We are now in Reykjavík

Mark and I have arrived in Reykjavík and are staying at the Hostelling International Reykjavík Downtown Hostel for three nights. We are embarking on a sixteen-day self-guided driving tour of the island in a clockwise direction. Mark is sleeping while I am writing this; although Mark got more sleep on the plane than I did. On our last visit to Reykjavík two years ago, we spent the entire day here before catching our connecting flight to Amsterdam. That delay between connecting flights was on purpose, because we wanted to see the city. It was a hot and cloudless day then. Today the weather is warm then cool, windy then still. Just no fog. We might bemoan bringing our jackets yet rejoice in having them with us two minutes later.

We piggybacked onto a free walking tour. We had planned to take this same tour two years ago, and had even waited a while for the guide to show up, but a colleague of his broke the bad news to the group that had assembled that the scheduled guide could not appear as he was sick. So Mark and I felt disappointed, naturally. While we were eating a snack in a park we saw a tour arrive and recognized that the sign the guide was carrying was for the same tour we missed two years ago. We jumped at the chance to see the city on foot by a local who was hilarious and engaged the crowd.

The guide told us that one could taste the Icelandic delicacy of rotten, decomposed shark meat at the weekend flea market. I had told many friends that I did intend to try this shark while on this trip, and after poking around the various fish and seafood vendors at the flea market, I found the stall with the shark. I tried a sample without hesitation. I did not get a chance to see if it had any odour since I excitedly placed a toothpick through an attractive cube sample and popped it into my mouth without giving myself a chance to smell it first. The smell was thus not so overpowering that you could smell it from a distance. It certainly still tasted like fish, and it was not as strong as I was expecting it to be, however it had a strong aftertaste and I found little smoky rancid bits between my teeth a long time after eating it. It is worth tasting and I am glad I did, and would even take another sample. But I don’t know if I could bring this stuff home. It’s not expensive (the equivalent of ten Canadian dollars for a slab about the size of half a stick of butter) but I worry about the odour emanating from my suitcase or my carry-on. Even if I couldn’t smell it, a dog inspecting the airline baggage would. I wonder if it would be confiscated at Canadian customs.

It will be an early night tonight, although I do hope to go book shopping since the main store closes at 10.

The attached photos are from the inside of the Harpa Concert Hall. Mark and I saw this new building two years ago but I did not go inside it.

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