Friday, August 18, 2017

Pictures and Video of Tundra Fest

video
I recorded 20  seconds of the first dance of Tundra Fest last night.  I am not sure what it is about because no one has explained it to me but I enjoy dancing it.  As you can see, the men are in the front kneeling, the women standing behind them and in the very back, seated on a bench are the drummers.

 This photo was taken while everyone waited for the start of the festival.  The doors opened at 6:30 so everyone could get there. Dancing was supposed to begin at 7 but it took a bit longer.

Traditionally the hosting village goes first the first night, in the middle the second night and last the third night.

The really tall poster just next to the room divider is a tribute to an elder who passed away this past spring.  He was in his late 90's or early 100's.  No one is sure.  We do know, things changed tremendously since he was born.
People are still setting up and waiting for dancing to begin.  If you look carefully at the right side of the picture, you will see blue mats laid out across the floor with masculine dance fans.

That is where the men kneel.  Behind the mats is a speaker for the microphone so everyone can hear all announcements.  In the back right corner is a snack shop with candy, soda, some food, and jello.  Jello with cool whip is a village favorite.

When Tundra Fest is not being held here, it doubles as a church, bingo hall, and everything else as needed.
 In this picture you can see the men gathering to drum for the first group.  Many of these men also come to the school to drum for the native dance class so students know the dances.

The village feels it is extremely important to keep the culture alive by teaching cultural ways to students.  The high school has an actual dance class for students.

The drum is a round wooden frame with a man-made material stretched over it.  This material has replaced the animal skins they used in the past.

This is a still shot of the first dance.  The women are wearing kuspuks which is the standard native top.  Some have skirts so they are worn more like dresses over long pants while those without a skirt function as a shirt.  Both men and women wear the kuspuk.  The spelling of the word varies according to the group.

You can also tell what region a person is from based on how the kuspuk is put together and decorated.  Women may or may not wear a headdress.  Sometimes the headdress is a family heirloom worn by generation after generation.

The last photo is taken of the crowd between the first and second dance groups.  It was pretty well attended but there are usually more people the second night.

This building started much smaller but a few years ago, they built an extension so it could be used instead of the the building next to it.  The original building developed black mold all through it so they chose to discontinue using it.

The festival will continue for two more days with games for kids and adults.  Yesterday, there was a cake walk for the village. 
I hope you enjoy this peak into a fall celebration held in Alaska.  Let me know what you think.  Have a great weekend. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tundra Fest

Beaded, Moccasins, Regalia, Native  Tonight marks the beginning of a wonderful dance festival, held here in the village every fall.  Several villages come for three days of games and dance.

Native dance in Alaska varies some from village to village but it uses only a drum and the human voice.  Some songs have been around a while while others are quite new.

Unfortunately, music and dance was banned because it was not seen as properly religious.  In many communities, the songs and dances went underground while in others they disappeared.

Most dancers in this area use hand fans as part of the cultural dance.  I will have pictures tomorrow of the fans.  The women use fans made of woven grass and fur while the men have ones made of wood and feathers.  If a person does not have fans, they usually wear gloves.  In most of the communities I've lived in, the men kneel in the front while the women stand in one or more rows behind them.

On the island of Diomede, women sit in a row of chairs as they dance, rather than standing but the position of the musicians varies even more.  In my area, the musicians sit facing the dancers with their backs to the audience.  In other places such as Diomede, musicians are behind the dancers.

Most songs have a story such as going out to pick berries, make agutaq (local ice cream) and eat it.  Other songs might celebrate basketball, karate, hunting, fishing, chewing bubble gum or taking care of a baby.  I  know a guy who when he dances the taking care of the baby song, he is so energetic he would give the baby whiplash in real life.

One song, I thought was about taking care of a baby but it turned out to be about cutting and carrying meat.  I just follow others when dancing and I do not worry about the meaning.  Most songs have a certain pattern they follow, much like any song with the chorus and various verses except the verses are often repeated within the overall pattern.

