The weather looked like it was on the turn for the next few days. I had been debating a return to Reykjavik at some point in my trip and after a lot of debating - it felt like the right thing to do. I wanted a few nights in a real bed and a hot shower. When you have spent a stretch of time covering a distance slowly and then turn around and do it at speed, you realise how short a distance you have come but are equally overwhelmed by how much you have seen and experienced in the same space. It confuses the senses. I couldn't have travelled any faster. My pace felt right. Not a walk, although part of me wants to walk this road with nothing but my camera and notebook.
When everything is dry and I have vaguely organised the boot of the truck, I turn back and head clockwise around the road. The miles move swiftly under the tires and I make a few stops to take photographs of the sky that has grown ever more dark and brooding since the morning. I pass the points where I had spent hours in seconds. It was not a pleasant experience. I was doing them a dis-service.
The traffic as I got closer into Reykjavik reminds me of London. It's a little more extreme in the sudden shift from rurality into the urban. Whilst Reykjavik isn't a huge city, I was glad to get off the road and park up near the guest house I had booked that morning. It had taken a while of looking for a spot where I could get decent enough signal today upload a copy of my driving license as Air BnB had decided that it was the perfect opportunity to try and verify my ID by my uploading a copy of my passport.
There was a BONUS supermarket over the road as so I spent a few minutes quickly concealing the sprawl of stuff that had happened whilst I had been on the 1 and made a dash to get some food for the evening before it closed. Having had a pretty limiting selection for a little while makes you appreciate just how many cuts of ham there are in the supermarket. Why does anyone need a choice of 15 vegetable spreads! It was all a little overwhelming...
I carry my haul back to the car and move it up to the floor where the guest house is. It's a strange setup a mix of offices, cafes and car park. I use the codes sent to me earlier in the day to get through the front door and into the dormitory room where the bunk I had booked (again I had been given a number) was booked. Except it was full. I call my host - pick another one and let me know which number you take.
I haven't stayed in a hostel for a long time but the price was right and as I sat down on the bunk I knew it would all be fine. There was an interesting sprawl of possessions on the bunks on the other side of the room. Playing cards, boxers, a captains hat... I cringed for a moment expecting some late night partying teens. Then I met Andy.
Actually we met in the kitchen and as with any first meeting it helps to have a pleasant bottle of whisky to share. We talked as we each prepared dinner. Andy, a slightly burnt out Techy from San José was a few stops away from the end of one big travelling adventure but had already got plans for the next. I love my JetBoil but it was great to cook a meal with more than one pot and one gas ring.
Later in the evening we walk into town for a few beers but it's Sunday and lots of places close early. Walking from the hostel in to Reykjavik town centre takes about 40 minutes but it's a proper foot path the whole way there's no worry about it being well lit as the evening sits in perpetual soft light. We land in Kaffebarinn, somewhere I have a vague memory of from when I was here in the middle of winter. It instantly has the feel of a good place to base a few days out of. Andy and I have a few beers and continue to talk. Moving outside to get a seat on the bench out the front we sit in the cooling night. By the time the bar closes its 1am. Discussions are had about hitching back to the hostel and stick our thumbs out as we walk back towards our beds. Only one of the passing cars even acknowledges our existence but this lifts us enough that it doesn't matter that we meander the whole way back to our bunks on foot.