Searching for the Vikings

Wednesday, August 30 - Day 29: Isafjordur, Iceland

We woke this morning and looked out the balcony to see… rocks. High rocks. Very close, high rocks. We must be in another fjord. I never thought, in my wildest imagination, that I would ever have the need to use the phrase “another fjord”. The name of the fjord is Isafjardardjup, of course.

Totally unexpectedly, a little later, we looked out our balcony to discover that the Captain was, especially slowly, and extremely carefully, nestling the ship up to a dock. We had been told previously that Isafjordur was another tender port. We watched the whole process. It was interesting and a little scary because the good old M. S. Rotterdam barely fits between two jetties that stick out at either end, so it was very tricky to get in here. It’s probably my imagination, but I think I saw the dock workers looking on as if they thought that Captain Eric was nuts for attempting this. Just for your information, its cloudy and cold.

Isafjordur is another small fishing town, but again nestled into a fjord with high rocky mountains rising up almost vertically from the edge of town, the edge of town being about five block lengths from the water. Some of the houses’ back yards are vertical. After breakfast, we walked around town for quite a while. It’s a nice little town. The main street had nice shops and places to eat. Donnie found the post office and bought some postcards and stamps. I got smart, so instead of me standing around like a dummy while she wrote out her extremely verbose postcards, I suggested we go to a coffee shop and have coffee and a pastry (and some chairs) while she wrote them. We found a cute, very old bakery and did just that.

We also went into a supermarket where we bought some Icelandic Chocolate, Yes, there is Icelandic Chocolate, no doubt made from the Cocoa beans grown on the glaciers (joke). Donnie, having heard about it from somebody, bought two small containers of something called Skyr, which is an Icelandic dairy product, sort of like yogurt. As I write this, she’s about to try it. Let’s hope that the next part isn’t about Icelandic hospitals. She had her first taste, said she likes it, and hasn’t keeled over yet.

It was grey and cloudy almost all day, but I’m not going to elaborate on the weather. The mountains rising up from the fjord are very imposing and impressive. Some, not too far away have snow on them, but not on the very top like the Rockies or the Alps, but down lower, in hollows. where it hasn’t melted yet. Today was cold. Everybody from the ship was wearing multiple layers of clothing, hats, and gloves. It makes sense, after all it is the end of August.

Just near the ship is the Isafjordur Cruise Terminal Building. The Isafjordur Cruise Terminal Building is the size of a large bathroom. It probably holds, maybe four people. Ok, I’m exaggerating. It’s more like six people. Yes, there were people standing around looking down at their devices. Yes, Donnie did go back out after we dropped off our stuff in our room, but the WIFI was too slow to be usable.

While she was out there, she stopped into a little, tiny shack right next to the terminal building. Inside was an Icelandic woman who was selling jewelry. Not your ordinary jewelry, mind you, this was jewelry made of seaweed. Donnie said that this woman claimed that the idea was her own. She took the little ball-like nodules that keep the seaweed afloat and dried them and tied them into bracelets and necklaces. She also said that as they age, they change color. I know what that is. That’s called rotting. The jewelry probably only lasts a few months, develops an interesting aroma, and then falls apart. The lady is extremely sure however, that it is highly unlikely that you will come back to Isafjordur to demand your money back.

Another update: I just tried the Skyr. I ate a whole container. Surprisingly, I liked it. It’s thick, like greek yogurt, but somehow creamier. Mine was pear flavored. Donnie had blueberry. Neither one of us is having gastrointestinal issues, yet. Skyr isn’t a brand name, by the way. There were several brands of Skyr. It’s the name of the stuff itself. I sure hope it isn’t made of fermented, rotting shark.

Captain Eric came on the PA system to describe our departure from Isafjordur, and he also mentioned that tonight we will be going through the Denmark Straits. Did you ever even hear of the Denmark Straits? I didn’t. Neither did Donnie. So, we went to the library, they have a nice one on this ship, and looked at the atlas. Sure enough, there’s a Denmark Strait. Naturally, it’s not anywhere near Denmark. Not only that, but we must have been going through the Norwegian Sea a few days ago. I never heard of that one either. We probably went through a whole bunch of named bodies of water that I never heard of. I’m nautically ignorant.

(… Day turns into Night, which turns into Day, which turns into Night, Ad Infinitum. This time Day turned into Evening, once, which I calculate as Ad One-Quarterum …)

This evening absolutely nothing of interest happened at all, which means I completely wasted that really, really good Timey thing up there. Rats!