I hope to record a little bit of video tonight of the dancing and share it with everyone tomorrow.  I hope you have a good evening and see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Skyr

Raspberries, Yogurt, Nature, Frisch  When I was in Iceland, I discovered something called Skyr.  I'm not sure if its actually a soft cheese or a thick yogurt.  What I do know is that it is thick and really good.

According to what I've read it is a cheese but it looks like yogurt.  I think one reason some say its similar to yogurt is that you can use a bit of the previous batch to make a new batch before being strained just like yogurt cheese.

According to an article in the Iceland Magazine, Skyr has been around since the 9th century.  In the past its been eaten as breakfast after being sweetened with cream and brown sugar but now its used in items such as Creme Brulee.

I've seen an assortment of recipes from using rennet to make it solid to using a bit of the previous batch to setting a bowl of milk out in the air and letting wild bacteria settle in to start it.  The original Skyr does not taste like the modern version.  It should be tangy not super sweet.

If you are interested in making it and you already have Skyr with live probiotics, you need to heat a liter of skim milk in a non stick pan to about 200 degrees F and keep it there for about 10 minutes.  The 10 minutes is extremely important and be sure to stir it so the liquid does not burn or scorch.  Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the pan from heat and cool to 102 degrees F.  Whisk in 1 tablespoon of Skyr into the liquid.

Cover with a towel for 12 to 15 hours until until it thickens like Greek Yogurt and the whey separates  from the curds.  At this point, you can stir the two together to make it a thinner texture or drain it for something thicker.

If you do not have any Skyr, you could heat the milk just like above, let it cool completely before placing outside until the wild bacteria inoculated it and it thickened.  Once you've gotten your first batch, you have enough to start additional batches.  The Skyr from wild bacteria has a tarter flavor.

I plan to try making some later this week from scratch.  I'll let you know how it works out.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back Home

Holiday House, Summer House, Home  I arrived home Sunday evening after traveling for 20 hours on planes and more hours waiting between flights.  I was so tired both Sunday night and last night I was in bed way early due to the 11 hour time difference.

It was interesting because in Finland, I was selected for a more in-depth screening.  I was short on time but I was assured the plane would not leave without me.

I tried a new mobile passport app and it was great.  A lady I know, recommended it for traveling because it cut down on the time through customs.  I downloaded it, filled it out, and as soon as I landed in Washington D.C., I used the internet to send the information out and shortly there after, I had a QR code which allowed me to cut through and saved quite a bit of time.

I ended up having to check in a couple times due to the time between flights or a last flight in the leg was past the 24 hour period.  I discovered smoking rooms inside airports, one with a door, one without.  My body still hasn't figured out what time zone its in.

Yesterday, I had to go to work and spent the whole day catching up and my internet should be up at home in the next few days so until then, I have to write these at work in between things.  By the time I got home last night, I was so tired, I couldn't do anything.  I barely made it to 8:45 before crashing.  I slept all the way to 6:45 without waking.

Its good to finally be home again so I can sleep in my own bed, have my own schedule, and do what I want.  I enjoyed my visits to other places this summer but after a while, it gets a bit tiring.  I hit a point where my body didn't know what time zone it was in and my sleep schedule got so messed up, I couldn't sleep when I should.

Tomorrow, I want to share a food I had in Iceland that I fell in love with.  It can be made at home and there is some discussion on what it is.

I hope you all had a great day, see you tomorrow.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Helsinki, Finland - Changing Hotels.

 I couldn't resist taking a picture of this coffee shop. I have so many coworkers for whom this name describes them perfectly.

It was in downtown Helsinki, just next to a Japanese Sushi restaurant.  At this point it wasn't actually raining.  It began raining a few stores later.

I can state this does not describe me but if you replaced coffee with tea, that would describe me.

On Wednesday, I changed hotels so I'd be closer to the conference.  It was a beautiful walk.  As soon as I hit the main road, I turned towards a lake opposite a huge green area.

I"m heading by the Olympic stadium complete with parking lot.  At this point, I discovered the map wasn't the most accurate one.  This was google maps but after a lot of rechecking the map, I finally got to my first turn.

As I was walking towards the first turn, I spotted an amusement attraction on the hill in the distance.

