First order of business for our second day in Iceland was finding a lopapeysa. Lopapeysa are traditional Icelandic wool sweaters made from these handsome fellas…
…and they are pricey but so so pretty and I really wanted one. I was also counting on it for warmth as we were going to be spending quite a bit of time exposed to the elements. Once we left Reykjavik, I knew that stores would be few and far between and prices would reflect that scarcity. So…after much deliberation I did some research and found Thorvaldsen’s Bazar, an 111 year old shop run by the oldest women’s society in Iceland. The shopkeeper was so friendly and helped me find just the right one.
The day was so sunny and clear and not all that windy. We weren’t expecting to get so lucky. After my little shopping excursion, we began driving to Þingvellir, or as I like to call it, tectonic rift-y park. Along the way, we saw a large snowy field on the side of the road with a beautiful view and just had to hop out of the car to hike around a little, we were that excited to be in the nature of Iceland we had dreamed about for so many months. It was fun to watch Julian figure out how to walk in his puffy snow suit-he actually did really well.
We saw Þingvellir, then Gullfoss-the first major waterfall of our trip, then the field of geysers and geothermal pools at Geysir. It was all very beautiful but after that we went to Secret Lagoon and it was totally the best part of the day. Splashing around with your baby in a natural hot springs pool in the middle of farm country with black pebble bottom and perfect temperature water; what more could you ask for? We got back in the car and stopped at Cafe Mika where they sell fancy chocolates, and they let me buy some even though they had closed a few minutes earlier. So many of the people we met there were so generous and went out of their way to help us if they could.
The chocolates were delightful to snack on as we drove to Kerið, a volcanic crater surrounded by colorful, almost fake looking scenery. Julian was sleeping by that point so we took turns hiking around. Ted even FaceTime’d his parents from the top! Good son! Then we had two hours of driving to our place for the night in Fossatun outside Borgarsnes. I felt so giddy when we got there. It was a little valley tucked away from any kind of city with a small river running through and waterfalls all around.
The proprietor had asked us to call him when we arrived so he could come meet us with the key, but Ted’s phone was almost dead and he was having trouble figuring out how to make international calls. There was a small moment of panic, but somehow we got in contact with him and he showed us to the airbnb house just a little down the road from the main guesthouse area. We talked to him for a bit about the area, his side job writing books about trolls (!) and the northern lights. He said there was about a fifty fifty chance to see them that night and suggested watching from the hot tub close to the main building. If only! But we didn’t feel good about leaving Julian in a strange shared house. The house itself was really cool-had kind of a hunting lodge vibe going on but unfortunately there was a little fly problem. We made some spaghetti for dinner, got sweet Julian (who had been such a good sport all day without much of a nap) settled and went out to watch for northern lights and stargaze with no luck because it kept getting more and more cloudy.