My parents visit Iceland

OK, this was absolutely ages ago, but still. It is quite probable that some of you have not seen my parents or their photos in the interim between their visit and the present day. Actually, I know some of you haven't even met my parents, so yeah. This is worth posting then, even though it was too long ago for me to write about it in a very entertaining way. There's a moral in that.

First we spent a day in Reykjavík, and I showed them all the things (Hallgrímskirkja, Kolaportið, Tjörnin, etc, etc) and walked them round most of 101. From January up until then was the longest I've gone in my life without seeing my parents, I just realised. Hmmm. Unlike when my brother was here, the weather was fantastic. We got ice-creams and everything, as I recall. 

The next day we went to the Vestmannaeyjar (or the Westman Islands, as you may have seen written). Although we actually only went to one of the islands, the biggest one: Heimaey (Home Island). It is surprisingly populous, with over 4000 people. It was a 20 minute flight in a tiny, tiny plane from Reykjavík, which was fun, and then we were there overnight. We spent most of our time there walking around and questing for puffins. My friend has since told me that there's a brilliant trampoline/slide thing at the swimming pool, so I'm annoyed we didn't go, but never mind. The island is really beautiful, and there were lots of great birds (mostly redshanks) and some boring ones (fulmars = whatever). Another thing about it is that about a third of the island wasn't there until 1973 (volcano), which is quite interesting. They are in the process of excavating some of the houses which were buried by the lava. You can go and see them and there is a sign which says, "Pompeii of the North". Sorry, Vestmannaeyjar, but it is bollocks compared to the Pompeii of the South. I think you're setting people up for disappointment with that moniker.

My parents walking up the volcano. Gravelly.
View of the town from the volcano.
Back down by the coast.
Flowers and sunshine! At this point it is still July, remember.
It was really steep to get up here.

Then we flew back to Reykjavík and picked up a hire car, and began our drive round the south coast and up to Egilsstaðir. On the way we stayed at various places and I don't remember all their names. I should be a journalist or something, right? On one day we were forced to take the mountain pass, because a bridge near Vík had been destroyed by the river Múlakvísl, and we came down towards Kirkjubæjarklaustur through Landmannalaugar, which is stunning. I didn't take pictures, although my mother did. You should ask her if you can see them. We forded a lot of little rivers in our hire car, which was pretty fun.

One place we did stop, but didn't stay overnight, is Djúpivogur, which I liked very much. I found my new favourite bird: the red-necked phalarope, or óðinshani. Those things are better than puffins.

Photo from Wikipedia - my bird photography skills are not up to this standard. What you don't see in this picture is that red-necked phalaropes are about the size of a sparrow. Also, that white bit above their eye makes them look permanently sort of disdainful / a bit angry.
Just by Djúpivogur. We went for a walk.

When we got round into the East Fjords proper, we mostly did all the things that I did with Ahmad and Stacey the last time I was there. I took them to see the place with all the puffins, and the weather was much better than the last time. I also took them to the pool in Egilsstaðir, and the weather was much worse. So it pays to visit places twice, I think.

The good news is that I managed to eat two new animals: puffin and reindeer. The puffin was very heavily smoked - it could have been anything, really. I prefer razorbill. I love that I can write that. But I'm told it wasn't the season for fresh puffin, so maybe an unfair judgement. The reindeer we had in an N1 in Egilsstaðir. Predictably, it was similar to venison / beef. I'm a fan. Also, two people asked me if I was Icelandic because of my language skills.

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