Wednesday 4 October 2017--So back to Reykjavík, five hours direct on the
Ring Road, longest drive of our trip. It's cold this morning, with snow on the hills,
and potentially some ice on the higher road passes. Marc took a look at the tires
on our rental car last night, and wasn't happy with what he saw. Where he lives, in
Québec, winter tires are required by law between certain dates, as they are here
in Iceland. I confess it's not something I give a lot of thought to. Not only do we
not have winter tires, but the ones we have are not really great for what they are.
Marc suggested last night that we ought to contact the rental company and see
if we can get a winter set put on here in Akureyri. In the end, we let it go--road
conditions to the west look pretty good. Things appear much worse to the east,
and we are left to think that the road washout in the southeast was a blessing in
disguise. We'd have had a very uncomfortable drive today, winter tires or not.
The first miles out of Akureyri are indeed a little iffy, but the weather clears as we drive west. We don't stop until we arrive at Grábrók, a volcanic crater that Win and I visited in '99, more than three hours along. The parking lot holds the requisite twenty cars and a bus. A wooden stair of 570 steps (yes, I counted them...I'm a bit O/C) leads all the way up to the rim, giving a view over the valley and two other smaller cinder cones nearby. The busload are Spaniards--in fact, most of the tourists we've run across have been Europeans, with a sizable minority of Japanese and perhaps Chinese. I suppose Americans are more inclined to confine themselves to the summer months.
We make a coffee stop in Borgarnes. Marc tolerates these stops, I think; I like to get out of the car and soak in a little atmosphere, as much as to get a caffeine hit. I think he'd prefer to get where we're going. We get there, a large Airbnb in Reykjavík's Vesturbćr neighborhood, late in the afternoon. It's bigger than we need, and more expensive than we'd like, but that's what happens when you need something at short notice. I like the location, on a quiet street with easy parking.
I suggest to Marc that we have a beer at Bryggjan Brugghús, the brewpub near the waterfront. I've mentioned to him several times that I didn't really like the place; he wonders aloud why, then, I want to take him there. Well, that's a fair question, I guess. For one thing, I want to let him make up his own mind about it. For another, the one time I was there, I'd already been in Micro Bar rather too long, and my judgment was perhaps not entirely reliable. As it goes, my second impression, and Marc's first, are much more favorable, and we decide to stay for dinner. We have no difficulty enjoying a couple of pints at Micro Bar after.
Map of today's route