We wake up to blue skies and bright sun for our last day in Iceland. We chit-chat with the lady who owns the guesthouse over breakfast: at any given time she has 12 guests on average (most of which stay just one night) and since Keflavik has arrivals and departures basically 24/7, she has check-ins and check-outs around the clock.
Our suitcases are packed; Skye’s seems over-limit with all the booze that we bought in duty-free but didn’t drink without the Jones to help us out. We hit the road to drop off our picnic equipment at the tour agency before doing a last bit of exploration in the Reykjane peninsula.
The scenery alternates between lava fields and mountains, as we drive a few more dirt tracks, then past the Kaeifarvatn lake, more solfataras (craters that emit sulphurous gases), and the small crater lake Graenavatn.
We follow the coast through Grindavik to reach Reykjanesta, the southwest point of Iceland, with its lighthouse and cliffs.
Skye is happy to see a few gannets flying about offshore from their breeding grounds on Eldey, a rocky island a dozen kilometres out to sea where incidentally the very last pair of flightless Great Auks (the dodo of the north) were strangled in 1844 for a collector, their eggs crushed in the process.
We take a short stroll through the nearby bog, stressing out the many Arctic terns flying about: when you are too close to their nest they try to dive bomb you. It’s recommended to hold a stick above your head if this happens (as they always go for the highest point)… but where on this barren earth do you find a stick??!! Sandra decides a lump of lava will work nicely, and we have a good laugh at her walking around with a rock perched on her head.
It’s now time to head to the airport. We seem to have lost our front license plate somewhere in the wilds of Iceland and have to pay €50 for a new one, but they don’t ask us to pay for the flat tire a week ago. Time will tell if something shows up on our VISA bill. We queue up for check-in while Skye goes off to claim the tax refund for our 66° North jackets, the amount of which should just cover the charge for our license plate.
As we go through the security check, Ryo gets caught red-handed with some small rocks he picked up on the beach, but the lady is nice and lets him keep them. An Icelandic man behind us reminds us we should really take only pictures and not take the rocks. He is very right; we feel rather sheepish, though he also observes that Iceland is not short on rocks.
It’s time for lunch and we enjoy excellent lobster and bacalau pizzas and some Icelandic cake before doing a bit of shopping for Icelandic goodies for friends.
Once onboard the plane we hope that the Jones’ seats in front of us will still be free so that we can have a second window seat. As soon as they announce that boarding is complete Sandra jumps up front and spends most of the trip listening to music while admiring the view: a last glimpse of glaciers and lava fields… Iceland is a magnificent country; it’s harsh and beautiful, mysterious… unique.
We witness our first real sunset and darkness in two weeks, landing in thunderous weather in Geneva. Stepping out of the plane into the (comparatively) hot and humid atmosphere of Switzerland after experiencing Iceland gave us the same impression we usually have when leaving Switzerland and arriving in an exotic tropical destination! After summer in Iceland, Switzerland is positively balmy in comparison!
Chris and Fay have come to pick us up, as we left our car at the Jones’. We spend another hour at their place for a debriefing of our respective fortnights before driving back home to our cats who are happy to see us. After a refreshing shower we are glad to go to bed: it’s one o’clock in the morning so also late for Icelandic time. Tomorrow we unpack and wash!
What a fabulous trip. We are thankful to the Jones for having invited us to visit Iceland with them, and very sorry that they couldn’t stay with us. On the positive side having only spent one day there they have every reason to go back for a full holiday, it’s really worth it, both scenic and otherworldly!