QC Blog: Iceland, The Final Chapter

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Iceland, The Final Chapter

Well, here it is Election Day, finally, and I'm still writing about Iceland. It's the far calmer subject for me to write about, so I continue to relive the memories, while they're fresh.

On our final day, Sunday, Chrissie and I opted not to go whale watching and to spend some free time (which they don't give you enough of) doing some shopping in Reykjavik. I got up early anyway to take a chance that the morning sky at the Harbor (about a half block away) would be pretty for pictures. The sky was unremarkable, but I did see Patty take off in her whale watching boat. I then returned to the town, which does look just like a Christmas village. The Restaurant Reykjavik (yellow bldg) is where we had our opening and closing night dinners and was off to the left of our hotel view. I passed by the tourist office next to our hotel and went back to meet Chrissie. The air was brisk and cool today. We went to the biggest store that has souvenirs and I managed to find a T-shirt that was an XL. Believe it or not, they're very hard to find there. They could make a ton of money on U.S. tourists if they a greater number of larger sizes in shirts, which, come to think about it, is a sad commentary on what U.S. Tourists look like, compared to the average Icelander, who is trim, thin, and incredibly fit. We passed lots of baby buggies with covers to protect the babies (we saw few strollers there) and little hanging toys at the opening. I bought magnets and t-towels and a pretty glass Christmas ornament shaped like an Angel. We paid in US dollars and got Krona in change. Chrissie at this point, is trying to get rid of all her Krona, and after buying 3 different things at different times in the same store, finally says to the guy, "you can keep the change," like it's his tip. She makes me laugh. This is a view of the square in front of our hotel.

We walked by the hot dog stand where they sell Lamb hot dogs with the works (Patty and Chrissie had already tried these the first day when I took my hour nap), that include crunchy onions, where President Clinton has eaten. They told me they were delicious. We met Patty after her trip (she did see a whale) and then went to the Lobster soup shack. Literally, it was a tiny little place with shish-ke-babs of whale meat in the cooler, and the woman was like the Seinfeld Soup guy. When we walked in, she said, "We have Lobster soup." Since that was all we wanted, we ordered some - and, wow, it was great.

Chrissie then went to rest and I took Patty to the souvenir shop. The older lady in our group fell in front of the hotel and her daughter and Chrissie were there to help her out. They had to call an ambulance and she let those "good looking guys" help her up. She had dislocated her shoulder but was back with us for our farewell dinner that night. After dinner, the restaurant brought out a beautiful chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Mary Jane on it, and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. I got to celebrate my 52nd birthday in Iceland. My sisters gave me a little Russian doll we had seen in a shop that was the size and color of the one my mom had (some of you may be familiar with it).This is our Hotel from the square.

Our final day dawned with snow flurries in the air and about 30 degrees. Typical Pittsburgh winter weather. Our driver Mikko came back to take us to the airport. This was our tour bus throughout the trip. All in all it was a wonderful trip. There's so much more to see there, I'd love to go back someday. For now, I have a few t-shirts to wear to remind me of the trip and memories of course, and lots of gorgeous pictures. But I feel like my world view has expanded the same way I felt after going out west in 1999. It's not just me in this world - there are so many people out there who have better and worse situations than I do. And it's a joy to discover them all.

Next up: Back to real life, sigh!

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