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Armida Evony
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Armida Evony

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In Olden Times
When I was young, the world was different. You couldn’t do anything online, because there was no online. To see your friends, you had to go physically locate them, because we didn’t even have cell phones (I know, and dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was so cool when we finally got electricity!) We sometimes missed out on a get-together because of our primitive communication methods, and it was even possible to miss a particular episode of a tv show. Unimaginable, right? If a friend was in trouble, you had to pick them up and take them out drinking   cruising past the house of the person they had a hopeless crush on   home for mom’s cooking  somewhere, or go over to their place with a thermometer/bottle of wine/supply of chocolate/box of kleenex.

I’m not really nostalgic for those times. I had fun with my friends. But I was also bored, a lot. There was so much wasted time. Rewinding videotapes was a drag. Waiting for letters from my boyfriend who was in Europe for the summer was frustrating, even though the stamps were cool. I’m a lot happier and more self-confident now than I was then, and I have way better taste in shoes.

Besides, as an introvert who sometimes isn’t in the mood to make eye contact, with a personality type which makes 96.2% of the American population regard me as an alien life form, I like wired society. I love being able to make friends with people all over the world at the touch of a button, with an added bonus of being able to meet them for a castle-storming or to destroy someone's spacecraft. I delightedly shop in the middle of the night in my pjs. I get excited about being able to do more than one thing at the same time, even during meetings. I haven’t rewound anything for years, and I’m no longer doomed to boredom if I forget to bring my book with me.

As an introvert, who doesn't think what people look like is important, and wants to let them define themselves, I might actually prefer online friendships. What’s not to like? There’s a worldwide talent pool, and you have flexibility of time, lack of logistics, and multiple types of communication which you can change on the fly. Where else do you find people with the time for a serious, long conversation .. which can be interrupted, saved and resumed as necessary? Or people who are obsessed with the same esoteric cooking ingredients and obscure musical genres? Even people who tolerate your belief in the existence of gnomes! Yes, there are times when I’d prefer a real hug to a virtual one .. but that’s not a dealbreaker. I can have chocolate and wine delivered. I can listen just as well .. maybe better, because less distractions .. on the phone. And if an online friend ever really needed my physical presence or help I would go in a heartbeat, just like I would for anybody I care about “in real life”.   

My kids are growing up in a world that’s almost unrecognizable in many ways to those of us who remember the pre-technology era. I sometimes can’t relate to their social lives (what possessed you to invite three different girls to the homecoming dance?), their educational experiences (yes, girls do talk to each other about who asked them to the dance), and their approach to problem-solving (no, you can’t just not show up) .. and I expect that feeling is going to keep increasing like compound interest. But, on good days at least, I find it .. well .. exhilarating. Different isn’t always worse, or even bad. Sometimes a change of perspective is exciting and spurs creativity.

Besides, I firmly believe that every generation since the dawn of time has had the “omg young people today, too many changes, everything is falling apart” mentality, so it’s hard-wired. And I’m enough of a rebel to want to grin and say “bring it on!”

And on bad days, there’s always chocolate.  
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From weird introvert to weird introvert: I don't know how I survived pre-online ages :-)
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Armida Evony

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The Ogre's Harp

Today was "just hanging around in Reykjavík" day and it was really nice. Breakfast in our apartment, because we've got some groceries that we really should use and we also may have slept in really late. Thank you blackout blinds! 

Then we went shopping. Well, I went shopping, and Colin agreed to come if he could bring his Kindle. Thanks to all those shoppers on Skólavordüstigar street who kindly stepped over him in corners, so he could finish the Wings of Fire series. We did find a very cool art supply store, and since Colin has gotten interested in drawing we got him a sketchbook and some watercolor pencils there. We had fun trying out all the different types of paper and discussing which size and orientation of sketchbook would suit him. I always promised myself I wouldn't be a stage mom and push my kids into anything, but when they show enough interest in something to mention it several times, I try to pay attention. Colin's in a creativity mode just now: art, filmmaking, photography and writing .. and I'm happy to encourage that along with the programming.

I've really been enjoying Colin's company on this trip. He's always been a kid who makes interesting connections and observations that most people wouldn't notice. I love some of the passing comments he comes up with: 

"You don't speak Icelandic, Icelandic speaks you" (which is very true, given the tonguetwister way sounds are combined.) Then he added, "except Samantha. Even Icelandic can't speak Samantha" :) Samantha is our GPS voice, and she mangles Icelandic to a truly virtuoso degree. 

