{24/08/2012}   Iceland Travel Diary: Day Five

Tuesday, 14th August 2012

Today was very much a lazy holiday day.  I am currently sitting by the open harbour-front window watching terns diving for small fish that on closer inspection I can see; little slivers of mercury alerting the terns to their presence near the surface of the calm sea.  They are also squeaking, though there is probably a proper term for tern bird song!

This morning I sorted stuff (including doing a clothes wash and wishing I’d only brought half the amount of clothes), had lots of teas and finished a good book (“The Yacoubian Building”, a book about the inhabitants of the building, from very poor to very rich, in Cairo).  I then tried and failed to snooze as all the while I was thinking about things I could be doing.  I drove to a fishmonger to get my dinner (salmon – really, really fresh salmon), dropped that off then headed out to the Blue Lagoon again.  I got a bit waylaid by the scenery as the clouds were lifting and in some places clearing.

I also decided to go past the Blue Lagoon and on to Grindavik, a fishing town.  At first I was almost horrified by how ugly and industrial it was for somewhere so small.  Then I found some prettier areas.  Something I find fascinating about towns in that area is that they are built amidst lava fields.  There may be a house but around it will be a garden of lava covered in moss.  I also saw and heard something really bizarre.  While driving slowly round the harbour, I heard a kind of warning bell.  Then an almighty but muted explosion.  Within the enclosed section of the harbour was a small motorised dinghy with two men in it.  A short way from their boat, the sea was bubbling black and orange and an orange cloud expanded from the site and slowly blew away, making everywhere look orange (if you’ve ever had the eye test where they drop orange dye in your eyes, it was just like that).  Then a small boat platform approached the area and the four legs/anchors were dropped into the sea.  On the small platform was what looked like a kind of digger.  I have no idea what happened, I assume a controlled explosion, but to get what I don’t know.  At first I was convinced it was a whale but then I realised that there was no red water, it was a relatively small, largely enclosed harbour and two men in a dinghy could not be adequate to deal with a whale.  I have no idea what it was. 

I then drove off and came across a field of ponies.  I stopped the car and had a mega pony petting session.  They were so sweet and so loving the strokes.  But my hands got all horsey and I developed quite an impressive rash on the back of both hands.  A mystery to me.  But fortunately, I was en route to the magical healing Blue Lagoon and that sorted it out straight away.

So that was my day.  It was nice not to be rushing about and trying to fit too much in.  I also spent a bit of time contemplating holidays.

Ultimately, a holiday is about leaving your everyday routines and habits and staying somewhere that offers you the time to do things you don’t usually feel you have time for.  For me, this holiday was about reading, being somewhere that makes me feel inexplicably relaxed and staying in an apartment with a view.  I am having a really memorable holiday, but I have only read half a book and have been out and about for at least part of every day.  If I didn’t have a car, I would have stayed in and read a lot more.  But I have enjoyed going places in the car and I have seen a lot more than I would have without a car.  Plus, as of Thursday night I will be staying in central Reykjavik without a car so will do a lot more wandering and lazing then.

For me to sit or lie down all day and read a book (intermingled with snoozes because I am incapable of reading without snoozing) every day for a week or more probably wouldn’t suit me.  But if I were to do it, it would have to be somewhere, say a very small island, where there was nothing much else to do.  I have this slightly annoying habit of feeling that I’m missing out if I’m not out and about while on holiday.  Tomorrow, I could stay in and read.  But I have a car and there is a small town I’d like to go to tomorrow that is quite a long drive.  If it’s pouring with rain, which isn’t unlikely, I may reconsider, but I would rather do that than stay in and read.  Yet there is a part of me that does just want to stay in and read.  After all, the light and the view is lovely from here.  I feel torn and I don’t really know what I want to do.  I guess I will see what the weather is like.

On Thursday, my last day with the car, I might head up to the lava fields around Reykjanes peninsula and explore that area and go to the Blue Lagoon for the final time this trip.  But if it rains, I might not.  Holiday indecision?!  Today I felt really tired, in a nice way, and probably an indicator that I feel I’m on holiday.  It is so much easier not getting up to much when you’re somewhere different.  I should embrace the fact that to stay in here would enable me to do whatever I want rather than what usually happens, whereby chores glower at you.

Maybe it’s just your mindset that makes a holiday.  If all you want to do is sit around and read books, you can do that at home if you discipline yourself not to get distracted by chores, the phone, internet … ah, yes, my life without my mobile.  It’s wonderful and I don’t miss it.  Because I’m on holiday?  I have my laptop and there is wi fi, which I am connected to (largely for weather and opening times), but while I have contemplated having a sneaky peak at Facebook or my email, I haven’t been as sorely tempted as I would have expected and I certainly have no intention of checking until I get back to the UK.

It’s now 10pm and the sun is setting very, very slowly.  It’s still light and you could easily read a book outside in this light.  I love that the sun here sets so slowly.  It’s currently the clearest the sky has been since I got here.  Please be like this tomorrow!



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