Unlike the rest of my company, who took a few days off between christmas and new years, I stayed at work. For one thing, it was nice and quiet and I worked on little tidbits of things that needed doing, but were "low priority." Secondly, I knew that my friend Ute had organised a summer house for us for January 2 and 3. Perfect. I took the first two working days of the new year off to go and enjoy some fine time in the country, eating good food, drinking good wine, sitting in a good hot tub, and admiring good scenery.
A pretty good way to start I reckon.
Really, what more is there to say? Ute, Olly and I headed up on monday morning, and stopped in Borgarnes to stock up on supplies. On top of the supplies we'd all bought from home, we now had the makings of a pretty prime feast, for about 15 people. Perfect. We were 5, and for one night.
We checked in to our house, a nice wooden cabin at the edge of Stórahraun, and proceeded to head off to one of the natural hotpots around this part of Snæfellsnes, and chill? out while we waited for Guido and Jessica, who were coming up later.
Our first stop, our favourite hotpot was unfortunately occupied, and given it's size (4 people is very cosy, 2 is extremely perfect) the local ethic is, if it's occupied, you don't go over and ask to join in :)
We headed off to the other nearby one, the one that had led Ute, Tanja and I on such a goose chase earlier in the year trying to find it. Well, now that we know where it is, we drove to within a hundred metres of it, and I jumped in, only to find that it wasn't actually all that hot! Not hypothermic take Karl to the hospital cold, but just not hot enough with the colder air, and colder water running in. So be it!
Back to the previous one, and this time joy of joy, the previous occupants had departed, so the three of us braved the epic 200m walk across snow, mud and icy stepping stones across a cold pond. But the hot pot is a just reward, perfect size, perfect depth, and although a little cooler than in summer, a perfect temperature for prolonged soakage.
Just as well really, it was blowing an absolute gale all around us, and getting out to "cool down" in wet swimwear in these conditions probably would have resulted in a hypothermic trip to somewhere warm!
We decided to head back to the cabin, and about 3 minutes out got a call from Guido saying they'd arrived. Perfect timing!
Let the feasting begin! We started off with some afternoon snacks. Biscuits, chips, salsa, Achen gingerbread, all sorts of munchies. We even found some music. Gossipping ensued. Eventually I thought it was time to start getting the main course underway, and went outside armed with a bag of charcoal that Guido had procured as part of an epic mission, eventually finding it at a petrol station in Borgarnes.
Fools! All of them! On the one hand, who did I think I was attempting to light charcoals in 60kph winds? On the other, what sort of person uses charcoal grills anyway? Horrible useless things. Cooking with gas I say.
No matter. It gave our whale steaks and kangaroo fillets more time to marinate anyway. *lipsmacking*
We had quite a buffet in the end, the aforementioned whale and kangaroo, reindeer pate, smoked icelandic salmon, some tasty potatos, and a variety of fine wines.
The remainder of the night was spent in the hottub, with christmas beer, some sparkling pinkish thing in a fancy blue bottle that Ute provided, getting pelted by horiztonal corn snow, and watching some faint aurora attempt to peek through the clouds.
Oh, and then we ate fresh pineapple! Summer in Australia I say.
So concludes Day 1. Day 2 was nearly as much fun. A big leisurely breakfast, warm breads, spreads, fruit, coffee, orange juice, and a nice rugged snow kissed landscape out each window.
What better way to enjoy it than to head out into it? Get your clothes on ladies and gents, we're going to climb up that thar crater!
As soon as we headed out, the dog (named, as we later found out, "Doggur") met us, and declared that he was to be our tour guide for the day. We headed off across the river, and then across the lavafield, heading towards the crater. This lavafield was a little unusual in that it had a decent sized forest growing on it.
Of course, just an icelandic forest, so if we'd ever gotten lost, we would only have needed to stand up. Nonetheless, if Doggur ever felt we were falling behind he would patiently stop, turn around, and peer expectantly back at us. An extremely well mannered dog, the sort that even I like.
We evntually made it up, and whoah! That crater was much deeper than any of us had imagined! Very cool. Extremely black and white just like most of the area, and almost completely lacking in features in the dark grey light of the day, so not particularly photogenic mind you, but exciting nonetheless.
We took a group shot, and I proved a bunch of whining internet poseurs wrong, yet again, when I watched my tripod blow over and drop my canon 300d straight onto the rocks. Good as gold, just some scratches. Plastic is king! Light is right!
Home again home again, and Doggur finally took his leave, probably getting hungry, just like us! More and more food, just as well we'd bought so much, it ended up being just about right!
And then, sadly, finally time to head back to the real world.
As usual, for party events like this, not all pictures are technically "mine" some of these photos were taken by Jessica, and some by Ute.