"Sometimes I sleep like a log. Sometimes I sleep like a mirror." Apparently this means that mirrors 'wake up' whenever something crosses their path or comes into their view. Interesting concept. After that we discussed what it would mean to sleep like an owl, a phone, or a volcano. 

Speaking of volcanos, we went to a 360-degree movie at Harpa, the high-tech concert hall. It was sort of the same idea as IMAX, but didn't quite make the same impression. Cool, though. 5 different synced films running on all 4 walls and the ceiling, and the best view was lying down on your back. Gorgeous nature photography including all the usual suspects: glaciers, waterfalls, lava erupting, etc. But very well done. I suspect it was funded by the power plants, but that's ok ... geothermal energy is a good thing, and it wasn't that heavy-handed, thinly disguised advertainment we get in the US. 

I have mixed feelings about Harpa. It's beautiful, and architecturally very impressive, but for many Icelanders it symbolizes the kreppa (currency collapse in 2008) because it was under construction at that time and it would have cost more to tear it down than to finish it. There was a lot of resentment about the cost overruns and the fact that the contract had to be taken over by the government after the developer, one of Iceland's despised bank owner/financial manipulators, went bankrupt in the crash. Lots of people have told me they refuse to set foot in the place. 

That's why I've never gone there before, but it is an amazing building. The cafe is wonderful, it's a great place to photograph, and there are all kinds of useful services there. Maybe we'll go to a performance sometime .. but I still feel a bit weird about how extravagant and huge it is. It really does seem to be a symbol of the "New Viking" elite who went around buying up all kinds of stuff with money that didn't actually exist, and then left ordinary Icelandic citizens holding the bag.

Anyway .. here are a few pictures of the landmark concert hall/symbol of national excess .. and now I'll go finish the leftovers from the confectionery plate we ordered at lunch. We expected a few cookies, but it turned out to be many pieces of gorgeous handmade candy of all kinds, beautifully arranged ... and this is one of those days when chocolate is one of the basic food groups. You know how that goes. 
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I can relate, kids make interesting observations.
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Armida Evony

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Almost Paradise

We searched, but did not find the Hollow of Paradise.

Paradísarlaut is described as an "oasis" near Glanní waterfall, a beautiful little round pool surrounded by lava and lush foliage. We went to the waterfall yesterday and by careful observation of the locals, realized there are secret shortcut paths that bypass the rather boring gravel walking trail. So we had an excellent adventure ducking under branches, wading through waist-deep grass, walking down cool little log steps, and following the sound of the water. Everyone we met on the path smiled at us conspiratorially. 

We found two secret overlooks, one of which was 5 feet away from the official touristy viewing platform. The platform was mobbed with grouchy-looking visitors fighting for a spot to take their selfie, and we pitied them from our secret little spot in the bushes. On our comfortable moss-covered boulder with its absolutely perfect vantage point for pictures. After I had taken my fill of pictures, we popped out of our invisible nook like two elves and surprised all the tourists. I thought it was funny that none of them looked to see where we had come from .. I totally would have. Colin was holding one of my cameras for me and asked how it worked, so I showed him how to autofocus, and he had a lot of fun experimenting with my zoom lens. I played around with my nifty new variable Neutral Density filter .. I love dialing that thing. Photographers of all ages = kids with toys :) 

This morning, second attempt. We dove into the undergrowth like two old pros, tried all the forks, and discovered the fish ladder and the soft sand beach and the whirlpools at the top of the falls (fun to see the 'backstage view' from behind). We found glades of pretty purple and yellow flowers, and lush grass, and some more very cool lava castles bristling with gargoyles and stuff. It was a lovely Sunday morning walk with almost nobody around. Just warm enough. Perfect in fact. 

We also revealed the secret path to several people who asked us how to get to the falls .. which apparently angered the elves, and they got their revenge by reversing the directions on the "you are here" map. Because Paradís was definitely not where that diagram showed it to be! 

