another cliché
travel blog

a poorly kept travel journal

Clusterfuck getting out of SFO

The flight out of SFO was delayed by two something hours, which put us in SLC an hour after our connecting flight left for JAC, so after what I’m sure were a bunch of frantic calls between the travel agent(s), delta, and Dawn (the admin arranging everything) Delta chartered an extra flight to JAC for us! So that worked out well.

In the time waiting around the airport for people to resolve things (thanks everyone!) I reworked my Norway to JFK flight to at least give me a chance of making the JFK to Austin leg, talked with Rob about who’s paying June rent and how.

The flight to SLC was mostly unremarkable, except for the kid in the row in front of me who lost his shit the poor guy did not want to sit in his seat. He wanted to sit next to daddy! He was so upset he sounded like he was going to puke a few times. Rough. 20 minutes into the flight he passed out, though, so easy. Otherwise, just worked on transcribing for the web ahead.

Salt Lake really is just a giant salt lake. From the air, it looks totally dead and like just a wasteland.

Maybe pretty from a certain perspective, but paradise is a bit of a stretch.
Maybe pretty from a certain perspective, but paradise is a bit of a stretch.


Flight into JAC was easy. Walked off the plane, picked up our bags off the tarmac and walked onto a waiting charter bus. Which broke down multiple times on the way to the hotel. As we passed through town, the bus was enveloped in a large cloud of what smelled like coolant. After that, we limped forward a quarter mile at a time, with the engine cutting out us, pulling over the bus restarting. It finally died an ignoble death on the side of the road near a river where it idled itself dead. The hotel then rolled taxis to get us the last few miles.

Once at the hotel, we ate dinner, talked, drank, and played cards till almost 4am.

Rafting and the million dollar cowboy

Got up just in time to grab breakfast at nine, then went for a hike up one of the ski slopes behind the resort. Between the altitude and the elevation, I was sucking wind, but still managed to keep up with the group from Boulder.

Saw something bird like scurry across the path, which turned out to be a grouse!

Flying skunk?
Flying skunk?

We got closer to it and snapped a couple photos, then accidentally scared it off, pro,print it to roost in a tree that we then noticed happened to contain a bear cub. So we backed way the hell off and took pictures of it from afar. On our way down the hill, we saw the mother checking us out with the cub playing around her feet.

We grabbed lunch at a thai restaurant (thai seems disproportionately popular in Jackson) then got on the bus to go rafting. It was good fun, mostly class two and three, cold, but not miserable. After getting back we grabbed dinner, a hot shower, then headed into town.

I shit you not, they had saddles for bar stools
I shit you not, they had saddles for bar stools

I was in bed by 12:30, but a good time was had by all!

Sleeping in

I elected to skip the 8am hike and instead sleep in a little bit, grab breakfast, and just hang out. Kenny astutely pointed out the previous evening, “you’re going to be in Jackson hole again, but when are you ever going to stay in a resort?” So I opted to take advantage of that.

Spent the morning and early afternoon hanging around the hotel waiting with the rest of the team to leave, then headed into town. Met up with Jin, Natasha, and Justin, grabbed dinner at Local. Perfectly fine but otherwise unremarkable.

After dinner they picked up their rental van for driving up to Yellowstone, and I went to bed.

Keflavik to Vik

After landing, I spent a couple minutes getting my bearings at the airport. Honestly, it feels a lot like any other American airport, just with better signage.

I tried to get a snack, but the shop required a boarding pass and was for departing passengers only. Tax reasons?

I met up with Ash in baggage claim and we picked up our car. We stopped in town and got coffee while we waited for the breakfast place to open up. I was almost passing out after having been awake for basically 48 hours straight. At ten, we headed over to The Laundromat Cafe and had an fantastic breakfast! We split the basic veggie (two eggs OE, toast, and roasted tomatoes) and blue berry and caramelized banana pancakes. The bananas and tomatoes were so flavorful that I overcame my aversion to both and scarfed them down. They were that amazing!

Sated, we picked up road trip supplies from the grocery store across the street and got outta town. Almost immediately, I passed out cold. Getting in the car and closing my eyes felt glorious. Sometime later I woke up to this:

Gorgeous falls
Gorgeous falls

We spent the afternoon playing on them.

After, we drove another two hours to Vík and got the last available room in the entire town. Both Ash and I were passed out by 6pm.

Vik to Hofn

At 4am, we woke up, shaved and showered, and hit the road.

The drive was beautiful!

Around 5:30, we pulled over to check this out:

We ended up climbing as far up the slope as possible, about here:

Maybe 1000 feet up? 500? hell, I don’t know

Unexpectedly, we came upon the Glacier Lagoon. The loader was working to restrict the opening to the lagoon.

After, we finished the drive to Hofn, got lunch at Kaffi Hornid, I got the burger (eh), Ash got the Red Fish (looked good), had a coffee, and got back on the ring road. Pretty soon after, we both started to flag, so we started looking for a likely camp spots for the night. Maybe 15 minutes later we came upon this place:

Not bad, eh?

