We are giddy with our day of trekking on the glacier. Satisfied we look forward to our lodging for the night.
We off road and soon the road is not obvious as we lumber along in our top heavy vehicle. It reminds us of the safari in Africa where we lurched along the bumpy roads. This we decide more of a Disney ride, though we are glad we are not driving. There are various streams that we cross with our fancy vehicle made for this terrain. Eric gets out to check the stream before crossing and we are thankful that he also values his life. We relax knowing we are in good hands.
We arrive and negotiations begin, though it is not clear what is being negotiated. I read the body language just outside and try to determine what is happening. Soon we learn that the majority of us will be in one lodge with two rooms to share between 16 of us. We will sleep in bunk beds, eight to a room.The remainder of our group will share a cabin with 4 people each. It is disappointing and our excitement of the day falls away while we try to process the logistics of sharing a washroom with 16 people.
We gather our gear and remain hopeful as we explore the space. It will be dry we decide on the plus side, that side remains with its solo item as we list the many negatives of the arrangement. We leave for dinner determined to make the best of a bad situation and decide it could always be worse. That night we learn worse as the cacophony of snoring keeps us awake all night. I download a white noise app and decide that the cost is worth the few minutes of rest obtained. Too soon it is time to wake and we queue for the bathroom and some privacy to get dressed and ready for the day.
Our friends on the opposite bunk begin their day with a coffee and sit cross legged on the bunks next to each other as they begin the day with a smile. They are clearly better at making the best of a situation and there is much to be learned.
We eat breakfast and then begin our hike into the hills. It is straight up with relatively few switchbacks, our breath pumping we climb. I prefer the quick up even with the work of breathing as in no time we summit and marvel at the view. I decide to stay very close to the front as it seems there is always time for a break. If I travel closer to the rear, by the time I get to where the rest is, we are on the move again. Eric has an easy gait and it is easy to follow close. He points out vegetation, sites, and information on the area. Kommi, our other guide brings up the rear.
We arrive at a cave and we all crowd in to listen to stories of Huldufólk, the hidden people or Elves. It is interesting to hear and I think how nearly every culture has these types of stories to keep children in line or safe. We are told how there was an area in the farm where Kommi grew up. He was told it was a place for the Elves and he could not go there, so he did not. I wonder as Iceland is a volcano if there was instability in that area of the farm. My speculation matters little as generation after generation of his family never ventured to that area. The small houses we saw earlier make sense now as they are the homes for the Elves and are throughout Iceland. It is serious for the people of Iceland much like our superstitions are to us, black cats, ladders and cracks on the side walk come to mind.
We leave the cave and trek back, wide open space abounds. We are tired from our day and look forward to falling deep into sleep in our cramped quarters. Perhaps it will be better we decide as we try hope on for size.