After we finally decided to give up, we asked the guy at the hot chocolate stand, and he said it was in the completely opposite direction, out in the middle of the lava field, not near the falls at all. So we filed that information for future reference. Because we may decide to go back and stay again at the quirky hotel with the excellent country-style restaurant, the framed drawings of the elves that live in the hills nearby, and the extremely theatrical chickens whose coop is a tiny traditional Icelandic turf house. If we do, we'll know exactly where to find the Hollow of Paradise. Unless those elves ... shhhhh don't say it!
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+Armida Evony -- that reminds me of a conversation with a friend last year, who stated he emphatically believes in science . . . yet he still expects to find fairies at the heart of it all :-)
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Armida Evony

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Game of Thrones

Today was a play day. Colin and I don't play very often anymore, since he's a big almost-ten-year-old and prefers to spend most of his free time either reading or programming (or reading about programming.) Today though, I let him pick where we were going to go. 

We agreed that we would head towards the Bird Cliffs at Arnarstapi, but stop along the way anyplace that looked like fun. We had lunch at the Fish Soup gas station restaurant I mentioned in a previous post, had a picnic of cake and milk, and found three awesome castles. I had been telling Colin the other day about how much I liked playing imaginary castle when I was about his age, so he asked if he could try it today. 

There was Picnic Castle, which mostly consisted of cute little mounds of grass covered with various tiny flowers and mosses, and lots of wind. We discovered that the tiny purple ones smell really good, not similar to anything we could think of, just really good and "outdoorsy fresh" according to Colin. Of course we had to sniff about twenty other things before we figured out where the good smell was coming from, but that was fun. And hey, we've got a washing machine for one more night :)

Castle #2 was Throne Castle. We explored and discovered a throne (of course), a cannon, battlements, the Guardroom, the Queen's Chamber, the King's Garden Path and King's Garden, a secret staircase, an even more secret staircase for the Castle Spy, and an escape route for the King if the castle was attacked (Colin: 'not very Kingly behavior though'.)

Lava Castle, #3, was the most fantastical. It is inhabited by many mythological creatures which come alive at night. There are a lot of secrets that I can't reveal about Lava Castle. Some of them I don't even know, because it just so happens that Lava Castle is right down the street from the famous little black church at Búðir. Colin wanted to practice his Icelandic Horse gaits (he prefers the Flying Pace) on the sandy paths down to the beach at that point, so we were both happy. 

Most of my pictures today are of Colin, and piles of rocks, not surprisingly. We arrived home tired and dirty, with rocks in our pockets and pebbles in our shoes, and memories of a really fun day. 
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Oh what fun!!  Thank you for sharing your Game +Armida Evony 
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Armida Evony

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Dainty Bokeh

I have no idea what kind of flower this is. But it's cute, and I love that sort of bulby thing on the back. You would never know I took botany in college, would you? That could be because I didn't bother to go to class and may have dated the professor (don't judge, he was a graduate teaching assistant and we went to a movie about botany .. sort of ..) 

Anyway. I think this is my fifth, better late than never, entry in +Ann Pollak's #fivedaybokehchallenge . This will probably be my only macro shot from Iceland, since I pretty much can't remember how to do it. The deficiencies are my fault, and if you like this, the lens gets all the credit ;) 
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Nice one +Armida Evony​! I'll finish my challenge once I'm back home and have access to Lightroom again! ;)
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Armida Evony

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A rather blustery day ...

We're in the process of driving all the way around the Snæfellsnes peninsula, a lovely area that is my favorite part of Iceland (so far). People say Snæfellsnes is like a condensed tour of the whole country, it has a little of everything. It's also a photographer's playground with some of the iconic views that you see in everybody's Iceland album: the Arnarstapi bird cliffs, the black church at Buðir, and of course the epic Snæfellsjökull (gorgeous big mountain and glacier). Actually Wikipedia says it is a 700,000-year-old stratovolcano with a glacier covering the summit. Today's pics are a selection of mountains .. "I'll have the stratovolcano with a glacier on top" .. 

This is my first time to drive all the way around the peninsula .. last night we stayed in Stykkisholmur, a charming little fishing village which supposedly has a Danish look to it. I wouldn't know, never having been to Denmark .. but it's definitely a cute little town. And we saw some seriously bizarre clouds there that looked like flying saucers, so that was cool. Stayed in a darling hotel that was built in 1867, although you would never know it from the ultra-high-tech showers. Very nice shower. Nice room too, but the shower was really spectacular. At breakfast (which was also pretty spectacular) we met a very nice couple from New Jersey who are just completing a 15-day trip around the Ring Road, and got the lowdown on what it's like to drive all the way around the country. 