Linnanmaki is a very popular amusement park up on a hill, next to the aquarium.  Due to a wrong turn, I ended up going right by Linnanmaki and the Helsinki aquarium.

I'm sorry the photo is kind of blurry but the sun was in such a place, I couldn't see the screen.  It was the Ferris wheel that caught my  attention.

As I walked by the amusement park, the steam of people heading in was constant.  In the background, screams of enjoyment expanded from the park. 
Flower bed in a park.
About the time I passed the amusement park and aquarium, I realized I was off course, so I headed for the closest street corners.

Unlike the states, the street names are on plaques on the side of a building.  I made a wrong turn, so I turned right to get me back on course. 

As I got closer to the new hotel, there was more traffic, more construction, and more road work . 



Along the way, I passed by multiple rose bushes filled with both blossoms and rose hips.  Rose hips are fantastic.

When I can, I pick a bunch and either make syrup, jam, or jelly out of them, or I dry them for use in the winter.

Rose hips are filled with vitamin C which is important to have. I make a great tea out of the dried fruit so I can get enough vitamin C. 

Its a very popular item to pick in Alaska.

I knew a woman years ago who was moving to Denmark.  She complained about the shower being in the middle of the floor and having only a drain.  Her comments make more sense now.

I noticed in the hotels I've stayed in, the showers are quite different than in the states.  They have glass doors but there is not weird lip to step over. 

Its quite nice to walk in.  The drain is to keep the water from ending up all over the floor.

Another big difference is the way the beds are made.  There is a thin mattress on top of the base mattress. The thin mattress is covered with a white sheet and on top is a comforter the size of the mattress.

It appears they change the cover whenever they prepare the room for a new tenant.  It is so different than what I'm used to but I rather like it.

I think they set it up this way so they don't have as much laundry to do because they are not changing "sheets" ever day unless the room has been vacated.  Very different.

Let me know what you think.  I hope you enjoyed seeing Iceland and Finland with me.  I'll be back in Alaska come Monday, so I'll be back to normal topics.  Have a nice weekend.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Helsinki Finland

Helsinki Airport at 5:15 AM
 I arrived in Helsinki, Finland at about 4:30 on August 7, 2017, about 6 hours later than scheduled.

The plane left Rekyjavik at about 4 in the afternoon but not long after we took off, we had to return to the airport due to a mechanical issue.

As soon as we hit the ground, we were issued a voucher for dinner while we waited to find out if we were going to leave or have to spend the night.
Helsinki Airport around 5:30 AM.


We hear around 7 PM, we were due to leave at 10 PM because they found an airplane but they had to wait till it came in from elsewhere in Europe.

So around 10 PM, we loaded up and took off.  Unfortunately, this landed me at the airport at 4:30 in the morning when nothing is open.  No information, no currency exchange.  Nothing.

I was lucky in that someone sent me information on where to pick up the airport bus and it accepted credit cards.  I made it to the hotel around 6:30, got up to the room, popped down to enjoy breakfast before crashing in bed.  
Sculpture near a shopping center in downtown.
 I think I slept for 5 hours straight.  I wanted to stay in bed but knew I needed to get up and move around or I'd be awake all night.

I took off.  I didn't get a chance to ask the front desk for directions but they were extremely busy, so I took off to explore.  As I walked along, I passed Finlandia Hall, a multipurpose venue.  It was really majestic.

I passed a few other tourist attractions but by this time it was beginning to rain and I was heading off to find some place indoors so I'd stay dry. 

I ducked into a shopping center with a nice little cafe, a bank, a pop radio station, a eye glasses with eye doctor shop, and several other places.  I sat down for a while, just waiting for the rain to stop.

Seal sculpture in shopping center.
After leaving the shopping center I stumbled across a supermarket and the post office.  I popped into the supermarket to pick up some fruit, bread, cheese, yogurt, and chocolate so I'd have snacks  available to eat later on.  The building also had a Starbucks but I did not go into that.

Since I've never shopped in Finland before, I didn't realize I was supposed to weigh the fruit and get a sticker on it before I checked out.  The clerk was very understanding when she discovered I was a visitor.  She popped out, took care of it but next time, I know what to do.

