So this is the last entry of the impossibly long saga of the Iceland trip. I think I’ve spent more time writing about it than I actually spent in country, yet, I feel like I barely covered all that occurred. It’s hard to stop writing about it. Maybe because it means my time there is really over and I’ll have to go back to ranting about the nonsense that is my life.

The final day didn’t hold much. We headed out early from Budir and drove the two hours back to Reykjavik. All along the way, Sailor and I discovered yet more sites and places to add to the list of “Things to See in Iceland”. That fact alone can sum up my Iceland experience: I arrived with a list, crossed off most of it, and left with dozens of more places/things to see in the future. I doubt it will ever end.

The shame of it, as I have come to discover, is that too many people view Iceland as an outdoor wonderland (which it is), and basically stop there. Tourists arrive in country and they want to see glaciers, northern lights, ride horses, go to the Blue Lagoon, and poke around Reykjavik. And all of these things are fabulous adventures, do not misunderstand me on this, but all of those activities barely scratch the surface of what I have come to love about this country. The culture, the history, the language, the people, they run so deep and are so complex, they deserve further investigation, a better understanding, and hence, more attention from tourists. If you go to Iceland and miss the saga sites, hell, if you never even read a saga, then you’re really missing out on some of what is best about this nation.

When you do visit Iceland, do yourself a huge favor: get lost, completely and utterly. Most of what was best on this last trip occurred when we got out of the car and turned an unexpected corner, had a challenging conversation, or ate a socially and politically controversial animal. See the evolution of this culture. Marvel at it. People joke about how tough it is for people to live in Australia since it’s a land that is hostile towards its inhabitants. Well, Iceland has volcanoes that will spew hot molten lava on you and not think twice. It will bathe you in a darkness that will feel endless or blind you with a sunlight that can drive you mad. And yet, Icelanders have harnessed the power of the earth that is literally moving beneath their feet to create energy, light, and heat. It’s the story of Prometheus only with a happier ending. That is, of course, unless the Puffins turn rabid and decide to attack, Hitchcock style. But the point I’m trying to make is that these people are tough. The land demands this to be so. Don’t let the eyeglasses fool you.

So we did not get to LazyTown. I emailed the business offices and never received word back. But a wanton and kamikaze style future visit would not be unheard of. I had a chance to watch a few episodes while in country and can see why kids and parents dig it. Watch out Sportacus, I will eventually drop by for a visit. You’re officially now on “the list”.

We briefly stopped back in Reykjavik for some souvenirs. A quick visit to a knitting center for some of that fabulous Icelandic wool for Grandma, and the obligatory visit to the tourist trash shop for books and t-shirts. But the piece de resistance! of crazy little gifts are to be found in a downtown and funky antique shop called Frida Fraenka. Top to bottom, backwards to front, it is filled the wildest and most unexpected stuff you will ever see. I must of spent a good 30 minutes alone just going through a drawer full of old 1940 style staplers. Glass buttons, art-deco style lamps, old tools, old 1950’s cookie tins, I could have died there. But we gathered our goods, grabbed one more hot dog for the road, and headed for the Keflavik airport.

viking-ship.jpgAnd of course, since I am married to a sailor, what would a trip to this country be without crossing paths with a Viking ship? The Islendingur is a recreation of an 1100 years old vessel and was sailed from Reykjavik to Greenland to L’Anse aux Meadows, the first Europeanprow.jpg homestead in North America, in Newfoundland. She’s now permanently parked a little ways outside the airport and is in some rough shape, but then I suppose it would be wrong to assume that the Vikings were concerned with bringing a boat “Back to Bristol”. Nonetheless, she is a sight to behold and she has sailed the seas, so she has nothing to prove to anyone. That fact alone makes Islendingur a sight worth seeing. Oh, and if you happen to drive there, the little path alongside the road that looks like a convenient short cut? It’s a sidewalk. Don’t make our mistake and actually drive down it.

greenland.jpgSo that’s it. Return car. Check in. Go through security. Duty Free Shop frenzy. Refund on VAT purchases. And we’re off. A glimpse below of Greenland, then Labrador, Newfoundland, Maine, then Boston. And it’s over. But we’re far from done. Two visits in two years and we’ve come nowhere close to seeing all that this country can offer. But that’s okay. We most certainly will be back. Again. I have a list after all.

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