Inspired by that, we decided to take the long way around and visit Grundarfjörður (astounding views they have in that little town) and Ólafsvík, which was described in one of my books as "the town that has a waterfall behind the dentist's office." Then we drove through the beautiful Snæfellsjökull National Park, one of the scenic jewels of Iceland. By the time we passed Arnarstapi and Buðir, the wind was really picking up. In fact, it was a little tricky holding the car on the road .. and this time I've got an SUV. The ocean was white with waves. The inland lakes were brown with mud being stirred up by the wind. The sand was blowing off the beach. The grasses and flowers looked like they were trying to run away from the wind. 

Colin was getting a little nervous, especially on the steep hills with no guardrail, so fortunately our hotel was only a few kilometers further. Getting out of the car with our stuff and getting into the hotel was sort of like a polar expedition .. I was afraid Colin would get blown over the cliff. But we made it safely. Since we've got wifi here (yay!) the first thing I did was check veður.is, and guess what? We're in the windiest spot in Iceland (at the moment anyway) and they actually issued a warning for our area! Sort of flattering! 

What was your weather like today? 
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They have more power than they know what to do with already +Mikko Moilanen​, geothermal and hydro. Windmills would have to be incredibly strong also :)
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Armida Evony

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Mud Music

Today we journeyed through the lava fields and rejected a stop at Iceland's Greatest Natural Wonder Tourist Trap (aka the Blue Lagoon.) Instead we found an authentic fisherman's cafe by the harbor in Grindavík. The owner is a charming old salt who knows all the local stories of trawlers and captains and how many tons of herring have been caught each year for the Fishing Trophy :) He makes a mean cup of heitt súkkulaði too! (guess)

Beautiful drive down one of the hills used for the skateboard scene in Walter Mitty and along the coast. Quick stop at Grænavatn (Green Lake, although actually it's more of a turquoise color.) Then Seltún Geothermal Area, a place I've wanted to take Colin ever since I went there last summer. Partly because it's really cool-looking, with steam and mud and mineral deposits that make the ground very colorful. But mostly because I knew he would be amused by the signage. 

"Danger of Steam Explosions" in big red and yellow letters. And then nothing else. No guardrails or fences. No "keep on the paths" signs. No information about how to tell a steam explosion is going to happen .. or what to do if there is one .. but possibly you'd be fried to a crisp so it wouldn't matter. Just one warning sign .. and then plain wooden walkways meandering through the completely open site, which according to the information signs includes two live volcano spouts. That's so Iceland though. They just expect you to use common sense. 

We were delighted and intrigued to discover that the geothermal mud pools make sounds. Some hiss, some plop, some grumble, and some sort of whistle or hoot. Kind of eerie. Colin has decided he's going to write a spooky story called Music of the Mud. I can't wait to read it! Next stop, Lake Kleifarvatn, which for some reason I've never been to. It's stunning .. absolutely amazing rock formations and scenic views on every side. It's kind of a driving hazard because it's really hard to focus on the road .. which of course has no guardrails, in the usual Icelandic style. 

Speaking of driving, Colin picked the day's route, using our latest discovery www.road.is (isn't it cool that Iceland gets .is as their country domain? I love it!) Only in Iceland would there be a nicely-organized, efficient website that lists road conditions on every road in the country and includes webcam feeds for most of the weather-sensitive ones. New toy, yay! It almost disgraced itself today though .. I was horrified when we reached the base of a BIG hill and all of a sudden there was the dreaded "Malbik Endar" (end of paved road) sign. I was like nooooo ... the website said it was paved all the way! But given my new gravel bravery, I decided to give it a try. To our great amusement, when we reached the top of the hill, we could see the pavement start up again about 1 km away. Shortest gravel road ever! Last summer I would have turned back and driven dozens of kilometers out of my way. So I guess I do have something to thank Hvítserkur for after all :D
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It smells like sulfur, +Ann Pollak​, but fortunately Colin and I both like that hot spring smell when combined with cold clear icelandic air! 
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Armida Evony

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North by Northwest

We've headed up north .. well, sort of .. exploring a little bit of the area between the Snaefellsnes peninsula and the West Fjords. Here are my impressions of Northwest Iceland:

1. Hotels get very, very weird .. and they are also few and far between. These two facts may be related. 

2. It's really empty. I thought Iceland was empty anyway, but the southern parts seem crowded compared to this. 

3. You can tell the tourists from the Icelanders really easily on a gravel road. 

This part of the trip has been a disappointment in several ways, but has included a few delightful surprises. 

