Thursday, 1 September 2016

Morgan Runs the Reykavik Marathon, and Mum goes to Iceland

He is somewhere on the left
Miggins the Mig, to give him his Icelandic name, turns 26 on Friday 19 and runs Reykjavik Marathon on Saturday 20 August. He put out feelers on fb some while back for a support group, and got only his mother on her bucket list.

I take the train to Manchester on Wednesday evening,

have some beers in Asia House, and watch New Zealand take out three GB hockey women, and still lose! The Brits are all swollen lips and ice packs. But what's left of them is in the final. Yippee.

The flea bites attacking my shin are a good  alarms call at 4.45, then taxi to Terminal 1 for Easy Jet to Iceland.  On the plane I realise that as well as leaving my distance glasses in Leeds I have now left the readers at Mig's flat. This scuppers my plan to read on the plane.

Take the bus from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik. Only one last English breakfast teabag at the bus station; Mig has the green. We discover that my hotel (Igdlo)  is near. I leave my trolley bag and we hit the town. We knew cost of living would be expensive so hit both a cafe and en route a supermarket. Plus we book away ten hours of our life on the morrow.

Friday morning. Morgan is 26. The trip bus meets us at Igdlo at 8.15am, then it's off for three hours in Rekky Bay watching whales and taking
pics of impossibly small bits of their bodies as they disappear beneath the waves. "Now you see us", they cackle, "now you don't!"

Avoiding the battery of souvenirs Mig and I settle for the bar on the harbour and take tea. After three hours of sea legs and bracing air zipped up in space suits, this is one of these moments of perfection.

brief glimpse of whale


The next seven hours however are spent knees bent at the back of the bus forbidden to eat on board, gazing at lava land, geysers, mountains and a glacier.

We have 45 minutes at at some lakes, see the American/European fissure. Next the Gulfloss Falls. Super. A quick hop back to some geysers, the natural excitement somewhat dimmed by a thousand other tourists at every point including one with a mini-drone which buzzes over the geyser.

We arrange to meet up for a birthday meal at A N but we are both late, and both lost. Ah.  It is now called Glo.  I have to pause outside a shop or cafe to sign onto their wifi  until we find each other.  Spinach ratatouille and salad. Suberbe!

Saturday.  Marathon Day.

Walk around Rekky until I 1. Find the marathon and 2.  find a bit  of the route to watch the Mighty Mig. Very moving moment seeing him zipping past.
he is to the left of the signpost

Take a couple of rubbish shots but that memory actually wells me up every time, and makes this whole trip worth it.

Lose each other again, steal more wifi, Mig has pizza I have crepes, the shop assistant allows me out with two glass teapots after a confusing conversation about no tea bags.

Sit in the sun. Another moment.

Mig goes to sleep off Marathon, I go watch some music in the town and in Harpa, the modern arts complex by harbour.

Meet up at the Nepalese Restuarant on Laugevegur, Isn't that one of your ex-East Steel students?" asks Mig.  He is looking at Penny . I find that I am looking at Bryony. It is as they say, a small world. Not since Daisy (aged 14) and I met Mr Lawrence, her head of year in Sienna . . .
in da mirror

The wall mirrors are so clean that it is easy to mistake them for more space and more customers. One woman tried to get through the mirror. We waited till she had retreated, and sniggered at this in a mean way. 

Sunday. The sun has stopped shining. This suits my wardrobe better. We meet outside the creperie, Then I go to one of many tourist info places to ask where are the buses that transport you from x to y without the educational lecture and where you don't get crammed in with a load of people like yourself. He was unamused and had no advice.

Mig and I decide to take a walk around the Lighthouse peninsular, out of nowhere a sign saying coffees. We take a desultory cup of tea in the golf club clubhouse. On top of the 26 miles this 3 and a 1/2 hour trip is tough on old Miggin's legs, not great on mine either.

Three and a half hours later we are having a cuppa and a brio at the Harbour bar, barely able to walk.

In the evening the pizza was excellent cardboard. Sadly it was also our main meal. Walked down to the docks, saw the glorious view, mountains through the Viking boat frame statue, took a look inside Harpa, went to the Sports bar for a pint and watch a bit of footie and Olympics.

Monday take a bus 3 to Myjodd, then the 51 to Hveragerdi. Passing the lava fields, and the geysers and the mountains without the running commentary, they are now fascinating, amazing and majestic.

Hverargedi  is a little townlet in the middle of nowhere, with springs and waterfall. We paddle, do Pooh sticks, which Morgan eventually won after we threw stones after the sticks as they came to a halt at the top of the waterfall.

Back in Rekky for a quick meal, back to BSI bus station and the journey to the Blue Lagoon. This is amazing in so many ways. Three hours doing nothing much in hot wet salt. Amazing. Did have a couple of beers. Well a bar in a pool.  It would have been rude. Reminded me of Singapore, Astrid, and that summer camp place. Bin Tan.

Home for a tired beer (Mig now that is a punchy transferred epithet!) at the Sports Bar, and then the last long walk back to Igdlo.


Meet Mig and friend from hostel, Rachel in downtown Rekky, another meal in the lovely Babalou on Skolavoroustigur. Bus station and airport. I have to confirm that not being sent an online ticket is not going to scupper my chances of boarding the plane home. Morgan has to change his name from Morgan James Witt - Jaquiss to Morgan - James Witt Jaquiss. We are both successful. I find the 55 to Keflavik, and pitch up with guest house name but not address. Call in for a tea at a service station, go onto their wifi and find that I am 100 yards from guesthouse.

guesthouse in Keflavik

Now I am Alice in Total Wonderland. The landlord has emailed ahead a code and a room number with no other clues. I go up the steps to Reception but no one answers. I look at my numbers and see some numbers on another door. There's not enough numbers for my password but there's 4. I try the 4 box and it falls open. In it is a combination lock. This has enough numbers. Twist and twist. Suddenly the whole box falls open and two keys reveal themselves. And one is the main door and one is my room. Just too 'xciting.

Now I am alone in this Gingerbread house and occupy it, then walk along the gorgeous sea front, all rocks, working harbour and photogenic seabirds. Next I meet CB of CB Guesthouse, and arrange my airport drop off. I have 1,1000 kronurs left. Later I give most of that to the barmaid of the pub on the waterfront, and savour my one Gull.

[Finding out later that when my friends, George and Hilary discover I only haver enough Icelandic cash for one drink, they contemplate viring money to me somehow. Ace]


Up at 6; CB takes me to the airport. Join The queues, into Icelandair airbus 8am for Manchester. Seat 9A is window , door and legroom seat! Yippee!

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