Our last day in Iceland was Thursday, May 25, 2023. Our Icelandic Airlines direct flight to Denver did not leave until 5:30PM, so the three of us decided to make the forty-five minute one way drive to Reykjavik. Amy researched the source of some chocolate bars that she purchased at a shop along the way, and that became our number one target. We found the small shop in the Old Harbor, which was the very first locale that we visited upon our arrival. Our arrival preceded the store opening, so we completed a short hike along the seawall, while we waited for the doors to open. We were not disappointed, as the store displayed an abundant quantity of chocolate bars in many exotic flavors. I inherited a licorice chocolate flavor that did not go over well with the ladies.
Upon our departure we punched the name of a visitor center in downtown Reykjavik into our maps application, and eventually we found the sought after location. Parking was at a premium, and we circled the city, until we eventually landed in the same lot that held our rental car on our arrival morning. Amy consulted with the guidebook and identified two lunch restaurants within steps of each other along a main boulevard, and we hiked for .5 mile to our chosen destination. The Messinn beat out the Icelandic Street Food, and we enjoyed a simple but delicious lunch. Two pan seared skillets arrived at our table, with one containing Arctic char, potatoes and vegetables; and the other featured Atlantic salmon, potatoes and similar although different vegetables. We all agreed that it was perhaps our best meal of the entire trip.
After lunch we ambled back to the parking lot, and then Amy navigated the endless string of traffic circles, before we returned the car to the rental agency and found our gate. What a trip it was! The greatest impression of Iceland was, unfortunately, the strong winds, but I suppose that is to be expected on an island near the Arctic circle. The stark beauty of the austere landscape remains a major imprint on my memory banks. Basalt rocks, snow-capped ridges, glaciers, and waterfalls are everywhere. Very little green was present, and I would be curious to visit again during the summer months. The weather in May was comparable to March in Denver, and the landscape was brown and gray as can be expected for early spring. The impact of volcanoes and geothermal activity is another prominent feature of Iceland.
What words of advice do I have? Be prepared for wind. Never pass up a WC and take along your own decongestant in case of a cold. Iceland does not sell decongestants, and I developed a cold over the last few days. Fortunately I packed enough pills from the U.S. to carry me through the latter phase of the trip. In many ways the fly fishing was like the island. The wind and cold made it challenging, but the effort was well worth it for the robust and wild brown trout that visited the guides net. The memories will be lasting.