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We woke early at the Glass House as it was sunny this morning – sleep masks can only do so much. We were treated to another great view of Hekla volcano – all that snow on the mountains is new since last night!

Taking in the view

By the time we had a relaxing breakfast and another soak in the hot tub, the clouds had rolled in and it was snowing again! Weather in Spring in Iceland is very variable!

On our way to the next hotel, we stopped at Lake Kerid, a beautiful crater lake. It was originally thought to have been caused by a volcanic eruption, but due to the absence of ash in the area, scientists now believe the hole was a large magma chamber that collapsed into itself.

A nice path around the rim of the crater
Windy and chilly (but happily not raining!)
There is also a path down to the water level.

After a picnic lunch in the parking lot we headed into Selfoss for some more groceries. The few local restaurants are very expensive and have limited gluten free options, so we have been cooking dinner in our little cabins. But that means shopping every few days. Fridges here are small and freezers seem to be optional. Feels very European versus the North American GoBigCostcoSuperSize stores and huge fridge/freezers we are used to.

We checked into our home for the next few days – Heima Holiday Homes just outside of the town of Selfoss. 8 individual cabins on a small rise with a view of the surrounding fields.

And bonus views of the other side of the Hekla volcano. This place is just so photogenic.

We were met by very nice hosts, Helga and Halli, and by their friendly dogs (the official welcoming committee). They followed us down to our cabin and they really like to play fetch!

Ice blue eyes and puppy levels of energy!

Dinner was oven roasted lamb for Dave and that leftover steak for Kris with roasted potatoes and salad. Our cabins have been wonderful, and so much nicer than traditional hotels, but each has had its odd foibles. This one has an oven (the first one to do so) but no microwave. So we have had to be creative in our dinner prep.

Iceland has various fauna, although not as much as we expected. There are many species of birds; mammals that are not farm bred are much less common. All are adapted to withstand the variable weather that exists.

Whooping Swans are fairly common here. They, like our Canada Geese, nest in fields, swim in ditches and have attitudes. These ones were very snarky and didn’t want their pictures taken. I suppose I would hiss at someone that I thought was coming to eat me too.

Swans are not very good walkers, tending to swim or fly instead
Eider ducks are also commonly seen. These guys provide the down we wear in our jackets and in our pillows. Icelandic ducks need to stay warm too!
European Golden Plover. Brown on top, white with black on the bottom. You can see why their colour are such. They almost disappear in the grass and overhead they blend into the skies.
Oyster Catcher – a wading shore bird with a long beak to prise open mollusks or to pick insects and worms out of the grass. Despite its name, oysters do not make up a large part of its diet.
Many puffins nest in the cliffs of southern Iceland in the Spring and Summer – it seems that Spring has sprung late this year and looks like we are a bit too early for the puffin season. Unfortunately, this will probably be the only puffin that we will see on this trip.

Icelandic horses are mostly bred for companionship and for riding. They are highly desired in the worldwide horse communities. They have developed several unusual gaits that are not seen in other species of horse. We’ve seen many farms on our drives.

Grass from the other side of the fence is always greener (tastier).

And of course there are about three times as many sheep as people in Iceland. Lamb is a common meat in restaurants and grocery stores; sheep wool is made into yarn. Big business here.

There are a lot of black sheep in the family.
What? I’m resting.

One of the main things the wool is used for (other than export) is the lopapeysa, the traditional Icelandic sweater. The real ones are hand made from 100% pure Icelandic sheep wool. The breed has been geographically isolated from their brethren for 1100 years and have adapted to the harsh weather and sub-arctic climate. Their inner wool fibers are soft, fine and insulated, outer fibers are long, tough, glossy and water resistant. Audur Laxness is credited as the original designer of the lopapeysa (sweaters shown below) in the 20th century. We went to the IceWear store to model a few. They are too warm and itchy for us but they are beautiful. These ones say they are ‘designed’ in Iceland but we’re not sure where they are actually made!

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