Kai and I woke up early to the sunrise taking over the entire window. Streaks of orange and yellow and higher in the clouds were pink and purple.
We cuddled and watched the sky change until it was time for breakfast. I grabbed a shower and asked Kai to be ready for when I was done. I guess she felt rushed and we had a bit of a snit. This is the longest we’ve spent together since we started dating four months ago, and there has been a lot of stress and uncertainty, so I’m not concerned about the back-and-forths. We always make sure to unpack it along the way – we never let it go unaddressed. In fact, we both joke about how we talk even the little things to death to make sure we are secure and assured in our relationship.
In any event, we made it early to the hotel’s breakfast, which was a little disappointing except for the fresh warm bread. I grabbed a sandwich for the road and we went back to the room to finish packing. We drove out along the underside of the peninsula and made it to the edge of the glacier that made up a national park before I realized that one of the sights that had sent us out this way in the first place was behind us somewhere. Since we weren’t all that far, we decided to head back to the hotel for their WiFi so we could find the freaking thing!
After a bit of fumbling, we discovered the sight, Gatklettur, was right by the hotel. We walked along a path by the coastline and came across a few beautiful spots. Kai went back to the car and I headed forth until I finally found it. Gatklettur is profoundly beautiful, almost mystical. I cried when I settled in front of it because it felt so glorious. I spent a significant amount of time there before jogging back to the car – in my winter boots. I showed Kai my photos and we got back on the road.
We drove through Snæfellsjökull National Park, which was a beautiful drive around the tip of the peninsula. Once out of the park, we were atop the Northern part of the peninsula. We stopped for waterfalls and other beautiful sites, and to have lunch. We pulled off to a rather busy waterfall, and Kai stayed back while I hopped out to take photos. There was a walkway up one side and halfway down the other side of the waterfall, so I was almost at the end of the walkway before realizing: it was Kirkufell! One of the sights I was most excited to see. I didn’t think it would be so near the road so I hadn’t been sure we’d get to see it.
It was only when the mountain aligned with the waterfall that I realized I was seeing what I’d seen in so many photographs before! I saw Kai coming up the walkway and we laughed when we realized we’d made it to our last ‘must see’ destination without even knowing it. I fell on the way back down the walkway but not badly, I’m a good faller.
Once driving again, the only other stop was made was a little coffee shop. I had to use the bathroom and we needed the WiFi. We ordered drinks – I got an espresso macchiato, which I didn’t know what that was, and Kai got a Swiss Mocha. Hers was delicious… mine was less so but still made me feel very fast! We were trying to arrange an AirBnb for the night and we were musing out loud as to whether we could ‘request to book’ more than one location. A woman on the couch perpendicular to us leaned in and shook her head, explaining that AirBnb might charge us if we have too many requests! We learned she was from New York – Kai tried to explain where we were from but got a little tongue-tied – she was really cute, okay!? Poor Kai.
We cancelled one request for a booking and found another that was a ‘rare find’ and available for the two nights we needed (our last two nights!). It was fairly inexpensive comparatively and right downtown in Reykjavik. We got back in the car and drove for a bit, stopping after a couple hours when we were almost in Reykjavik to make sure the booking went through it. It did! We’d intended to check it out first before our dinner reservations, but the GPS took us right past it to the restaurant. Which was fine, since we may have been late otherwise.
The restaurant we booked was Kopar (trans., copper), a really fancy spot with a female chef. We’d happened to arrive in Iceland during their Food & Food Festival, where the restaurants have a competition with a special menu and local, fresh ingredients. We ordered that menu and it was beyond compare. I’m not someone who has eaten at a lot of upscale places. I love to eat out and I enjoy new foods but this was the epitome of that!
Honestly, it was to die for and I didn’t even realize what some of the things were until I got home and my mom explained (sweet bread :O). We were just beside ourselves with the flavours and the experience. I’ve never had such evolved, elegant food in my life. And the price reflected it – it was likely more than all our groceries and other dinners put together! But worth it for the experience.
Following that, we took a walk along the harbour and strolled down a dock. At the end of the dock, we looked up and saw the Northern Lights! At last… There were mostly white but maybe tinted a bit yellow. Given that we were in Iceland’s largest city, it’s amazing we saw them at all. We decided to get in the car and drive to a dark spot to see if we could get some more colour.
About half an hour outside Reykjavik, we parked and turned the car off, adjusting to the dark. Although we could definitely see the lights, they were outshone by the moon, which was high enough that we couldn’t avoid her. We could see the lights streaking out like spread fingers over a mountain. They were white and moving in an ethereal way, one that couldn’t be measured by eyesight. We stayed with them for some time and finally headed to the AirBnb.
Which was just adorable! It was an entire apartment, tiny but perfect. One could barely turn around in the shower, and yet there was a KING sized bed! Absolutely ostentatious, I tell you. I slept like a beauty that night.