Namafjall thermal flats

Fire and ice day 7: “Eating like eight-year-olds”

June 24, 2021

waterfall Rjukandafoss
This one came with its own rainbow (not pictured)

   By our fourth day in the camper, Carol and I had developed a transition routine from driving to camping out that mimicked the precision of synchronized swimming. Within minutes of pulling into the campground, I would have Happy Hour fully underway, complete with a red and a white opened and paired with a charcuterie of tangy cheeses and salami. Later in the evening, Carol had perfected a system for converting the van from sitting to sleeping that had as its key provision swatting me out of the way.

   “Just go over to the common room, and find a baby to play with,” she would say sweetly, but pointedly with no flex for rebuttal. I have to admit Carol possessed the rare gift of making a dismissal sound like a play date.

    Lars was one such infant I met and befriended on one of my reassignments. He was six months old and quite shy, as his mom explained, having been born during the pandemic, and so was almost feral in terms of human contact. At first quite standoffish (to the extent that he could stand at all), he gradually warmed to me the way most children do as when it’s their first time at, say, a petting zoo.

   Bedtime ensued (for me, not Lars) and I left my new friend to his evening ablutions, while I returned to the now beautifully and functionally turned down bed of our camper. If we’d’ve had chocolates, there would have been one on my pillow.

waterfall
Celebrating a waterfall that matches my nighttime bladder, I guess

   My usual ice breaker has me showing the little tykes how to throw their eating utensils at their parents (something I’d gotten a huge response to once in the breakfast room of a Venetian hotel). But Master Lars (the family was German) was pre-utensil, so we settled on slapping our hands on one of the chairs, which Lars found greatly entertaining and not without a certain level of drumbeat communication between us.

With the lack of tourists, I’m filling in for the meathead contingent

   Bedtime ensued (for me, not Lars) and I left my new friend to his evening ablutions, while I returned to the now beautifully and functionally turned down bed of our camper. If we’d’ve had chocolates, there would have been one on my pillow.

   It was during a peanut butter and jelly lunch in the camper in the parking lot at the famous Dettifoss waterfall that Carol and I declared our love for the camper van experience, and that we would spend the remaining week camping, with only an occasional restaurant night out.

A lighthearted visual feature to the night’s campground

   The day also featured a stop at the Namafjall thermal flats that featured a Martian landscape of gurgling mud pots and steam vents that smelled like a combination of B.O. and fart.

   We capped off a day at yet another dramatic waterfall (Rjukandafoss), this one right off the side of the Ring Road, and was touted as the tallest (at some 400 plus feet) in all of Iceland. (I’d become so spoiled by the easy accessibility of Iceland’s natural attractions that I would balk at seeing any that were more than a mile off the main drag. Not that my vote counted in any meaningful way, mind you.)

dinner in the camper van
Future cover photo of Reid’s Camper Van Cookbook

   Our dinner of franks and beans at the campsite in Egilsstadir prompted Carol to observe we were “eating like eight-year-olds.” True enough, but Honey Nut Cheerios, peanut butter and jelly, hot dogs and pork ‘n beans or butter and pasta in a camper at a campground all was haute cuisine indeed as far as we were concerned.

   Iceland was quickly becoming an experience of childlike wonder.

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