Icelandic Saga

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Things that I really liked about Iceland:

1) The swimming pools. I'm assuming that they're so common and popular because of how widely available hot water is there, and they were a treat on more than one occasion. The first morning we were in Reykjavik, after 24 hours of traveling and very little sleep, going to the local swimming pool early in the morning and getting in a shower, swim, and some hot pool time helped turn me back from a raging bitch monster into a normal, if still slightly irritable, person. If you're camping (or, like us, using a camper van), most towns have one, and they're a great place to clean up and recharge your batteries.

2) The hot dogs. Oh my god. I thought people were exaggerating about them, but they are so good. Even Brian, who describes himself as a "Chicago Style Chauvinist," was totally won over by them. The dogs themselves are a little different from the typical American hot dog - in addition to pork and beef, they also include lamb, which gives them a slightly different flavor in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. (Funny story - there are sheep everywhere in Iceland. After a couple of days of shouting out "sheep!" every time we saw a flock, we were driving through the town where the hot dog manufacturer is based and spied a truck load of baaing sheep going in, and a truck load of wooly skins waiting to go out. So... yeah. Um, maybe you had to be there.) The standard toppings are crispy fried onions, remoulade, a sweet mustard, and a less sweet, less vinegary version of ketchup. I guess they're not that different from what you might get on an American dog, but something about how it comes together just makes it next level delicious.

3) Kilometers. Seriously, when you're used to miles, discovering just how quickly you can cover 200 kilometers is a real treat.

4) Licorice. I love licorice, but it's not a real big thing in America anymore. It is, however, basically the first and last word in Scandinavian candy, and I may have gorged myself on it a little bit.

5) The landscape. It really is astonishing how many different and amazing things you can see in a country the size of Ohio, especially considering how little there is to see in other places the size of Ohio (like, for instance, Ohio. No offense). In a single day you can see gently rolling hills, steep basalt cliffs, a glacier, black sand beaches, a handful of waterfalls, the place where the North American and Eurasian continental shelves meet, and about a hundred other things that would take too long to list here.

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Things that I didn't like so much about Iceland:

1) Standing on top of a cliff with 40mph winds trying to blow me over. I thought I was going to die. Of course Brian's running everywhere like a mountain goat, perching on the edges of crags like king of the fucking mountain, while I'm just trying not to fear vomit. I don't usually have such a problem with heights, but heights + strong winds + some asshole telling you it's fine and that you're being silly = me swearing. A lot.

2) Standing in a desert with 40mph wind throwing sand and rocks in my face. Probably the coolest place we found to take photos, and also one of the worst to actually be out in.

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3) Bad hair days. There's hard water, and then there's Icelandic water. If I didn't wash my hair every day I looked like a greasy mess, and surprise, since I was on the road I didn't get to wash my hair every day. It's one of those things that's even more frustrating now than it was at the time, since I'm looking at these photos that could have been so amazing if only I could have fixed my hair. If it looks like I photoshopped my hair a little bit, it's because I did.

Things which were entirely my own fault (but still annoyed me):

1) I pre-booked our seats on a bus from Keflavik, the international airport, to Reykjavik. Unfortunately, I didn't really read the confirmation email that they sent me, so I had no idea that I needed to print off a voucher in order to actually get on the bus. They took pity on me and finally let us on, but I still want to send them an email and be like "look! I really wasn't scamming you!"

2) I don't drive, so when we were cruising around in the camper van, I was the navigator. Sometimes I'd just forget what I was supposed to be doing, though, so when Brian would ask me what the next turn was or where we were, I'd just be like "huh?" And then I'd get mad at him for getting mad at me. "You know I have no sense of direction! And even when I'm right about where we're going you don't usually believe me anyway!"

3) I didn't bring a fancy dress. I was planning on it, but in the last minute shuffle it never made it into my bag. Kind of goes along with my complaints about bad hair days - I just can't help but think of how amazing some of those photos could have been with more dramatic styling.

4) My clothes are a little tight now. Clearly I'm just a little swollen from air travel, right? Not from hot dogs.

5) I have too many really cool photos, and I don't want to post them all here all at once.

Final thoughts: Go to Iceland. It's really cool.

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