for cell phones or charger cables…in other words nothing like the way the camper would look had this been one of my solo travels. Carol had created a seamless, stress free system of order and organization that left me with but one standard to maintain on my own: See to it that we don’t run dangerously low on either diesel fuel for the van or wine for Happy Hour.

camper stop: The lighthouse at Dyrhólaey is also a B&B
The lighthouse at Dyrhólaey is also a B&B

   For the entire trip, I never let the fuel gage in our camper drop much below three quarters, for fear of ever finding ourselves in the middle of nowhere and suddenly realizing we might not make it to a gas station in time. Similarly, I kept a close eye on the wine carrier(s), making sure we were never caught short with no state store in sight or open when we were passing through town.

   And so it was, as we drove into Vik late Sunday morning. The map indicated it was the biggest town between us and the Golden Circle, which would mark the end of our trip. It would be a good spot to top off the tank and restock the wine cellar. Oh, it was also the home of the little red roofed church against a backdrop of stunning ocean rock formations that was the establishing shot for the haunting Netflix drama, Katla.

Unfortunately, Carol was unable to pull any additional magic out of her logistical bag of tricks that would have brought us to a state store open on Sunday, and we were to limp into Selfoss later that evening about a bottle short of a full service Happy Hour.

camper stop: The Skogafoss waterfall and luncheonette
The Skogafoss waterfall and luncheonette

   We (and I should say: me or I) dawdled too long in town, and we missed the window that would have put us on a ferry to an island that was home to nesting puffins, among other feathery species. Carol quickly calculated (with a deftness that would have prompted the GPS lady into silent admiration) a new destination that would deliver us to a promontory (Dyrhólaey) that featured a lighthouse and a rock-ledged rookery for nesting seabirds, including puffins (we wouldn’t spot any). Unfortunately, Carol was unable to pull any additional magic out of her logistical bag of tricks that would have brought us to a state store open on Sunday, and we were to limp into Selfoss later that evening about a bottle short of a full service Happy Hour. (My very bad.)

camper stop: giant puffin statue
As close as we got to a puffin sighting

   Anyway, Dyrhólaey more than compensated with spectacular views of the ocean, rock formations, rookeries, and that featured a steep, treacherously switchbacked gravel road to the summit that added additional shades of pale to my already whitened knuckles.

   Later, the Skogafoss waterfall provided a dramatic backdrop for our lunch of turkey sandies and chips, and as we motored into Selfoss for the night, Carol had already formulated a solution to our Happy Hour shortfall. We snagged the last available table at cafe Krisp in town, and paired a couple of glasses with some fried cod nuggets and a small salad that would carry us happily onto a late night, lantern lit pasta dinner back at the camper. What was left of our wine inventory stretched beautifully to bedtime. Tomorrow would mark our final day of sightseeing with three major attractions to visit, exactly the kind of touristy, planned out day I don’t look forward to, and don’t have to when traveling by rail, and can just have everything pass me by.

Krisp café in Selfoss, Iceland
The hustling, hardworking wait staff at Krisp

   It’ll be a good lesson for me, though. After all, I am just a tourist, and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. If it’s good enough for Rick Steves, it certainly should be good enough for me.

   Hmm. Thinking too much. Maybe we were a glass or two short after all.


Need to catch up on our Iceland trip from the beginning? Start here! Fire and Ice: Day 1

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