Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Iceland over Easter, or Hot Sprinnnnnngs!

It's almost hard to complement Iceland on its natural beauty because it is just there, at every turn, without any effort.

I mean, c'mon, Iceland. Stop showing off.
This is the view from a road, people. Ridiculous.
Ok, Iceland. We get it.
What Icelanders should get the shout-out for is their brilliance in channeling the abundant, clear hot water that flows from their mountains into pools - and then making those pools open to the public. Hallelujah.

This is a free hot tub. On the ocean. With heated changing rooms across the way. This is how to unwind after a red-eye flight and several hours in the car.
Soaking in Iceland's outdoor hot tubs is how I spent much of my short trip to the Westfjords over Easter this year. It helped to take the edge off the white-knuckle winter driving conditions and the stress that was life back home.

My sister said to make sure we got a car with studded tires. What for? I wondered - until we nearly got blown off the road several times. This shot, by the way, is after visibility improved enough that my navigator was no longer using every ounce of her attention to help keep us on the road.
When you see a sign like this in Iceland in winter, you don't mess around. These aren't the NPS trail ratings. They are legit.

So we drove, and soaked, and ate fish soup....

"I hope you like fish soup," Kristin said, "because it's the only decent meal at the only restaurant in town."
(It was genuinely delicious, thankfully.)
On the way to dinner.
... and hiked up a fjord, and soaked, and drove ...

... and strolled up a river valley, and soaked in that river too.

Oh, and did I tell you that they serve unlimited coffee to you, poolside, while the snow falls and the mountains are just beyond?

Or that they have hot water waterslides?

Or that they hold music festivals in shrimp warehouses in winter?

You didn't see that coming, did you?

Singers wearing the traditional Icelandic uniform. Or at least that's my only explanation for why they all wear the same sweaters. 
Clue in, North America. Clue in.

I'll conclude with some photos from Isafjordur, where we spent two nights. Good thing we had planned to spend two nights there, since the roads out were all closed for most of our time there. Fortunately they re-opened in time and we didn't get stuck in any snow drifts on our way out. We almost did, but not quite. It was just fine.

The drive out, before the white out. Sigh.

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