After leaving the grocery store, I found the central train station in the center of Helsinki.  It appears most buses, trams, and trains all swing through the area allowing people to make connections.

Just past the Central Railroad

 As I continued to stroll around town, it began to sprinkle.  A soft drizzle doesn't bother me but it wasn't long before it rained harder and harder. 

Eventually, I found an overhang to hide under before I became sopping wet.  I stopped at wet but not quite dripping.

As soon as I got back to the room, I hit the showers and took a nice hot, hot, hot shower so I wouldn't get sick.



If you look carefully, you'll see the wet streets. This was between showers.  I think its the central railroad building.

The next day, I moved hotels.  I could have taken a bus, or taxi but I decided to walk to the new hotel.  I'm here to participate in a conference so I moved into the conference hotel.

It was only 2 miles between hotels but the map didn't show all the hills and flat areas, and the map was not totally clear so I missed a turn and went further than I should have.

Tomorrow, I"ll share pictures of the trip between hotels.  Come Saturday, I will fly home to Alaska.  I'll share more pictures of the trip home, next week.  Have a good evening.





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waterfalls, Legends, and Elves

 The third part of the circle tour had us stopping at the Gullfoss falls, we had a great view of the second largest glacier in Iceland. 

It is quite impressive, the way it spreads across the horizon.  A white mass gently caressing the hills in the back ground. 

The first Icelandic environmentalist is intimately associated with Gullfoss falls.  In the early 20th century, an English company wanted to lease the land and the falls so they could produce electricity from a farmer.
The daughter, Sigridur, opposed the move so she made her way to Reykjavik at a time with no roads or bridges to protest the contract.

She was unable to get help so she returned home.  Fortunately, the English company fell behind in lease payments and her father voided the contract.

For her courageous move, Iceland considers her the countries first environmentalist.

Gullfoss is actually composed of two different waterfalls falling from one to another.
The falls are so impressive as they tumble down from left to right, then change direction going from right to left before plunging down into a channel carved out of rock.

On a bright sunny day, it is possible to see a rainbow in the mist of water drops thrown up from the force of the plunging waters.

The government owns the falls so they've set up two viewing stands, one on the upper  level and one on the lower level.

I took pictures from both levels.  The water as it rushes over the rocks, almost appears alive as you stand there watching.

Our tour guide shared a wonderful story with us.  A warrior fell in love with a woman whose previous two husbands died after slapping her.  His friends warned him about her but he ignored their advice and married her anyway.

She was not a great wife.  She wasn't taking proper care of things so part way through the winter, they started running out of food.  Rather than admit things, she stole from others and served it to her husband.  When he found out he was serving food to his neighbors that was originally theirs, he got upset and slapped her face.  She vowed revenge.
Several years later, people tried to take over his land.  He was doing well repulsing the invaders when the string on his bow broke.

He begged her for a strand of hair to use on his bow, she refused.  She said she'd told him she'd get revenge and this was when she chose to do it.

He was unable to defend himself and was killed.  The story ends here.  The tour guide stated many people believe the legends as true.

This picture to the right and the above are a different waterfall.  They stopped here because of the Salmon ladder to the left of the falls. 

The Salmon ladder aka fish ladder is built to help salmon move up steam past water falls, dams, and other natural obstructions which could interfere with salmon migration.

According to the tour guide, people in Iceland were so poor before World War II, they lived in caves because they could not afford a house.  Imagine living your whole life in caves.

At one point on the tour, we passed an area filled with caves.  This is when she shared the story.  Later on the trip, she explained why sheep wandered the countryside free.  Every spring, the sheep are let loose to fatten up and they are gathered up in the fall where they are run through sorting shoots.  Sheep are branded so its easy to tell who owns each sheep.
Whenever we made a stop, I always looked for plants I knew so at the second waterfall, I spotted this small wild strawberry plant with strawberry. 

I showed her the plant and she took a picture of it because wild strawberries are not that common.  Wild blueberries are more easily found.

I did not pick the strawberry because it was not quite ripe and I preferred to leave it for the animals to enjoy.  This was off to the side of the path, near the viewing stand.