First, there was the creepy hotel last night. Shudder. PLEASANT SURPRISE: that experience actually made tonight's venue, a rustic horse farm with shared bathroom facilities (eww, call me an American princess, but I don't like sharing a bathroom, and NO STRANGERS PLEASE) seem incredibly cozy and homey by comparison. Plus, Colin finally got to ride an Icelandic horse. 

Second, I found out when I got up here (never mind why) that all the gold-star photography sites I had been planning to visit are a) close together and b) require an 80km drive on gravel roads to get there. So I grumpily decided they can't be that gold star, and moved on to my backup plan of seal watching in Hvammstangi. PLEASANT SURPRISE: Hvammstangi is a strangely quirky little town in a fun way. I think it may be inhabited by selkies. 

Third, at the Seal Center, they sent us up the Vatnsnes peninsula ... on the very gravel road I had already decided to veto. We didn't see a single seal, but we ended up driving so far that I threw in the towel and just went around the whole damn thing. PLEASANT SURPRISE: I now have an advanced degree in driving on gravel roads with a certificate in Giving Way, and did my thesis on Not Panicking on a Blindhead Hill when you are driving on single-lane packed dirt and it starts raining. There's also a charming little seafood restaurant at the point of the peninsula.

Fourth, Hvítserkur, the infamous stone arch that everybody wants to photograph, is distinctly underwhelming. Definitely not worth an 80 kilometer drive on gravel roads .. even with the seafood restaurant thrown in. PLEASANT SURPRISE: It makes me appreciate all the other, much more spectacular sites which have such easy access and yet are still not very crowded.

TGIF, y'all! I can't wait to head down south again tomorrow :) 
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WOW! really amazing...
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Armida Evony

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I know where I'm going, I just can't pronounce it ..

Colin and I have been working hard on our Icelandic pronunciation, and we’re getting better. Our latest tactic is to correct Samantha, our GPS lady, every time she mispronounces something (which she does constantly, with sometimes hilarious results). Her version of Snæfellsnesvegur had us laughing so hard we had to pull over.

This has gotten me thinking about place and street names. I’m a huge fan of quirky British village names: who wouldn’t want to visit Nether Wallop, Mudford Sock or Snail’s Bottom? And I love the mysterious ones like Sutton Hoo, Twelveheads, Chequer Bent .. makes me want to find out how they got their names. We also have some pretty colorful names for small towns in the U.S., particularly in the Wild West .. Tombstone and Deadwood are famous, but there’s also Grasshopper Hollow and Bumblebee in my home state of Arizona. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. And Confidence, California .. or Last Chance, Colorado. 

So I admit, I’m a little disappointed to find out that the mysterious Icelandic place names which I’m working so hard to learn to say are almost always just a place description. And a terse one at that. Cave Place. Snowfall Mountain. Somebody's Farm. Even Eyjafjallajökull simply means Islands Mountain Glacier. There's no Weird Jagged Mountain or Misty Romantic Village here :( A Viking I know once told me that Nordic folks keep their place names short and simple because you don't want to say too much when it's icy enough out to freeze your tongue to your teeth. 

I do kind of like the simple (once you know the Icelandic word-chunks that are combined to make those tonguetwisters) road and street names though. School Street. Market Street. Harbor Road. Way to (insert place name here). Pretty hard to misinterpret those. I always picture a gang of Vikings yelling, “the sign says this way to the hot spring, wahoo!” 

Some of our American street and place names have an interesting historical context. Many come from Native American words, or the language of some group of immigrants that settled the place. Sometimes the name of an influential historical person, or a reference to some landmark. But unfortunately there are way too many streets named things like Arroyo Grove Close and Meadow Arbor Trail .. which are not geographically or architecturally possible. Let alone all the Magnolia Circles and Lindenbrook Ways in the middle of the desert. I swear there is some Pretentious Street Name Generator app that developers use. Makes me roll my eyes. 

Does your street or town have an interesting name? 
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If only this tradition was limited to lakes, +Armida Evony. It seems to have been a popular pastime to give places obscene names. :D
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Armida Evony

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Sheer Bliss

So I'm lightrooming away, with headphones on, waiting for the jacuzzi to heat up (I know, I know, it's decadent) when I glance up and see this rapturously gorgeous sunset. I mean ... it was a drop everything, run outside in your socks moment. Two-handed camera quick draw  ... click, click, click, click. I had to stop myself for the sake of my Macbook Air hard drive. Must. Delete. Shots. They have already been rejected three times. I'm never going to need or want them. They're already backed up in Google Photos anyway. I need to let them go in peace ...... 

