09 April 2010


We made up for this week's dearth of sleep with twelve uninterrupted hours of shut-eye for me, and thirteen for Caroline. As Caroline got ready for our trip to the volcano, the hotel's concierge gave me the bad news: a storm rolled in overnight, and our guide was forced to cancel our trip. The conditions weren't dangerous, per se, but views of the volcano were completely obstructed by the cloud cover.

We decided to take a walk up to The Pearl, a large dome that sits atop six enormous water towers on a hill high above Reykjavik. It's a ten minute walk from our hotel thanks to a fully paved path, and the fresh air felt great. The path had several small gravel trails leading off through the trees in different directions. It's the sort of place that would be thoroughly creepy in any other city. Not here. Reykjavik, even in its park-like crevices, feels perfectly safe.

We stopped at The Pearl's fourth floor cafeteria for skyr (MUCH better here than the one we tried in Portland!) and coffee, and then went back down to the lobby to visit the Saga Museum. It's a small wax museum, but it's worth a visit. The figures are incredibly realistic, and since this is Iceland, many of them are downright frightening. The audio tour takes about thirty minutes, and guides you through the most important events in Iceland's early history.

From The Pearl, we went downtown to hunt for a pair of "cute" fingerless wool gloves. Caroline saw some in the gift shop at Geysir, but we ran out of time and couldn't buy them there. They cover your wrist and wrap around your thumb only, but they leave your fingers completely exposed. Since fingers and toes get cold so quickly, I asked the shopkeeper, while Caroline tried them on, why someone other than my daughter might want such gloves.

"They're helpful for hunting, fishing, smoking..."

Caroline doesn't hunt, fish, or smoke, but she loves her cute fingerless gloves so much that I had to remind her to take them off at dinner (edit: and again at bedtime).

For dinner, we went back to The Pearl. We had a reservation at Perlan, the rotating restaurant at the top of the dome. Like all such restaurants, the food was secondary to the view. The view was spectacular! You can see the city from the fourth floor cafeteria, but it's not panoramic, and of course, it doesn't rotate. Let me back up. The food was secondary for me. For Caroline, it was more memorable: her crispy duck was served with her very first taste of pan-seared foie gras. She was tentative at first, but then she metered it out and spread a little on each bite of duck. She really amazes me, my daughter. I felt out of sorts if I traveled as far as Staten Island at her age. Caroline is always open to new experiences. No, that's an understatement. She's eager for new experiences.

Tomorrow, black sand beaches and waterfalls along Iceland's south coast.

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