Originally, thirty percent of the country was forested but many of the trees were cut down by early settlers to provide heat and grazing area for their livestock.  Today, only 1.5 % of the forested areas are left.


This fact is important because in 1911, a citizen left 45 hectares of forest to the Icelandic Youth Association. 

They have maintained it to the point it is considered one of the most beautiful preserves around today.  

One last story shared with the tour group is so interesting.  It is about the origin of elves based on Icelandic folk lore.

Adam and Eve had lots of children.  One day, Eve received word God planned to come visit.  She tried to get all her children cleaned up but she didn't have enough time so she hid the children she'd not gotten ready for God's visit.  God arrived.  He looked at all her children before asking if they were all out.  She said "Yes." but God knew she lied so he said "The children who are hidden will remain hidden forever"  Those hidden children are Elves.

By the time you read this, I'll be in Finland for a conference.  I hope to share pictures of my visit to Helsinki.  Let me know what you think.  Enjoy.









Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Geysers

As we traveled from the National Park to our next stop, we saw these marshmallow like things all over the place in pink, green, and white.

In Iceland, when they harvest hay, they place it in these plastic bags to dry.  The weight decreases by about one-third before being gathered for winter.

The pink ones represent the pink ribbons and money earned from the sale of these is donated to the Cancer society for research.  I found that so cool.
 As we approached the parking area for viewing Geysirs,  I saw wonderful plumes rising off so as to be seen easily in the distance.

This is where the most famous Geysirs are found although you can see plumes all over the island.  Iceland has harnessed its geothermal energy and is able to provide all of its own power. 

Furthermore, much of the power is used to heat greenhouses to grow fruits and vegetables.  There is one set of  greenhouses where they raise tomatoes.  This company has set a restaurant in one green house and has tomato based dishes including tomato ice cream.  Apparently the Kardashians visited there, placed their reviews on social media and now its become famous.  

This Litli Geysir is a small geysir that has not begun spurting in the air.  It sits there bubbling much like a boiling pot.

This is the first one people come across as they enter the area.  There are four of them, spread out all across the area. 

All the gyesirs have labels so you know which one is which.  There are small streams of water streaming down the hill with signs posted warning visitors the water is between 80 and 100 C.

 This is a quick picture of the oldest recorded Geysir.  It only erupts when there is volcanic activity so right now it is rather quiet but if one of the volcanoes erupts as expected, it will become active again.

Geysir is its name and from all the historical records, it has been around since 1294 when it appeared after an erruption.  In fact, it appears to be the oldest Geysir still active.

It quietly bubbles as hot steam flows off it.  Visitors can get quite close to it.  Some of the Geysirs have coins thrown in them even though there are signs posted telling people not to do that.

This is a wonderful picture of Strokkur, the active geysir.  The word Geysir originates from the Icelandic verb meaning to erupt.  This erupts every few minutes, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. 

Its top height is around 20 meters.  As you can see it shoots up beautifully. As it comes down, the wind blows some of the drops towards the left of the photo and people get wet. 

I stood there several minutes waiting for it to erupt.  A couple times, it erupted but it was more like a burp than a real gusher. 

So impressive.
Here is a second shot from a different view so you can see how it looks.  When every it erupted, people made comment.  What you don't see behind me is the hotel, restaurant, gas station, and filled parking lot.

People have the right of way to cross so traffic stops cold.  Once people begin crossing it can be one or two minutes before traffic starts again.

An of course, the final geysir found up at the very top of the group.  As it bubbled I thought of the line from Shakespeare "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble."

A sulfur smell permeates the area from the geysers.  The smell is not obnoxious but quite noticeable. 

Since hot water is prevalent through out Iceland, most communities have a hot tub for everyone to relax in at the end of the day.  People discuss their days.  The tour guide said its a great way to learn Icelandic if you move there.  In addition, we passed on town with no cemeteries at all because hot water is just below the surface.

More information tomorrow.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Have a great day.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Thingveller National Park in Iceland.

