{27/08/2012}   Iceland Travel Diary: Day Eight

Friday, 17th August 2012

It’s 6pm and if I manage to stay awake long enough to write this, it will be a small miracle.  I think I had deep sleep that was occasionally interrupted and I woke too early, actually around 6am again, though I didn’t hear any untoward sounds!

I went to a new swimming pool today.  It had an outdoor lane and splash-around pool and five hot tubs.  I got there at about 8.30am and was greeted with an almost empty pool.  I did a few lengths, again in a pool longer than I’m used to, so after four lengths I deemed myself leaden-armed and adequately exercised.  I then rewarded myself with a very long soak in a 36-38 degree hot tub, then in a 38-40 degree hot tub with gentle bubbles.  I could have slept, it was so warm and snug feeling and nobody else came into either tub with me.  I wore a swimming hat.  I figure my hair has had enough salt, sulphur, etc, but I look absolutely awful in a swimming hat; it makes me feel like I’m in disguise to look as dreadful as possible.  But at least my hair came out of it 95 % dry.

On my walk back, I felt exhausted, like every step were an effort.  I think it is the hot tubs that do me in, I really can’t function when I get that hot, I just slow down.  I got back to the flat and had a very brief lie down before heading into town.  I had coffee and finished a letter in a lovely 1960s/1970s living room style café, Stofan, wandered, had more lobster soup (yummety yum!), went into a few shops and, guess what, I did it, I bought a wooly jumper (sort of!). 

I had a bit of a shopping spree today, which I put down to deciding not to go on a whale spotting boat trip.  I went on a whale spotting trip the first time I came to Iceland and we were treated with a pod of orcas and some minke whales.  I got lots of photos of almost unidentifiable whale body parts and sea.  But in terms of seeing the whales we saw, only seeing the tail of a big whale could top that and I fear the odds of that are slim.  I’m so trying to justify my spending spree!

I came here with two items of foot wear, my trusty old walking boots (one of which sunk with me into some volcanic mud at the glacier and look even worse than they did before) and a pair of what were once comfy slip on trainer type shoes without laces or style.  The latter were what I wore out for round one of my walk about but the pads of my feet got a bit sore.  On getting back to the flat I discovered the inner and outer soles were virtually meeting.  My walking boots, which had me slipping more than I would have thought right with Vibram-soled boots, have, it would appear, come to the end of their useful life.  The soles are smooth in places, there are a few leaky areas and the shoe lace holders (eyes?) are rusty.  You can see where I’m going with this!  I am now the proud owner of a pair of bright plummy pink Scarpa Vibram-soled light walking shoe/trainers.  They are fab.  I will also be throwing out my other shoes.  This is all good as it will mean my case is a little lighter to carry other things!

My favourite purchase was of two CDs.  I went into a music shop and asked the man working there what Icelandic music he would recommend that had “pretty music”.  He gave me about 20 CDs, a CD player and headphones.  I was in there about three quarters of an hour listening to them, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I had three in my big yes pile, three in my maybe pile and the rest were no.  I ended up buying two.  I am quite into Keane at the moment and I think both kind of reflect that current interest but I got Of Monsters and Men “My Head is an Animal”, English lyrics, and Lockerbie “Ólgusjór”, Icelandic lyrics.

And finally, a woolen top!  I know, I know, I vowed not to look at any more as they really, really don’t suit me.  But this one is quite, ahem, stylish.  It’s a zip up cardi that covers my bottom.  It’s black, 100% wool and, get this, it has a reindeer pattern!  It’s not quite Colin Firth in Bridget Jones; I would say it has style.  Anyway, it was staggeringly cheap.  Usually over £100, I got it for the bargain price of £30.  I feel it will be a winter staple, though I might tire of the reindeer pattern!

I have just finished a mug of tea and I am feeling a little more alert.  I went to the fishmonger on Freyjugata, near the Hotel Odinsve, and bought ling for my dinner.  As with every Icelandic person I’ve encountered, the fishmonger’s English was excellent and he even went through what all the fish were and a bit about how they taste.  I am also poised to watch at least one film from Hordur’s absolutely amazing DVD collection.  He has so many films I want to see, mostly foreign films.  The first one I want to watch is the film of the book I recently read and loved: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.  With the film, I shall be eating leftovers from my fish and “chips” yesterday, fried tomatoes (cheapest veg (fruit) I could get that weren’t frozen), and ling.  All that will be washed down with my Polar Beer – what a great name for a beer!

I watched the film.  It was good and the scenery was lovely, but the book had so much more detail and was a much better developed story.


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