Our day started out with a touch of regret. We really wanted to hit up the Golden Circle tour but decided against it because of forecast, 50mph wind & rain. The regret turned to gratitude as we walked out the door for our Lava Tunnel tour and were greeted with a face full of cold weather. We had made the right call.
Tour buses in Iceland are pretty painless. The businesses want you there and appreciate how much you’ve paid to get there. If you don’t know, even the cheap stuff in Iceland is expensive. From what we were told, they have to import all of the things and then tax the crap out of it.
Neither of us can sleep on an airplane but have zero trouble snoozing out on a bus. We awoke about 30 minutes into the ride and found ourselves in a different world. The rain had turned to snow and the wind was pounding the side of the bus to the point where it felt like we were going to tip over. The thing about wind in Iceland is that it comes in from every direction. The bus was getting blown toward the ditch at the same time it was getting blown toward oncoming traffic… maybe that’s why neither actually happened.
There are so many cool things to say about the lava tunnel that it’s hard to choose what to share. We’re not geologists so we can skip the science lesson. Probably the most interesting thing about the lava tunnel that I can confidently share is not something you’d probably read about in many other places. Our tour guide told us that ALL lava tunnel tours now require guides. This is because people would throw rocks at the ceiling for the purpose of breaking off souvenirs. People are dicks. Also, the lava tunnels have a problem with trash. Apparently, Icelanders will dump old couches and cars into holes. See, it’s not just Americans, crazy people be everywhere. It makes sense though, right? Lava tunnels are normal to Icelanders, throwing shit into a hole, however pretty it might be, it isn’t a big deal. In America, it’d be the equivalent of throwing trash into a forest. Trees and wildlife aren’t a big deal to us because they’re normal.
THE BEST part of the lava tunnel was when the tour guide turned all the lights off. I don’t think that I’ve ever experienced absolute darkness before today. Absolute darkness is liberating, it’s terrifying, it’s something I would recommend. The porous lava rocks don’t reflect light or sound. We never planned on taking this particular tour, now it’s my favorite. Checkout a lava tunnel if you ever have the chance.
We returned to the hotel after our lava tunnel tour, wet and tired. What did we do? Visit the Big Lebowski bar, of course! The pictures we’ve posted on instagram do it more justice that I can with words, check em out: https://Instagram.com/wanderingmindfully. We also went on a successful/fail hunt for a local retro arcade bar. Successful in that we found where it was, fail in that it was locked up and indefinitely closed.
Our evening capped off with a nap and a hot dog. Napping is important when you’re traveling; an impossible pressure to do and see everything exists. Sometimes you have to just accept that sleep is a necessary thing. After our nap, we shared an epic hot dog! We went on a walkabout town and ran into a restaurant called, Street Dog. Brianna had been saying that we needed to try a local hot dog, so we did, and she was right (as usual). The Street Dog proprietor made us an Icelandic hot dog with the works, and even let us borrow some of his cups to try a drink. We heard about a thing that Icelandic people do over Christmas, drink a malt extract & Applesin mix, and he was kind enough to tell us how to try it out. The hot dog was made out of lamb and tasted like actual meat. The drink was kind of a sweet & fruity meets dry & malty soda mix. We highly recommend trying both this place and drink thing (which is actually called jólaöl). Chatting with the hot dog man was like having a conversation with Brianna’s dad, Mel, minus the beard :-).
We stumbled onto a random comedy club on the way back from the hotel and decided to check it out. We were a little early for the show, but it was happy hour so we decided to drop in anyway. The actual show was less a comedy act and more a dude playing semi-funny songs on the guitar and making fun of Don Trump. While we both appreciated laughs at the expense of our current president, we ditched out a little early in search of some dinner/drunk food.
The last food on Brianna’s wishlist to try was lcelandic street food, a.k.a lamb or shellfish soup. Our soup had more meat than potatoes and carrots, which seemed unusual, and they gave unlimited refills with as much fresh baked bread as you could eat. Aside from the general RBF culture, we didn’t really have many bad customer service experiences while in Iceland. Our hole in the wall Icelandic Street Food diner was definitely best of the best though, well, probably tied with the hot dog guy anyway.