Today was fab!! First off was the ‘Volcanic Veins’ tour: we went down into caves and tunnels that had been formed by lava. After eruptions, the lava on the surface would cool, but what was below would continue to flow, creating large tunnels and caves. The caves were stunning. You could see the parts where lava had flowed at different levels and where it had splashed up on the roof and walls. There were so many different colours because of all the different minerals in the rocks, and there were sections littered with rocks that had fallen from the ceiling. We walked, crouched, crawled and crab-walked our way through the tunnels (thank you bootcamp for the leg strength needed to shimmy through!), marvelling at all the different features we could see, and bumping our heads more times than I care to admit (thank God for the helmets!). The cave we were in was called “End of the Road” (can’t remember the Icelandic name) because when it was discovered/explored over 20 years ago they fund the skeleton of a lamb that had somehow wandered down there and died. It’s a really sad story, especially given how dark it is down there and difficult to get through. The skeleton is still dwn there, really well preserved. In the cave we sat, turned off all of our torches and sat in silence in the dark. The darkness down there is UNREAL – there was literally no difference between having my eyes open and closed. Our guide, Otto, told us that one of his friends went down into the cave, turned off his torch and attempted to get back out in the dark. He made it but it took him ages and he was covered in bruises. Not something I’d do any time soon. We got to take a trickier route back but it was completely worth it – some of the lava formations were spectacular and in particular a lava ‘chandelier’ on the ceiling.
From there we were dropped off straight to the harbour and onto the boat for some whale watching. We scarfed down our sandwiches from the bakery – chicken, cranberry and apple; strange but totally tasty! – and went to find a good spot for the whale spotting. All good spots come at a price though – the wind was FIERCE! Jesus, it cut right through us. It was on with every layer we had and the pac-a-macs in order to feel some semblance of warmth. There were kids in the same place and after half an hour they were clearly DONE with it all. Thankfully at that point we were in a good place and the whale watching could begin. Really quickly we spotted a Minke whale and followed it for a while before moving on. We spotted a lot of sea birds including super cute puffins 🙂 and then used them to hunt down the good spots. Eventually we found some dolphins. And that’s when the fun happened. At first we saw them leaping in the distance and gave chase. They seemed to disappear and then out of nowhere THEY WERE BESIDE THE BOAT!! A whole group of them including a calf, leaping and twisting out of the water, playing around the boat – A-BLOODY-MAZING!!! I couldn’t believe we got to see it, I will never forget about it!
Back from whale watching, we had a leisurely wander to both a volcano museum and a Northern Lights museum – both beautiful and facinating. The videos of the Northern Lights were stunning, as were the rock samples from different volcanoes. It was facinating to see and touch ash from different eruptions and see the differences between them.
We were getting pretty hungry by then so it was time for dinner. OH. MY. GOD!!! Not going to lie, that soup in bread was hands-down the best soup I’ve ever had. It was a mexican meat soup inside a giant bread roll – really spicy and thick like a stew. I DEVOURED it. If I lived here I would eat it every day and not have a care in the world. I wish I could get it in London. The bar we got it in was really cool and the bathroom was Mario-themed! 😀
There were plans afterwards to head back to the hotel, buy some cake on the way, eat said cake, freshen up and head back out for our last night in Reykjavik. We got as far as eating cake (red velvet slice – meh, doughnut – NOT!), when tiredness hit us like a brick wall, so it was off to bed to dream of soup…
Tomorrow’s the last day (boo!) and we’re off to The Blue Lagoon to chillax before the airport madness.
Current Arm Status: a million times better, and the swelling’s definitely gone down!