August 30, 2017
Our Inside the Volcano tour concluded my Icelandic adventures with Mom. I found myself enjoying some downtime in Reykjavik for the day until my two best friends, Kayla and Katie Green, were set to arrive in the morning. On my drive back to the city from dropping Mom off at the airport, I detoured through the Reykjanes Peninsula and discovered more impressive lava fields and geothermal activity that I needed to explore.
Despite realizing yesterday how Iceland lacks forests, it still blew my mind today when I feasted on uninterrupted views. Less than an hour drive outside Reykjavik, my nose led me straight to the Seltun geothermal area. The sulphuric stench made my eyes water and burned my nostrils, but I wouldn’t let that deter me from (safely) wandering around. The Earth bubbled and popped in mud pools nearby and the ground hissed from underneath large rocks. The experience reminded me of my first encounter with this sort of activity when I visited Rotorua in New Zealand and my fascination won me over once more.
Back in town, a local and I chatted over a beer at the bar. He shared some tips with me on where to go and told me how Iceland’s tourism boom in the past 10 years has made their economy explode. We also talked about how insanely high their housing costs are. He said that if you’re lucky and start working at 20, you might be able to afford to buy a house by the time you reach 35. Because of this, a lot of people stay at home and live with their parents or choose to rent.
My new friend knew the bartender (their names of which I wouldn’t be able to pronounce, let alone spell) and he offered us a shot on the house. They described this foreign drink to me as liquor infused with herbs like cumin. After looking it up, I came to the conclusion that we were drinking Brennivín. It boasted a strong herbal aroma, but my new friend seemed to be more off-put by it then I was. The bartender said something to him in their foreign tongue. They chuckled. Apparently the bartender had asked my new friend “where’s your inner Viking?” and the three of us took a shot together.