UP UNTIL NOW
Shin splints and light nights
We're drinking white wine out of blue plastic cups as we lean back against our backrest, legs stretched out. On the kitchen counter in front of us we have salt, pepper, soap, a knife, clothespins, sprouting alfalfa germs in a glass jar, a tea-strainer, and some garlic cloves decorating our tiny bamboo cutting board. Very quaint. There are also some miscellaneous things that don't really fit into my charming description, Oscar just pointed out, and you will never know what they are. Herein lies the power of the written word. Anyway, the sun is softly sifting in through our (in retrospect a bit on the too-small side) curtains, illuminating the toilet paper and the banana peel on the kitchen counter, and as the sun's warmth combines with the wine's warmth in our bellies, we feel quite content with our situation. Really quite content. Smug even. Today we have been in Iceland for a little over three weeks.
These days we are based in Reykjavik. We feel that the car is slightly less than ready to embrace the Icelandic wilderness just yet. Oil change is on the schedule, and our new oil filter, along with other spare parts we are lacking, are on their way here from Germany as we speak. But, don't fret, we do not sit idle and wait. We relax and wait. In the weeks and months before we left, there was always that deadline. A deadline that kept being pushed, with a to-do list acting like a tiny hydra sitting on our shoulder. For every head we cut off, 3 more sprouted, and an afternoon relaxing was in fact an afternoon spent thinking about all the things we had left to do. Here in Reykjavik we re-learnt how to relax and actually feel relaxed at the same time. How to do nothing and feel quite pleased about it. It takes some getting used to! The to-do hydra is also on vacation, and doesn't stress us out anymore. But after a few days of settling in, we of course checked out what Reykjavik had in store for us.
Turns out it was new friends, new neighbours, and free wine. Out of the blue dumpster diving dinner parties, impromptu ocean swims, nights that never go dark and days that never end, incredibly toasty hot tubs, incredibly tasty bread called "Skonsur", awesome cars on every block, hikes along mountain ridges, too much peanut butter to handle, and a really good feeling. Also, minor shin splints from football playing and a tummy ache from said toasty hot tubs. So far we've learned where you can buy the cheapest chick peas (Bonus), where the best flea market type store is located (Fellsmúli 28), and where you can have a free shower, a dip in the ocean and a free outdoor hot tub-session (Nauthólsvík).
After our first taste of Reykjavik, we realised there was still loads of work we wanted to get done on the car while we had the chance. So the past days we've been doing exactly that. Per recommendation of newly made friend, Gylfi (@icelandcarculture to see some of the cars mentioned above), we made ourselves a new temporary home in a practically deserted and very cozy parking lot next to a small forest. Small even by Icelandic standards.
This lot also happened to be next to the home of the very first Icelandic person we met on the trip, already in the ferry line, where we connected over some leaves of white cabbage, our owning the same kind of car, and of course our standing in line for the same ferry. As this very same man came out into the lot to say hello just shortly after we arrived, we had a feeling this city might provide a lot of accidental meetings with people, and its been confirmed many times since. This was also the temporary home of our ferry line friend's son, Keli, who had returned to Iceland for the summer to work as a tourist guide. He and his parents have now made almost all of our improvements to the van possible by lending us the tools we've needed, made us feel welcome, given us advice regarding our car, and even invited us into their home for coffee (you really do need coffee to do wood-work). Thank you so much Birgir, Ragnhildur and Keli.
These past few days our tiny home has been converted into a workshop, then back into a drivable car (as in; things staying where they should when turning (they never do anyway)), then back to workshop, then turned into bedroom, and all over again the day after. So far we have the additions of better storage units in our kitchen, a newly built two-book bookcase, a laptop storage shelf, a flower pot, fly-fishing pole ceiling mount, and our proudest achievement: a joint spice rack mug hanging unit. We've also built a flip-up table for our kitchen, allowing us to stand up when cooking outside, instead of crouching on the ground not unlike a child making mud-soup, or perhaps like Smeagol, investigating the contents of Sam Gamgee's stew.
With our spare parts arriving any day now, we really are getting anxious to get going. Even though being in Reykjavik longer than expected has made us realise that we're not in a rush, we feel ready to get going towards what we actually came here for. Long hikes, natural hot spring baths, making friends with arctic foxes (not so sure that's going to happen), and getting to explore this exciting country. Until it's time though, we're going to work out a way to make our too-small curtains cover the entire window. There are some pretty deft techniques being developed, such as cursing and giving up, and we think it's going to work. Stay tuned!