"" Writer's Wanderings: Grundarfjordur, Iceland

Friday, September 01, 2023

Grundarfjordur, Iceland

Our first afternoon on the ship on the day of our arrival was a blur of sleepy images mixed with a couple of hours of napping after lunch and unpacking. Dinner was a wonderful meal and served by Marcin between sharing all the stories of what had happened since 2022. He had driven truck in order to bring in a paycheck and said he never thought twice about returning and thought his wife was happy to have him come back too.

The evening show was a lively mix of music, song and dancing. The best cruise show we’d seen since, well, 2022.

The morning of our first port day found us in Grundarfjordur. We dragged ourselves out of bed at 7:30 in order to be ready for our first excursion. We should have planned better and booked a later tour but who knew we would be so jet lagged. It felt like I walked in a fog through breakfast and onto the tender that took us to shore. After experiencing some of the brisk cold wind that blew however it didn’t take long to wake up. Thank goodness the day was sunny. At least it didn’t appear that we would have rain.

Our tour guide, Olga, took us on a two hour walk through her town where she grew up, married and raised her own children. The town population is approximately 900. She was full of stories of all the people in the town and the different jobs everyone did. It seems that to survive life there you have to be flexible in your employment choices.

The highlight of our tour was viewing the small town and harbor from a point part way up a hillside. Beautiful tranquil views of ocean and cozy homes and some trees and bushes that Olga was very proud of since it was not easy to grow them in the thin soil there. It was difficult to catch some of what she was saying as she would turn her head when she pointed and still keep talking. With the wind whistling in our ears and her voice projecting in the wrong direction, hearing was difficult. 

There was a small waterfall she pointed out and it was next to what she termed Arrowhead Mountain, a mountain that sat on an outcropping and was quite angular. Later we would learn that the real name was translated to Church Mountain, I guess because it resembled a church roof. The Arrowhead reference we would also learn at a lecture later in the day was what it was called in Game of Thrones, I believe the 6th in the series. That explained her mentioning Game of Thrones. The rest was caught in the wind.

A school, a church (locked but looked to be interesting), a post office, a small general store, a large fish processing building, and some talk of aluminum manufacture (again lost in the wind). We ended the tour at an art gallery of a local sculpture who looked the part of a reclusive artist but was very personable. He sculpted his rocks with an air hammer he said. It had to be a different kind of air hammer than what came to my mind. Some of the work was way too delicate. He based his ideas on the folklore of the pagan Norse gods. No souvenirs for us. The rocks would have put us over the luggage weight limit to fly home.

By the time we returned to the ship the day had turned a bit warmer though still a little breezy. We lunched at the Trident Grill and I was excited that they still had my favorite salmon sandwich and sweet potato fries. 

It was off to a nap after lunch followed by time for Bob in the gym and me in the upper deck Palm Court to enjoy the view and work on this blog. As they began to set up for the afternoon tea, I left. I knew if I stayed I would eat too many of those delicious tiny sandwiches and pastries with a cup of tea. Instead, we enjoyed a cup of coffee in the Bistro later. The Bistro is probably the only place they renovated that I don't care for so much. It used to be a bit more cozy and with a sidewalk cafe look. It has been modernized and to me, resembles a school cafeteria. But that's only me and the coffees and teas are still delicious.

Our evening entertainment consisted of visiting the old casino that has been made into a lounge. We sat for a time and worked on a jigsaw puzzle before going into the theater to enjoy a hilarious and entertaining show with Steve Stevens, a humorist and talented musician. I look forward to hearing him again one evening. 

We dropped into bed and hoped that we would have a good night of rest. It would be another early call in the morning for our tour in the next port.

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