Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a tastefully-edited version of the journal I kept during the time I spent in Iceland. You can find all the entries and more on the “Iceland Transcribed” page.
Today has been a busy one!
After checking out of the hostel, I had several hours until I could check in at Akureyri Backpackers, so I followed the walking path Glerá river, with the intention of finding the trail head to Súlur mountain.
I found it.
It’s at the top of a two mile gravel road on the edge of town. The gravel road, which started a nice two and a half miles away from the hostel.
When I got there, I decided I would go up the trail a ways, as far as I felt comfortable going, with the memory of Esja fresh in my mind. I only had half of my water bottle full, no food, unwrapped shin splints, and my very heavy pack with my broken hiking boots tied to it.
There was some kind of race today; I got passed by all kinds of people jogging up the mountain. After about a half mile or so I decided I wasn’t prepared to climb a mountain. “Be kind, especially to yourself,” I said, over and over. It didn’t entirely drown out the voice that said I was quitting, that I was a weak failure.
Thankfully, on the way back down the gravel road, I didn’t get too far before a car pulled alongside me and I heard an American voice call, “Do you want a ride into town, at least?”
It was a couple with a darling baby boy in the backseat, who shyly said hi and stared at me with huge blue eyes. The husband was from New York, and the wife was an Icelandic native, and they had moved to Akureyri about five years ago to start their family.
And, they said they perfectly understood my reservations about hitchhiking by myself, even here.
I mentioned I needed groceries and they dropped me off at the grocery store back in town.
$16 bought me: a packet of couscous, a can of carrots and peas, a loaf of bread, two apples, a packet of walnuts, some milk, and giant bag of granola. Real food!
I could kill for a simple ham and cheese sandwiches. I want protein.
After checking in at Backpackers, I was finally able to video chat with my roommates, Josh and Amanda, which honestly turned my whole day around, and I got to see my Beastie in real time! Riding on that good feeling, I went downstairs to the bar to check in my free beer voucher I had received at check-in.
I made myself cozy in a bucket seat, expecting to drink my beer and go back upstairs for a quiet night.
It took about five minutes before I joined by a woman from Toronto, and two men from Winnipeg and Philadelphia. they had all met about an hour or so ago, thanks to Toronto, who has A LOT of energy. Within another hour, our little gathering had grown by three more men, a 21-year-old Dane who had two dates that night, a young Portuguese man who was working at a farm for the summer, and a teacher from France.
Quite by accident, I remained stonily silent for most of the night while the Canadians and Philly talked (and talked and talked and talked and talked). I wanted to contribute but was thoroughly overwhelmed by all the energy, and Philly at one point tried to justify an attempted rape he witnessed, so I didn’t say anything to him if I could help it. The first jackass I met would be an American.
Gradually, we all gravitated to the concert I had seen being set up. It was enjoyable, as far as concerts go. the locals seemed really into it. I stayed for a couple of songs, and before I left, I asked Portugal if he wanted to hike Súlur in the morning with me. He said maybe, we exchanged Facebook info, and by the time I was getting ready for bed, I had gotten a definitive answer.
I have a hiking buddy for tomorrow!