 Saturday, I went on a wonderful daylong tour of three major sites here in Iceland.  At the end of the day, our guide remarked Monday is their Labor Day, so everyone is heading off for the weekend.

We had a great trip on the bus out to Thingveller National Park.  This park is important for three different reasons.  The picture to the left is one of the churches I saw on the way. 

There are churches here and there.  We saw one church that was built so a man could bury his wife on their land because a body cannot be buried anywhere other than on church property. So a man and his brother built a church I hope to provide a picture tomorrow.
 Every seat on the bus had a tablet with the route shown on a Google Map.  Each point represents an important point on the trip.  As the GPS indicated we were at the site, the tablet displayed the appropriate information.

In addition, Freya, our guide would provide commentary on certain points to fully covered by the tablet.  The huge lake you see is where we stopped for a visit in Thingveller National Park.

The bus parked at the top, by the visitors center to drop us off.  The guide warned us that if we wanted to use the facilities here, we'd pay 200 Kr.  she also told us it was the only place that charged for use.

At the top, one found multiple maps showing the whole area.  I liked this map but to the left, one could look at a 3 dimensional map.

The white area on the map represents the second largest glacier. As this water melts, the water seeps down through the volcanic rock before traveling for 20 or 30 years until it reaches the lake. 
From the visitors center we strolled down the board walk  between two sets of rock.  This Park is where two plates are moving away from each other at about 2 cm per year.  One plate is referred to as the American plate while the other is the European plate according to the guide.

At one point, one of the walls of this fissure fell down and had to be dug out so people could continue this walk.  There is even a small sign to the side showing where it happened along with all the details.

The way the tour is set up, no one has to climb up the walkway.  The bus met us at the bottom on the other side past the waterfall.


This church and houses form the summer place belonging to  Iceland's President however it is only used for social events with visiting dignitaries.  It is at the bottom of the valley surrounded by water and easy to walk to.

No one was there when we went through so lots of visitors followed the walkways across the valley.  I didn't have time to wander over so I got close enough to snap these pictures.

Now for the second reason this National Park is important. 

Back in 930, a governing assembly began meeting and continued meeting till the mid 18th century.  This assembly meet for two weeks every year.  Representatives made their way to this location so they could discuss and create laws.  It was the first known assembly every.

When the assembly gathered, people showed up, built temporary buildings known as booths.  The flag to the left marks where they believe the "Law Rock" existed.

Side note here: Icelandic is a language closest to what the Vikings spoke.  Even now, students can read historical documents  with little difficulty.  In fact, anytime words develop such as computer, Iceland creates a new word for it.  The word for computer means "Number Witch".

So back to here.  This is where it was decided Christianity could be an accepted religion as long as Pagans were allowed to continue their beliefs back in 1000AD.  Iceland is the only country in Europe where Christianity came in without any blood shed.
Late on when the Lutherans took over as the primary Christian faith from the Catholics, things were not as nice. The third thing the park is known for has to do with change.

If a woman broke certain laws such as committing adultery, she'd be condemned to death by drowning.  They'd put rocks on her body before throwing her in the "Drowning Pool" till she died. 

If a man was convicted of the same offenses, he'd be beheaded.  This continued to the Witch Trials.

The area is so beautiful and tranquil.  In fact this area is part of a river, the only river in Iceland, that flows directly into a lake.

Water tumbles over the rocks down to the lake.  It flows between the rocks before curving to the right, plunging under the walkway before joining the river.

The drowning pool is the quiet part to the front left portion of the picture.  The clear beautiful water looks so serene that one would never know women had been drowned all those years ago.

Tomorrow, I'll share more pictures I took of the Golden Circle Trip.  At one point on the trip, they put in a short visit to a farm for ice cream.  Within the past four years, the owners remodeled the building, redid everything and are known for their wonderful ice cream.  It was so smooth and delicious.  I suspect the ice cream has a higher percent of butter fat than that you find in America.

The tour guide said last week, the Icelandic Prime Minister stopped for ice cream at the same time her group visited.  Apparently, people will even drive to this place in the middle of winter to enjoy the treat.  There is an Icelandic word that means going to get an ice cream. 

