Why Iceland? Why Not! Come to Find Out, The Country Has Water Falls, Hot Springs & Breakfast

(You see the little figurines of people all the way down the slope and up the hill and standing by the great water’s fall? LA and I managed to make the trek, and live to tell about it. / Photos by Leigh Ann Thacker)

On Sunday, we arrived in icy Iceland. The most exciting thing we got to do, though, was take a nap (much needed) and eat some, and I quote, “…dung smoked salmon.”

Not so much needed.

If you are wondering…don’t.

It means exactly what you think it does.

Dung smoked. Smoked over hot dung. If you have ever heard the phrase, “Well that smells like shiskabobs…” (or something like that), you are right.

Dung smoked. It’s something that I would use to describe most baseball umpires, IRS auditors, and meter maids.

But, to be honest, the group ordered a sample. And, despite the name and the temptation to hold one’s nose, the salmon was pretty good.

Must have been hungry.

Which brings us to Monday morn in Icy Iceland. The air was brisk with ocean spray. The mind clear from a full night of sleeping in a bed instead of a crammed airplane. The body ready to tackle the adventures of the day.

Game on.

I was headed out the door of the cozy hotel in Reykjavik (don’t ask me to pronounce it) and ready to partake of a hearty breakfast — which is included in the price of the room. Then, out of nowhere, my beautiful wife beckoned from the other side of the room.

“Just turn it around. (Aunt) Kelly just called. They don’t serve breakfast,” she yelped.

Damn to hell.

I knew these Icelanders were a quirky group, after all they settled on this ice chunk and became Vikings ions ago. Had to be quirky, right? It was either this or the Caribbean and they chose this, right?

But to toss in the cost of breakfast with the room, and then not offer breakfast? Now, that sounds like somebody from Brooklyn. Not the hearty souls of Icy Iceland, right?

Clever. Yes.

Right? No.

So, with stomach churning, I discovered a banana and a thimble of the best water you can ever find and washed both down with a single gulp. Headed out the door for a quick walk down the street to our appointed visit with a tour bus and a trip to the countryside.

Soon, as I was joined by Uncle Bill and Greg Schell — two of our tour mates. Quickly, the conversation turned to breakfast. And, how good the potatoes were. And, how great the bacon was. And, what a delight the eggs were.

“What?” I asked. “(Aunt) Kelly called Leigh Ann and said there was no breakfast. How did you guys get breakfast?”

“She didn’t know what she was talking about,” said (Uncle) Bill. “She came down and had some, too. It was great. Best breakfast ever. Spectacular breakfast.”

Way to go, Aunt Kels. A diet forced upon me by misinformation and outright falsehoods. Now, I have heard of everything. Jenny Craig, my rear. This Kelly has a plan for weight loss. It’s called — lying.

You can take it with a single grain of salt.

So, with that, we were off. To tour the “Golden Circle” of Iceland. An island about the size of — you guessed it — Kentucky.

It was amazing.

Truthfully, it was amazing.

We got to see volcanoes that left an island that is actually pulling apart with earthquakes. The splits in the land — which have occurred for millions of years — are plain to see, yet hard to imagine, still.

We got to see the largest island on a island — floating like a fishing bobber in the middle of a lake.

We got to see rock formations made by God and time. What a farrier and what a time.

We got to see the most amazing Water Falls that you will ever lay an eye on in your life. The water roaring. The water rolling. And, then, all of a sudden, the massive water falling. Carving out history and a path of absolute beauty. No one gets in this water’s way.

We got to see geysers spring from the volcanic ground remains, spewing water into the sky. We got to see hots springs turn sulfur into air, and air into mist. And, of course, we got to smell sulfur turn noses into the air, as well.

We got to see the miracle of history, and witness what Mother Earth can do when left to her own devices. We got to see the world as it used to be, and how it may be in millions of years from now can still be — if we humans don’t mess it up.

And, we got to see where the first Vikings held court; delivered their speeches, and created the first democracy of government — before they headed out to find North America, long before this cat named Chris Columbus.

The speech writers for these cats had to be amazing. All the laws were banked in memory, and perhaps the wall of a cave somewhere along the way. Not rendered to parchment just yet.

Leigh Ann, and I stood with Aunt Kelly, Uncle Bill and our long-time friends Greg and Ronda Schell and just admired. Most of the time, we stood in the midst of a driving rain or the mist of a steady one. Most of the time, we stood in awe and with both mouths and eyes wide open.

Most of the time, was spent admiring a landscape saved in time by a fierce people, and a hearty God.

The only thing missing?

Breakfast.

A hearty breakfast.

That’s first on the agenda for Day 2.

Soon you then.

(And, by the way? Don’t ever listen to Kelly Sears. She’s a mean diet consultant.)

(Greg Schell and I ready for our excursion)

(Loaded up and ready to go)

(In-between spews of the geyser)

(Hot Springs, Iceland. Not Arkansas)

(This was all Leigh Ann’s idea)

(Oh, and the Vikings a few generations ago, too)

(The country of Iceland is moving in opposite directions after earthquakes split the island, but don’t worry. Donald Trump is splitting ours, too. Just kidding. Kinda.)

(Photos by Leigh Ann Thacker)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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