We arrived in Reykjavik at 6:30AM and resolved that we would stay awake all day to get synchronized with the day time cycle in our new time zone. So, we walked around Reykjavik like zombies. The otherwise extremely polite Icelanders wondered if all Americans were such idiots. It was so bad we slept through the Icelandic Sagas wax museum. But, we were so startled by the witch being burned at the stake we woke up.
Isafjordur (issa-fyor'-thur) is a remote city in the Western Fjords region of Iceland. We flew into the precarious airport that requires the pilot to execute a 180 degree turn with one wingtip within 100 yards of a steep mountainside. The pilot had practiced the maneuver prior to our arrival and we landed safely. ..don’t miss that turn.. …ah, safely arrived at last.. Within an hour of arriving in Isafjordur we went kayaking under the able guidance of Runnar (like Gunnar, but with an ‘r’) of Borea Expeditions.
After a hearty breakfast of cold salami and pancakes, we headed out of town in the mighty Grand Vitarra, fishtailing down the road toward Latrabjarg, the westernmost point in Iceland and all of Europe. We drove through an underground tunnel that must have been at least ten miles long, the Icelandic equivalent of the NORAD command under Cheyenne Mountain. It was the only tunnel either of us had ever seen with an intersection (no stoplight), but we managed to stay on the right path, finally emerging the other end and racing past a bicyclist who had probably been inside the tunnel since 1972.
A quick trip in the Grand Vitarra took us from Latrabjarg to the ferry terminal, where we boarded for our trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the central of the three major peninsulas in western Iceland. Lewis was hungry enough to try the “Captain’s sandwich,” a mistake, but not as bad as the soupy potatoes of the night before. Having been on the move nearly non-stop, Lewis promptly fell asleep on his chin, as Brad enjoyed the view from the deck of the ferry.
After breakfast at the Framnes, we were off once again for the drive back to the international airport, where we would leave the next day for Scotland. We drove straight through, arriving in Reyjavik in a rainstorm. Parking, we headed out on a shopping trip, purchased some gifts and had a terrific lunch at Solon, where we found out that there really is good food in Iceland, if you are either lucky or know where to look.
With no time to waste, we awoke at 4:30 am and bade a fond adieu to Iceland, first stopping to exchange our krona for British pounds. Given the high prices we paid in Iceland, Lewis was determined to get our VAT refund, and took us on a tour of the Reykjavik airport, until we found the proper officials, who gladly refunded the onerous Icelandic tax and exchanged our currency, after taking a generous fee for the good people of Iceland.
Port Charlotte was a good place to catch up on sleep, which we did and, after breakfast, headed out in search of the perfect dram of whiskey. First stop was Bruichladdich (“Bruch-laddie”). Bruichladdie is an old distillery that was closed in the 1990s. It was purchased in 2001 and “reborn.” The story we were told is that a young British bicyclist stopped by the gate, peered inside and decided on the spot to buy the place.
Glen Coe is certainly the most beautiful river valley in the west highlands of Scotland or possibly all of Scotland. And it is where the most notorious massacre in all of Scottish history occurred. A less notorious massacre afflicted Lewis’ knee after Brad and he scaled and descended 1600 feet in the Glen Coe Pass on a ‘moderate’ ‘walk.’ Were we to say strenuous hike no quotation marks would be needed.