Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Iceland 32: Epilogue

The hearty man ate a condemned breakfast, or so the saying goes.  Such was our experience at the "Cabin" hotel...

As expected, neither of us had a particularly restful night's sleep.  Harriet was disturbed in the early part of the night by lots of door banging, but then managed to sleep soundly until 9:00.  Meanwhile I managed to sleep at the beginning of the night, but woke up about 05:00 with coaches revving up outside the window and, from 06:30 onwards, lots more door banging.  We went up to breakfast about 09:30, hoping that it would be reasonably peaceful and that there would still be some food left.  Astonishingly both were true.  The breakfast was almost as poor as the first day, but the bread selection was slightly better.  The muesli was still like horse-food, and the jams were red, orange or brown (take your pick, but they all tasted the same).  At least it was all part of the package, although an officious notice warned us that if we attempted to take any breakfast food out of the room as a packed lunch, we would be charged 15 euros for the privilege.  I think this says everything we needed to know about the type of clientele at which this hotel is aimed.

Speaking of which, we discovered a bit more about the door-banging culprits, courtesy of a label on the front of their coach.

Harriet packed while I went back into the centre of Reykjavik in order to buy a couple of presents.  It was dull, grey and humid, and the area in which I walked wasn't exactly picturesque.

This is the very last fire hydrant of the entire trip.  Promise.

By accident I entered a rather nicer area of the city, although one of the local moggies decided that it didn't like the look of this strange foreigner with a camera, so came to give me the once-over.

Even corrugated iron can be made attractive with the correct colours and a few plants.

A couple of places along the sea-front: one a modern "steel and glass" building which housed a coffee shop; and the other a more traditional building which looked like it was associated with something nautical.

The final picture of the trip is of a shop at the airport entirely dedicated to "Ice-Tat": mainly the same stuffed toys and wooden gifts which we'd found on sale all over the island.  Not that there are many polar bears in Iceland, of course, but clearly they have an "ahhh" factor (unlike a stuffed whimbrel, for example, which I would happily have bought).  As for the wooden artefacts, they all seemed to have been imported from Norway!

In summary, with the obvious exception of the "Cabin" hotel, our visit to Iceland was a truly magical experience.  The combination of breathtaking scenery, fascinating history and abundant bird life was difficult to beat.  Also, the simple tranquility of the island - outside the two cities and tourist hot-spots - was exactly what we wanted from our holiday.  Will we go back to Iceland?  Definitely, although probably at a different time of year in order to experience some snow and (hopefully) the aurora borealis.  It's just a matter of saving some pennies...