The first installment of our families arrived, together with my down jacket. Our trip also met its first bump when we realized that the owner of our rental house spoke essentially no English and accordingly didn't get our arrival time memo. Unfortunately the confusion thwarted our plans to to visit the lava tubes at Fljótstunga. Ah well, next time.
Since we were already late, we stopped by the nearest big dot on the map, Reykholt, for lunch. Though Chewie and I had been thoroughly schooled on the meaning of "towns" outside Reykjavik on our last winter trip, I still found myself baffled, and even a little miffed by the sparseness of this place. We had no problems finding the local landmark church Snorrastofa because 1. it's impossible to ignore its enormous red-steepled tower, and 2. there was already a large tourbus parked in front. We visited the site the way nine jet-lagged and weary accidental tourists do: we circumvented the museum (and donations), dipped our fingers in the tepid Snorralaug (Snorri's pool), and set off in search of food.
Lunch was pretty unremarkable. Amusingly as we set foot in this awfully situated restaurant, we were greeted with "Are you the group?" We assumed the answer was no and a momentary panic befell the waiter, who then quickly recovered when he realized there were only (?) nine of us. Fifteen minutes later about thirty Chinese tourists filed in, replete with pennant flags and other bus tour paraphernalia. I mean, what are the chances?!
Refueled and over the disappointment of the morning, we decided to make the most of the afternoon. We pulled over to take pictures of what we thought was Hraunfossar, and even my ever-so-cautious dad forded a creek:
We found the real thing another minute or two down the road:
The last tour of the day was a walk inside an ice cave excavated within Langjökull, run by the tour company "Into the Glacier." Chewie and I tried our tour guide's patience as we kept up a cat-and-mouse chase of the steady-cruising group as we dawdled behind to take pictures.
The tour was fun, if a bit artificial, and we had ample time to nap on the snowmobile bus. On the way home we passed by the first of countless waterfalls:
(1) Snorralaug: It turns out that Snorri Sturluson was a major political and literary figure in eleventh-century Iceland, and we visited the bath/pool next to where he met his brutal end. Now Snorri would make an excellent, undignified name for our next cat, so this stop wasn't a complete waste of time...
(2) Food: we brought forty packs of ramen. All because on our last trip here we had to subsist off a loaf of bread that we bought from a hostel owner and a jar of jam, with occasional stopovers for a $15 burger at any gas station/bank/store/restaurant that was open.