Thursday, September 19, 2019. Reykjavik (and surrounding areas), Iceland.
Soundtrack: Less Than Jake (ft. Kel Mitchell) – We’re All Dudes
Forty-eight hours. Less than two days, and the second padlock shit the bed. Never buy a Stanley. I spent 1600 Reykjabucks (like $14 in real money) to insure I wouldn’t need to worry about a padlock for the rest of my life, and I had to use boltcutters to get into my locker.
I was careful, too! I locked it and opened it before I put it on so I could be certain this exact thing wouldn’t happen. Probably the spirits I pissed off by taking pictures of those Icelandic spellbooks.
Braxton gathered us at the crack of 9 to begin our journey around the Golden Circle, which is what Iceland calls its weirdly triangular configuration of tourist hotspots, each about a half hour drive from the last. We did not get breakfast. We did, however, get snacks.
The Corny Big is a rice krispie treat pumped full of Laffy Taffy perfume. It’s absolutely atrocious, but this will be my opinion on any candy. I deny the demon Grain and, according to a middle-aged wine mom who maintains a meadery in Jim Thorpe, I have a “savory palette”.
The first stop was þórufoss. It was gorgeous cluster of waterfalls, made more so by the lack of tourists. The most attractive geographical feature a location can have is no people in my way.
I ran around the soggy highlands, oohing and aahing until we got back in the car. The falls reminded me of Ireland. I think it’s because everything was rustic and green, and the weather sucked.
Next stop was Þingvellir national park, which has the honor of being the only UNESCO world heritage site on the mainland. It sits on the continental shelf between North America and Europe.
On the left, North America. On the right, Yurp. It’s like that Four Corners monument in the southwestern US, only there’s geological legitimacy to these boundaries.
This spot was like a giant legislative bazaar where various Icelandic chieftains would meet by the “Law Rock” and decide matters of state. This is the assembly site of the oldest extent government in the world.
I don’t care about that. Governments are a bunch of malarky. I refused to read the plaques on principle, except the one bit about how they had a special drowning creek for women and women alone. Men were beheaded. So spoke the assembly at the Law Rock.
All that quiet seething anti-establishment sentiment had left me with a hunger. Fortunately, at the next snack stop, a beacon of hope shone through the fog.
Braxton tried to ask what we were thinking in terms of food, but I was already sprinting full tilt toward the Goodburger. I needed to know it wasn’t a mirage.
“I do,” I told the sign. I fell to my knees and wept. “I truly do.”
The burger, as promised, was pretty good. It was not made of fish, which was a refreshing change of pace.
The “Goodburger special sauce” was mayo. Innovative.
The Goodburger would tide me over, but I needed to plan for the future. We stopped into the Icelandic equivalent of Wawa, called N1, to resupply.
I got the Sportlunch. I had no choice. I’m so sporty. I picked up a few other nebulous candy bars too, stockpiling calories. Results were mixed.
Let me show you something. The one on the bottom, Draumur?
I’m pretty sure that’s Icelandic for “trauma”. See that black line? That’s licorice.
That’s fucking licorice.
After this discovery, I flew into an inarticulate rage and hurled the Draumur into one of Iceland’s many active volcanoes.
The Sportlunch was a chocolate covered wafer bar with caramel in it. It had nothing to do with sports or lunch, but at least it was edible. The Prince Polo XXL was just a chocolate-covered wafer, no caramel. All right, if that’s what you’re into.
Our next stop was Geysir. You linguists and scholars in the audience may know that this is Icelandic for “geyser”.
I’m going to level with you: I could have taken a picture of either the main, inactive geyser, the eponymous Geysir, or the smaller new hotness that erupts every ten minutes, called Strokkur. I didn’t. There were over a hundred people there, and all of them had their phones chambered and ready to record Strokkur’s eruption. I, myself, erupted with contempt, and shuffled off up the mountain until I found other smaller, abandoned geyser pools.
Isn’t it inviting? Don’t it just make you want to dive into the boiling geothermal egg-stink and disappear into the earth?
I didn’t, though. Not yet. I have seen the time, place, and manner of my death, and it is not here, and it is not now.
Still, there’s no harm in looking. I watched the cauldron and fantasized about sinking into the boiling mud and fulfilling the rest of my destiny as some kind of scalding sulfur golem. Sometimes, the best way to deal with intrusive thoughts are to let them out to dance around a little.
My magnificent meat vessel is unmarred by tattoos, and I’m relieved that my issues with commitment prevented me from ever making moves on that. I’d be covered in cringey philosophy quotes, the Gonzo symbol, probably a Parliament album cover. Christ, can you imagine? But there’s a music to “Nature does not care for your money”. That’s more insightful than the tourism board planned. I might cordon off a chunk of flesh for that particular momento.
We got gone from Geysir and hit another waterfall on our way to the legendary Gullfoss.
You haven’t heard the legend of Gullfoss? Impossible. It claims to be “the most voluminous waterfall in Europe”, as well as “outperforming Niagra Falls in the United States in liquid horsepower”.
By this point, it was raining in earnest. Getting close to the waterfall caused it to both mist and spray, meaning it was raining in three different directions simultaneously. That was, itself, an experience, but made the prospect of taking a video useless.
The picture doesn’t do it justice, but what could truly do justice to the legend of Gullfoss? It’s more voluminous in person.
The Golden Circle was complete, and we were all exhausted and waterlogged. We made our way back to Brewdog, had a couple beers, sneered at a bunch of noisy American frat boys, then returned to the hostel for a well-deserved coma.