So more tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Unfortunately, the pictures I took do not do justice to the beauty in real life of the area.  I already know, I want to come back to visit Iceland sometime.  I need more time.  See you tomorrow.



















Friday, August 4, 2017

Day 2 In Iceland

 Today, I feel much better although I did end up taking a 2 hour nap.  Part of it is that I'm still a bit sleep deprived but the other part is we spent 2.5 hours wandering around a local shopping mall. 

I am staying at the Capital Inn which is a guest house and not a regular hotel.  In this case it is sort of like a hostel but it serves breakfast if you want to pay a bit more. 

Check in is on the landing off some stairs heading to the basement which has small lockable dormitory style rooms with a shared bathroom, social area, and kitchen. 

The rest of the building has apartment like rooms with a private bathroom or shared.  I chose to go with the shared bathroom so I have a bedroom with lockable door in a apartment with a total of four bedrooms and a kitchen.

The floors are wooden and the room has tons of plugs but they are not the usual plugs. They are round and strange but I have an adapter which allows me to charge all my gear.

I did not know when I booked my room, it came with a shared kitchen.  In the picture above, my room is on the bottom floor to the right with the shades drawn. 

Its not a huge bedroom but it has a large bed and desk.  There appears to be a television in the room but I'm not sure its hooked up to a signal because I've not been able find any thing on it.

The kitchen has everything a person needs to fix a quick meal including a hot water heater.  I love that because I adore having a hot cup of tea regularly.  Since I'm going on a tour tomorrow of the National Park and other sites, I wanted to hit the grocery store for a few things like fruit, yogurt, and cheese. 

The front desk gave me directions to the local shopping center complete with a decent sized grocery store.  The shopping center was about 15 minutes away by following a walking path.

I took the picture to the right as I headed for the mall.  I'm a few minutes away from the guest house, facing away to catch all the housing on the hill. 

I have never seen anything over 10 or 12 floors since arriving here.  The roadway is one of the major highways heading out towards the airport.  I had a great walk over but it rained while I was in the mall.


I am further along the path, closer to the  mall.  The yellow bus is one of the many providing public transport.

I spent part of the walk identifying familiar plants such as Dandelions, Yarrow, Clover, Timothy grass, something similar to Sour Dock, Roses, and a few I didn't know the name of but recognized.

The owner of this place has some sort of Josta or Current he covered so the birds could not eat all the fruit.  He wanted it for preserves.

The mall turned out to be a three story affair with a theater way up on the 3rd Floor.  The Dunkirk movie had opened there but it was not open quite that early in the morning.

There was some sort of sidewalk sale going on with lots of clothing marked down but I didn't buy anything because I didn't need it.

I found a nice bookstore where I bought a book on the geology of Iceland and a magnet with a wonderful shot of the Aurora over a small house.

Several shops were not one thing or the other but kind of mixed.  I went through several stores and found a few things I wanted but could not justify their purchase because they were extremely heavy such as a Marble pestle and mortar set or a cast iron Japanese tea kettle. 

 This is a place I stopped to pick up a meal for later in the day.  It advertised itself as having Indian street food.  I'm not sure spiced sweet potatoes are considered Indian street food but I got some anyway.

The nice thing about the restaurant?  It had a menu in both Icelandic and English so I could figure out what I wanted.  In addition, they had symbols to let people know if things were Vegan, Vegetarian, or heavy in dairy.

I purchased a Naan roll-up filled with vegetables and chick peas.  It resembled a burrito but smelled quite good.
My final picture is of the garden just next to the Inn.  It has tons of lettuce and it looked quite good. 

The temperatures in Iceland do not get super hot, nor do they get below -20 C.  It has something to do with the location of Iceland in regard to everything so it stays fairly mild all year round.

I hope you enjoyed this short view of my hotel and trip to the mall. Tomorrow, when I get back to the hotel, I'll down load pictures and share several from the tour.

Sunday afternoon, I head off to Helsinki, Finland where I'll be till the 12th.  I hope to take pictures every day to share with everyone.  I want to come back and visit Iceland sometime in the future so I can see more of the country.

Have a good day everyone.