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Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I was woken up this morning by Ari, our host and guide, calling to tell me that a storm had moved in, and we should probably move the tour of the Golden Circle to tomorrow. Given the difficulty I'd had sleeping with the sounds of an asthmatic whale hovering over my head, I agreed.

When everybody got up this morning, Nick and I went to the Kronan (local grocery store) to pick up some more juice and some oatmeal. It's interesting how much smaller the selection is here at the stores - and Kronan is supposed to be the chain that has the most selection. At home, half an aisle would be devoted to different flavors of instant oatmeal, various artisan brands of vegan cruelty-free steel-cut oatmeal, etc. Here, there was a shelf with 1 kilogram bags of plain oatmeal. That was it.

Google Translate's offline mode for Icelandic translation proved less than helpful for grocery shopping. It appears that it can recognize base words, but not compound words, or words that conjugate in various ways.

Once breakfast was cooked and consumed, we headed into town and parked at the BSI. Mom and Nick and Rachael bought City Cards, which give you 24 hours of access to the Straeto busses, as well as free or discounted admission to various museums. They went to the National Museum of Iceland and the 871 +/- 2 Settlement Center (historians are not really sure when Iceland was settled).

I, on the other hand, was ready for some shopping. I walked up to the tourist information center, then up Laugevegur. I went into a couple of tourist shops and picked up some magnets and Icelandic flags, and some postcards with a couple stamps.

When I was done shopping I headed back down towards the tourist center, and had lunch at a cafe nearby. It was broccoli and potato soup, with fresh bread. I guess I looked like a drowned rat, with the pouring rain, because they brought me some hot chocolate too.

After that I walked over to Althingi and the City Hall, just to see them with their lights on. Unfortunately the City Hall was hosting some sort of event related to the city being an international literary city, so there were many, many students there, and the relief map I'd gone to see had been put in storage until next week. Maybe I'll get some pictures on the one day we have back in town before we fly out.

That was about it for adventures for the day. I struggled back to the BSI, put my purchases in the car, then retreated into the station for some hot chocolate and to stay out of the wet. I spent quite a while warming up and reading the news on my phone. Oddly the wifi at the BSI, and quite a few other places I've found, require you to like them on Facebook before you get access.

I did some reading on the weather and found that while the wind isn't too unusual, there's been a lot of rain the last couple days, and authorities are warning of flooding because many municipalities do not have storm water management systems. At least it should be getting better tomorrow afternoon and into Friday.

At home it looks like things aren't much better, with winds up to hurricane force expected, with up to two feet of rain in places in the Northwest, and mass power outages for sure. I've never gotten to practice the BOOT Principle of Emergency Management (Be Out Of Town), so this is exciting. I hope things go well for my coworkers while I am gone. If any of them are reading this, I want to remind them that while the Executive's emergency proclamation can cancel vacations and recall employees, I'm not checking my email or reading comments here, and I have not provided the US Embassy with my in-country contact information, so they have no way of notifying me.

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