Iceland – Day 2

drivingday1

From Reykjavik to Stykkishólmur. A grand total of 214 miles. For scale, it’s 239 miles from Houston to Dallas.

We picked up the car, but were delayed by about an hour as they didn’t have our car ready. On the plus side, they discounted the rental due to the delay. We set off for Stykkishólmur at around 9:30 am via the scenic route and didn’t look back.

Kia Sportage

Today it was raining for most of the drive. Still, Iceland is fantastically beautiful. We saw mountains with misty clouds rolling over the top and countless waterfalls and snow-capped peaks. We stopped several times for photos but were slightly discouraged by the weather. We did the best we could and rolled into Stykkishólmur around 4:30 pm and checked into our hotel.

Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsnes

We drove way out to the western tip of the peninsula to see Snæfellsjökull, the mountain that served as the entrance to the subterranean journey in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Unfortunately the clouds cut off most of the mountain.

Snæfellsjökull

The weather in Stykkishólmur is a dramatic improvement over what we experienced on the drive and we set off to explore and find some dinner.

We found a restaurant called Narfeyrarstofa which came highly recommended. We were informed that that the catch of the day was a pan fried blue ling fish which is a type of cod. They suggested a pairing with a pinot grigio and we decided to go for it. BEST MEAL EVER!

Stykkishólmurcatch

On the way into Stykkishólmur we got our first up close look at some Icelandic horses.

Icelandic Horse

Icelandic Horse

We’re winding down now. Tomorrow’s a big day as we have a boat tour scheduled in the morning and a ferry ride to the Westfjords in the afternoon.

The Modern Church of Stykkisholmur

Ship Docked At Stykkishólmur

Reykjavik Addendum

DSC04578

We took a nap because we were exhausted. After a few hours we got up and went exploring. Reykjavik is a very small town and easily walkable. The weather is good. A little overcast, but no rain. And it’s not as cold as we were expecting. We found Hallgrímskirkja, the big cathedral in Reykjavik and it is a spectacular place. We hope to go to the top of the tower when we get back here after our driving tour.

We also found the Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur stand. Everyone says the best food in Iceland is the Icelandic hot dog made by Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur and they also say this hot dog is the best hot dog in the world.

jaydog

I must say, I agree. It was delicious. The crunchy onions are a nice touch. Cynthia, unaware that there were crunchy onions added to the hot dog, immediately suspected the crunch was coming from the meat and was grossed out. She suspected that there must have been some ground up hoof, toenails or bone. She felt better when I explained.

Reykjavik is a fun little town. Coffee shops everywhere and very good dining options.

We leave tomorrow for Snæfellsnes after we pick up our rent car. I think we are off to a good start.

trolls

Arrival Reykjavík

Solfar Sun Voyager - Reykjavik

After flying to Boston and sitting in Logan for 6 hours we caught our 5 hour flight to Reykjavík. We met up with our tour organizer and picked up all of our paperwork and got checked into our hotel. We were very lucky to get our room at 8:00 am. Official check in time is 2:00pm. The hotel manager, whose name is Thor, showed us a great kindness.

Iceland

bonvoyage-s

Today we embark on a driving tour of Iceland. We’ve been plotting and planning for months. We are flying to Reykjavík where we will rent a car and spend a little over two weeks driving clockwise around the entire island. 1,760 miles in total. Which, according to various mapping tools comes out to roughly 45 hours of driving once it’s all added up. My gut feeling is that it will easily top 2,000 before all is said and done. Also, I expect travel times are rather conservative and that it will take longer than expected to get to any given destination due to weather and road conditions. Thankfully there’s upwards of 20 hours of daylight each day during this time of year so we won’t be out in the wilderness and in the dark. The map does not include the off-road adventure to Landmannalaugar which will be about 10-12 hours of sight seeing in the interior using a private tour company. That’s 16 days total, 13 of which are on the road and 12 different hotels.

icelandmapfull

Trip to High Island

Seagull Shrimp Buffet

I finally made it out to High Island to visit the Audubon bird sanctuaries. I drove to Galveston and took the Bolivar Ferry over to the peninsula. Had fun watching the seagulls get fed by the willing tourists and the shrimpers.

Cheeto Party!

Once on the peninsula I found my way to High Island and the world famous Rookery. Hundreds of Roseate Spoonbills and Snowy Egrets building nests. Used the Sony A99 and my Minolta 300mm lens combined with a 1.4 teleconverter.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Snowy Egret

Dooley The Parrot Gets A Checkup

Dooley was acting a little off so I took him to the vet to get checked out. First time to the vet in over 20 years, so it was time. He’s fine. Just a bit of skin allergies due to molting. He did have a full work up since it had been so long. Including x-rays which the vet let me have copies of.

Dooley The Parrot X-Ray R_LAT_2

Dooley The Parrot X-Ray VD_1

Brando The Cat Is Nobody’s BINGO Prize

Brando The Cat

There’s a cat that lives in the Mid Main area of Houston and can often be spotted hanging around in the parking lot next to The Houston Continental Club.

The story of this cat is an interesting one.

Many years ago, a local lounge act called The El Orbits played the club every Monday night and during their performance hosted a BINGO game. The prizes were odd, to say the least. Old tacky Astroworld souvenirs and other odds and ends that front man David Beebe might find sifting through rummage sales and thrift stores found while travelling about Texas.

At some point a well meaning fan or friend of the band came to the club on BINGO night with two stray cats he thought might make good BINGO prizes. I guess the real hope was to find homes for the animals any way possible.

When the well meaning friend/fan went to his car to collect the cats and present them to the band they proceeded to leap from the car and scurry off. One of the cats was never seen again, but one of them continued to lurk about the area.

The parking lot attendant befriended the cat and though skittish and somewhat ornery in the beginning, the cat eventually settled down and became more friendly.

Cynthia took a shine to the cat and now buys cans of cat food to send with me when I visit the club. I give the food to the new parking lot guy and he uses it to feed the cat.

Cynthia has also named the cat. She calls him “Brando”

I don’t know if anyone else has adopted the name, but the cat responds when I show up with food and will come to me when I call out his name.

From the looks of things, the cat is not hurting for food. He’s been there for many years and is quite handsome and has become mostly tame.

Brando is NOBODY’S BINGO prize.

Little Planet Panoramas Of The Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace, also known as Gresham’s Castle, an ornate Victorian-style house in the East End Historic District of Galveston, Texas.

he house was built between 1887 and 1893 by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton

Reportedly listed by The American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most significant buildings in the United States, and the Library of Congress has classified it as one of the fourteen most representative Victorian structures in the nation.

Bishop's Palace - Galveston, TX

Bishop's Palace - Galveston, TX