Highlight: Hiking at Þórsmörk offered views of some of the most impressive scenery I’ve ever seen. I even got to walk behind a huge thundering Waterfall.
Lowlight: Sticker shock at the restaurant we went to for dinner. $20 for a salad, $30 for a bean burger. Yikes!
Fun Fact: According to our guide, the interior of Iceland was used as a prison for many years. When you were convicted of a serious crime, you were banished to the interior to survive on your own. In order to handle the problem of banished criminals forming gangs, a law was passed to pardon any criminal that killed 2 other criminals. That way none of the criminals could ever trust each other.
Money spent: 19905 ISK ($257 CAD)
Ben Frustration Index(BFI): 2 – Ben hasn’t used his camera once, but he keeps asking me to take pictures for him. Then he volunteers my camera services to a girl on our trip and promises her I’d email her the pictures without asking me first.
Eating in Reykjavik is really expensive, especially when Ben chooses the classiest restaurant for dinner. My choices were a $30 bean burger or a $40 Arctic char – which I ate but it wasn’t that good. Luckily the hostel provides food for breakfast and we ate a packed grocery lunch, so the food costs weren’t that bad.
Today, we did a guided day trip to Thorsmork. It was expensive but a really good way to explore the countryside. Our tour guide is also a geology teacher, so we learned a lot about Iceland’s rocks and volcanic activity. It seems like all the locals here take a keen interest in geology, which isn’t surprising since it’s the unique geothermal energy that powers the country.
As I mentioned yesterday, every house has two incoming water pipes – one with clean, cold, glacial water, and with for scalding hot, geothermal (and slightly stinky) water which is used to for hot water and heating. Throughout the country side we saw fissures in the ground with steam rising up, many of them newly created after last month’s earthquake.
When our highway bus got close to Thorsmork, we had to switch into an all-terain bus with giant tires that could cut across glacial rivers and roll-over lava fields. It was crazy watching the bus just roll through rivers. Quite a few locals had big 4×4 SUVs and were following the same “road” (nothing more than a set of tire tracks) as us – Iceland might be one of the few places where I can agree that SUV ownership makes sense.
At Thorsmork we went on a good 4 hour hike, which was a lot more strenuous then I expected. Everyone in our group was able to handle it, but the older lady in sandals looked a little unhappy by the end.
The views along the hike were straight out of Lord of the Rings, as Ben pointed out. Take a look at some of the pictures to see for yourself.