On our way to the second largest city :Akureyri, Iceland (about 18,000). It is a port city that welcomes most of the cruise liners from Europe, and is the best skiing in Iceland, we are told.
… and what do you do when you start the day’s journey? Visit a local “bakari” of course. So local in fact , the baker doesn’t speak English, but smiles a huge smile when I motion to her that I’d like a photo of her. But then, she deadpans the shot, followed with an immediate smile when she hears the click. Funny.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of a customer who did speak English for me. I asked her what was the most Icelandic pastry item on display. (Okay, I didn’t used the word ‘display’ but my hand motions said it.) She showed me the pastry Chris and I had had the morning before and some sweet bread (no description to the flavor of the sweet… just sweet) But as I was looking and fretting over my choice, she went over to a refrigerator case and comes back with this combo:
lamb and a special type of flat bread (fluffier)
“This is most Icelandic.” (Then she did that kiss to the hand and “Mwah” sound thingy expression you do (Italians?)when you have found the perfect food.)
So then I queried what cheese would go best with it? And she gave me an expression like I was crazy. Hmm.. maybe she didn’t understand so I reword my questions,
“Is there a good cheese that you like to use with this?” (And I did a Vanna White sweep with a package of cheese I whipped out of the cooler.)
Her face crinkled up in a kneejerk kinda way, but quickly changed as she said, “No. Butter.”
“ja… but errr, cheese if you like”
“Oh, no. I will do it the Icelandic way.” ……………………………….. She rattles off a string of explanation to the baker, and they both smile like they were children being handed a very special gift.
I would save this interesting snack for a special time further down the road…
And when I said, ” ‘Takk, takk’ … correct?”
Their grins and thumbs up were my gift.
So, I left will all my ‘gifts’ including two chocolate glazed donuts. (HAD to see how they do it here. Meh. Pretty dense.) and we started down the way.
Up and over the highlands
And some pretty crazy volcano wastelands
And then a huge decision: To Dettifoss or not to Dettifoss, that is the question.
“Foss” means waterfall. And looking around the terrain, didn’t think it would be all that pretty. But Olaf had said it was the most powerful of all Icelandic waterfalls and we were there but. But it was getting late. But the road there was gravel and 25 km of it. But there was some scuttlebutt that the West side was the best view, and we we’d be going in on the East. But we were here, and we might not be this way again – and who knows where the Western entrance might be???
Sooooo, we went for it… confident that so far, except for glazed donuts, Iceland usually delivers on the goods.
We were not disappointed.
Not a bad place to eat our becoming-traditional ham sandwich lunch, Já? (yow (yes)… as in cow)
So yes, Dettifoss…. worth every chuck hole, gravel ding and adrenaline jolt. (East side, definitely the best side!)
The cool part about traveling is knowing that every mile is a new sight, a new adventure, a new question answered.
And every mile along the way, around every curve, with every new lighting, and each breath of quiet it was so easy to finally understand: it is not about the destination – it is always about the journey.
Choose and go…
I can almost guarantee you will be changed along the wonderful bumpy way.