Anyway ... this is my view. The air is just chilly enough to make the jacuzzi worth it. It's completely silent here at our rental cottage, but we're only fifteen minutes away from Borgarnes, the only "big town" on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. And after a few hair-raising moments and some intensive troubleshooting, I now also have a blazingly fast internet connection. Ahhhhhh ... life is good :)

As we wave goodbye to the weekend, I'm hoping you all had a lovely moment or two. I know some of you did .. those who post pictures of amorous cows for instance, not mentioning any names. As for those of you who are stuck in New Mexico business travel hell (yep, I finally googled it) or eating work-sponsored worm tacos, well ... hope this sunset will bring you a little relaxation.
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:-) :-) :-) 
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Marinating

Back in Reykjavik for a one night stay in between the South Coast and the Snæfellsnes peninsula. I really like the quirky hotel in the Marina district where we're staying. It's close to all the good seafood restaurants and has a really fun and edgy design vibe. Icelandic style at its playful, modern, ironic best. Plus the two Coast Guard ships that were damaged by the Russian sailing ship last month are being repaired right outside our window. http://icelandreview.com/news/2015/06/12/russian-ship-hits-and-damages-icelandic-coastguard-vessels if you're interested. Lots of jokes about an old wooden ship taking out half the Icelandic Coast Guard ... 

Yesterday's Travel Challenge was prompted by my desire to get some last-minute battery charging done as I was packing up our hotel room near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. I was staring right at the charger, battery, and plug converter when I was thinking "now, do I have everything?" The elves distracted me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Hey, at least it wasn't my camera ... 

Anyway, I discovered that my equipment and I had parted ways when I was hundreds of km away, and spent yesterday increasing my knowledge of shops along the South Coast tourist route which do not carry camera equipment. Kudos to the lovely guys at the Selfoss Tourist Info office, who have been incredibly helpful every time I've been there. They sent me to a little electronics store which had three Canon battery chargers, unfortunately none of them the right size. However, the clerk there was a typical helpful Icelander, and he was nice enough to check the inventory at his supplier in Reykjavík, reserve the single charger they had for me, and print out a map with the address of the shop so I could get there before they closed last night. 

As a result of this expensive but educational mistake, I have now found the real camera store in Reykjavík. I really like the tiny one-man shop on Laugavegur, but I knew there had to be a big one somewhere ... and it's a humdinger. It's called Nyhergi, which explains why I wasn't googling with any success .. and the address is Borgartún 37, Reykjavík 105. In case you ever need it. I also just had a nice chat with a girl at the postal service (online help!), and found out it is possible to send a package to any post office in Iceland COD and General Delivery. I hope you don't ever require either of these bits of information, but just in case ... 

After all that, I was ready for the decadent chocolate licorice cake with rhubarb ice cream ... so we didn't make it to Valdís, the ice cream mecca of Reykjavík, after all. Maybe for breakfast? :)
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The food has grabbed my appetite. I grew up with some delicious rhubarb dishes and I just had some strawberry/rhubarb pie the other day. Ice cream for breakfast sounds just right +Armida Evony.
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Introduction
Hi there! I'm the mom of two fascinating and funny boys, ages 9 and 15, who are polar opposites. I am passionate about encouraging kids to read and encouraging families to volunteer together. I take a lot of bad pictures, read a lot of books, and have extremely feisty gnomes living in my garden. I like to sing along, loudly, with a wide variety of music including baroque opera, country, metal and various quirky icelandic bands. I wish I could speak Icelandic or Finnish .. but at least I am a power user of Google Translate. My current fantasy is to find a sod-roofed hut in Iceland as a vacation home, and invite G+ friends to HIRL there with me. Sadly, I do not actually own the boots in my profile pic because they are custom-made and were no longer avaiIable by the time I found the link .. but .. I do have a lot of boots :) I am a real person, but I don't share pictures of myself publicly. My profile .. my choice. I'm an untypical California girl (Bay Area brunette, carnivore, don't drink wine or coffee) and tend to find nerds and vikings very sexy. And finally ... I totally have a crush on Finland. Yes, the country. Ask me why.

I mostly decide to circle people back from seeing their comments on posts (mine or other people's) and thinking we could have an interesting conversation. Please introduce yourself, I look forward to getting to know you! 
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Queen of the Gnomes