We set up the tent and started exploring.

Hofn to Myvatn

Got up around 7 hiked a little bit, then got on the road to Egilsstadur. Swung south west to go to some falls, then booked it to Lake Myvatn in Reykjahlid.

Stopped at the Myvatn mud pots before we got to Myvatn (Or even knew we were close). As could be predicted, looked kinda like hell on earth.

Got dinner at Vogafjost, met a group of seven canadians, had some laughs. After dinner we went out to Krafla to check out a crater lake. We weren’t sure if it was just a lake or hot spring fed, but we had our suits just in case.

The swimsuites turned out to be extraneous, but not a bad look for midnight
The swimsuites turned out to be extraneous, but not a bad look for midnight

Got back to the tent, stayed up for a bit reading and talking with Amy, took a picture of the land (super bright out), then passed out.

Myvatn to Hvammstangi

Drove through Akureryi, stopped in at Saudarkroksbakari in Sauðárkrókur for a cup of cofffee and a pastry, and then ended up in Hvammstangi. Just spent the day driving, mostly.

Had dinner at a pretty trendy place with only five tables filled. Small town on a wednesday night.

Stayed at an unremarkable hotel.

Hvammstangi to Bíldudalur

Lots of driving today. Got DRENCHED by Dynjandi, a massive waterfall that we got closer than is probably safe to get into.

Camped in a podunk little town with one restaurant that closes at 8. We had PB&J for dinner. Not a highlight of the trip, but a very pretty fjord.

Bíldalur to Borgarnes

Drove along fjords all day. We got to Stykkishólmur, decided that yep, it was definitely a coastal town, and then decided to head somewhere with a bit more character.

So, after dinner, we headed south, maybe to reach Reykjavik by sundown, maybe not.

We ended up in Borgarnes, a small town, and watched the sunset. We talked with Al, a nice guy who ran the desk at the hostel, and found out he was from Palestine.

Borganes to Reykjavik

Woke up to a roasting room, eastern exposure, large windows, and a nice sunny day combined to make for a warm room. We bummed around the hostel for a bit, packed up, had coffee at an interesting little coffee shop, then hit the road.

We got in to Reykjavik around noon, checked out the church, then met up with Brandon, John, and Dylan.

Bumming around Reykjavik

Bummed around all day. I didn’t get up till almost noon, so by two I made it out of the house. Walked around, got coffee, caught up on this, did some shopping.

For dinner, we went to Public House, which I highly recommend. It was a nice mix of British, Japanese, Chinese, and Icelandic, and included things like pork belly steam buns, chicken kara’age, and smoked puffin. Pretty great. Post dinner we took a long walk home and packed.

Travel to Bergen

Got into Bergen around 5pm, checked into our Airbnb, then walked along the water. Got a great salad, burger and beers at Una, then walked around a bit more. Called it a night somewhat early.

This city feels awesome! Kinda like fisherman’s Wharf crossed with the mission, but not grungy and with a bit of 500 year old character. The streets are paved in cobblestones and narrow down to footpaths between houses. There’s green spaces and trees everywhere. Bright colors on houses. It’s fantastic.

Bumming around Bergen

Got up around 11:30 (after initially waking up at 6:30 to talk with Amy for an hour or so), then spent the day exploring the city.

We bummed around for a while, saw some pretty great graffiti, then went grocery shopping to prep for the hike the next day.

We then had a great roughly traditional dinner at Pingvenen, all locally sources food and many local beers (plus Sierra Nevada, because why not).

Post dinner, we got a bit more food for tomorrow, then headed back home for the night.

Hike hella accomplished

Woke up around 8 (ugh, early) to do the Vidden Trail. We walked 20 minutes to the Busstasjon (Bus station. If you squint hard enough at Norwegian, it becomes English), then took a 20 minute bus ride to Montana (a neighborhood of Bergen?), then walked 10 minutes to the trailhead. From there, it was a 3km slog to Ulriken’s 600m peak. From there, it was 13km through gorgeous alpine(?) meadows. Loved it!

Once we arrived at the end, there was this adorable little outpost thing, that consisted of a tram station, a restaurant, and a gift shop. We sat about for a bit and enjoyed not moving, then bought tickets for the tram down.

Conveniently, the tram drops passengers off less than 100m from Det Lille Kaffekompaniet, so we stopped for coffee and split a cookie.

We went back to the house, showered off. Ash took a nap, and I headed back to the cafe to work for a bit. Around 8, I headed back, and we went out to find dinner. We ended up wandering until we found a little pizza place near the theater where we sat out under heaters.

Ash asked for recommendations for places to go that night, and we ended up at a small bar down the street, figuring we’d only be there for a round or two. Despite that, soon after we arrived, we noticed people started sporting some pretty heavy duty headphones. We had walked in on a silent disco, so we ended up being there till about three. Oops.

Last day in Norway

After sleeping in, we walked down to get coffee, then shopping, etc.

Then dinner!