Mark and I left Skógar in the south of Iceland this morning for Vestmannaeyar, known in English as the Westman Islands. We are spending two nights in Heimaey, the largest of the islands. We took a hike to the island’s southern point and saw Surtsey in the distance. I am fascinated with these islands, having seen movies on the two eruptions (one in 1963 which created Surtsey; the other in 1973 which forced the evacuation of Heimaey) ever since childhood at yearly visits to the Ontario Science Centre. Now we are here. We saw the entire exhibit about the islands’ eruptions at the new museum Eldheimar. Inside the museum is an actual house that had been buried (and then un-buried) in volcanic ash. The museum was built around the house, still in its original location. I bought a DVD at the museum, “Surtsey: The Black Island” which I cannot wait to see. I can’t play it on this laptop since the DVD is configured for European DVD players, but I have an international player at home.

We ate a delicious cod dinner tonight at Fiskibarinn. It was served in the pan it was cooked on and contained potatoes and rice and vegetables, all for the low price of 2200 ISK. Mark and I are thinking about going there tomorrow and trying their lobster soup (1500 ISK). It was the best meal I have had so far in Iceland.

Tomorrow Mark and I are going on a boat tour of the islands. They warn us to dress warm, so I am going to bring three layers plus my gloves. We had to buy gloves in Egilsstaðir a few days ago because the temperatures were frigid–yes, in July. We have been wearing them daily!

We are staying at the Aska Hostel in Heimaey. I don’t think they intended to mean this, but if it makes them happy, I’ll oblige:

We see a lot of cats outdoors in Iceland (as well as trampolines–every home has one). Mark befriended this adorable little puss, who followed us around Skansinn, a site by the harbour where many old buildings have been relocated:

The island of Bjarnaey, with its sole house:

The volcano Eldfell (on the left) erupted on January 23, 1973. Its dormant neighbour to the right is Helgafell:

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