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Niceland: your queries answered

So the last post generated still more questions in the comments box, which I’ll endeavour to answer, even though as most of you will have surmised by now this blog isn’t really about Iceland, nor the weather, but rather a completely self-serving exercise allowing YT to empty the contents of her brain into this endless dumpster called Cyberspace every couple of days.

Be that as it may, I don’t mind answering queries from people who are nice about it and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and especially ‘can I get you any duty free booze’ … nor from people who are faithful readers, nor from any of my friends. In fact, I usually don’t mind answering questions at all, unless the person asking seems to assume that I have been put on this earth solely for the purpose of catering to their touristic needs, to wit: I’m coming to Iceland next week, what will the weather be like from Tuesday to Saturday? Thanks. [signed] Sowanso. Or: Hi, I’ve got a few questions for you. 1. Where should we go to see glaciers … [etc.]

[/rant]

Anyway, Karen and JT presented me with questions in the comments yesterday and as they’re nice people and faithful readers and fulfil all related YT criteria, here are their questions addressed.

Karen:

We’re planning on visiting in the later half of next May. Anything special going on in that time period?

Not that I know of, yet – check the listings closer to the time, e.g. here or here.

As for Viking stuff … hm. I’d suggest checking out the National Museum and also the Reykjavík museum plus minus 876 or whatever it’s called [the craziest name ever for a museum – how can anybody ever remember it?]. I’m not sure which Viking Village you mean, although I vaguely recall hearing something about one … I know there’s a restaurant in Hafnarfjörður that gives you the ‘real Viking experience’ – serve your food in troughs and whathaveyou. I’ve been there once, for a wrap party with some American film crew, when AAH was performing in a Showtime commercial. It was pretty cool – probably worth checking out if you’re into Viking stuff.

JT:

Northern lights – the tour companies “try different places” to see the lights. That sounds like codswallop to me – surely anywhere dark will do. Could you suggest a specific place to go, ie close to Reykjavik, and a paved road which is not too busy at night?

Actually, I don’t think it’s codswallop [what a great word! and so apt] – the Northern Lights appear as streams of light that are constantly moving and shifting, and they don’t appear everywhere. BUT – I’m not an expert so I really don’t know. There are tours that take you out and I think they offer some kind of guarantee, like another tour if you don’t have a sighting, but like I said, I honestly don’t know. The Northern Lights are completely hit and miss, unfortunately – even for us, they always take me a bit by surprise when they appear. They really are exquisitely beautiful – but alas, they can’t be counted on to appear. The conditions have to be just right – cold [below freezing] and clear.

However, if you wanted to try to see them on your own, your best bet is to drive a bit out of the city. I think taking the road to Þingvellir would be a good idea – about a 20 minute drive, up into Mosfellsdalur valley. You’d have to ask someone at your hotel how to get there.

If I rent a normal (not 4×4) car, can I do the golden circle and a few other places in mid Nov reasonably safely?

If the weather is OK and there is no ice on the roads, then yes. You should note that roads outside the capital ice up a lot faster than in Reykjavík. You can check the conditions of the roads here before you set out. Or ask someone at your hotel.

Do restaurants and cafes get sniffy about babies?

The posh ones might, but as a rule, no. Iceland is an extremely child-friendly country and you’ll find baby seats in just about every café and restaurant.

Can I get you some duty free booze?

Thanks but we stocked up pretty well on our trip last month. Very sweet of you to ask, though!

Rozanne:

What’s leaf bread?

Leaf bread is wafer-thin bread that is deep fried and eaten with smoked lamb. The traditional thing is to decorate them with designs – today families often get together to do this and make an event of it. See pic here.

OKAY THEN! THIS POST HAS GONE ON A BIT LONG
So here is a brief account of the weather – mild, calm, no precipitation. Temps 9°C [48F], sunrise was at 8:29 am and sunset due for 5:55 pm.

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