By this point we can't even remember what day of the week it is. Iceland feels so detached from home, from "the real world". It took a while to deduce that yes, it is in fact Tuesday.
We got to be on a more flexible schedule today. After breakfast, we left our hotel for a glacier lagoon that was about two hours away. The sun somehow felt like it was still rising, which cast beautiful light on the bright blue ice sculptures suspended in the water and provided a beautiful, soft morning light over the mountains in the background. The gulls were flying about , perching on the edge of the sheets of ice that floated on top of the lagoon. A seal kept poking his head out of the water, teasing us and dodging back beneath the surface before our cameras could turn on.
Next we met with a tour group to go on an ice cave adventure! It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. The ice looked like waves mixed with bubble wrap, an odd but consistent repetition of soft pyramids coming in from all directions. The shapes were formed mostly by aid of the wind, but still I couldn't believe that such unique shapes and textures occurred in nature. We only had 45 minutes to take all of our pictures. First, there was a big open cave where following the path led to a brief glimpse of the outside world before diving back into the giant mouth of blue ice.
If you continued back even further, through the darker and narrower part of the tunnel and were able to crouch and crawl for about a hundred feet, you were able to see another section of the cave that was darker. It had less light, mostly just what was able to shine through the thick layer of ice over our heads, and with less wind the texture of the ice surface was completely different. Only myself and my daring friend were willing to embark further, down a pitch black drop off and into the farthest depths of the caves. Here was darker, a path illuminated by a suspiciously beautiful trail of light coming from above. This final corridor is what you see in the picture below.
After being fetched by our tourguide, who thought we had gotten lost or fallen I suppose, we had to find our way through a snow storm back to our hotel. It took two and a half hours to drive what normally was an hour and a half and we almost got blown off the road multiple times! Imagine looking at a giant piece of white paper and being told to find the red dot. There is no red dot, is there? I'm surprised we were able to stay on that narrow road for over two hours without accident.
For dinner, our hosts at the quaint hotel cooked us a full three course meal. Our appetizers consisted of slightly toasted pieces of bread with a sweet Icelandic summer mustard on top and either raw salmon or smoked mackrey (not perfectly sure how it's spelled). Entree consisted of the best lamb I've ever eaten with the best gravy I've ever eaten, sweetened potatoes, corn, a small side salad, and some sort of vegetable patty topped with pineapple (which had a lovely flavor palette despite how boring it may sound). Dessert was an apple pie with strawberries and whipped cream. Pie in Iceland is more like a pie cake mixture, so apple pie was like apple cobbler on top of cake. It was a perfect meal, truly.
Oh, and fermented shark for the daring. Quick lesson: fermented shark is an old time thing in Iceland. Only about half of Icelanders even really eat it anymore. The shark that is used actually has poisonous oils/secretions, so by allowing it to ferment it is no longer toxic. But I promise that it still smells really, really terrible.
Tomorrow will be a glacier walk, so more beautiful blue ice! :)