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Perlam, etc.

It’s Sunday morning and Reykjavik is overcast but still relatively warm — about 14 degrees. After emails and web posting from the hotel lobby we’re going to spend some time in the museums and galleries of Iceland’s capital today, before starting the big Landmannalaugur to Thorsmork hike tomorrow.

We made our way on the number 14 bus to Laugardalslaug, the city’s largest swim complex, yesterday afternoon. I think we both expected something grander, sleeker and more modern; swimming is, after all, Iceland’s favorite social and exercise activity and Laugardalslaug is the epitome of the civic centre facilities as far as the country goes, but what was lacking in sleek modernity was explained by the rock bottom entrance fee and the hundreds of citizens in the place, some doing serious laps inthe pool but many more simply soaking and chatting in one of the casual pools. We enjoyed both, as well as trying three of the four “hot pots”, with temperatures of 38, 40 and 42 degrees marked. Very relaxing.

Back downtown, we dumped our daypacks at the hotel and walked back out in search of dinner. We eventually found a nice tapas place (though its location in the LP guide book map was inaccurate) and stuffed ourselves with seafood, wine and souvlaki skewers. Finally we returned to the hotel, lowering the heavy blinds against the bright sunlight outside, and slept very well through to 8 this morning.

I expect I’ll get one more post in tomorrow morning and then we’ll be off the grid until next weekend. We’re having a great time so far, but my sense is that we won’t really get a sense of the country until we’re halfway through an all-day hike in the lava-strewn hills.

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