Today is my birthday. The whole reason we came to Iceland at this time of year because we both thought it would be interesting to spend a birthday in a place where the sun doesn't set. It hasn't quite worked out the way we planned. For one thing, we just noticed that our travel guide says that in July, on average, there is only one completely sunny day. There are 24-hours of daylight but no sun. Sun, here, is an ephemeral thing with occasional brief glimpses of a hazy orb while it continues to rain.
The Icelandic Tourist Board does a great job of perpetuating the myth that the sun shines in Iceland. My theory is that the Tourist Board has an army of photographers camped out at all the photogenic spots just waiting for that instant of sun to shine and the clouds to clear so the perfect, tourist enticing image can be captured to trap more tourists.
We asked the hotel desk clerk for advice on the best place to visit for good weather. She suggested we take a cave tour. We should have taken her advice. Our first stop was to see a seal colony. It was raining when we stopped and by the time we walked to the rocks and located the seal colony, the wind was blowing the rain sideways soaking both of us. About the time that I was asking myself why I was here since I know what seals look like, Dan stepped between some rocks onto a pile of seaweed that was actually a tide pool.
It took a little while for our pants to dry and Dan's shoes and socks remained wet the rest of the day. After the sideways rain experience, I began taking my photos from inside the car.
There was a brief respite from the downpour that allowed us to take a short hike into a beautiful small canyon.
On we went around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula (western part of Iceland) unable to see the beautiful beaches, the impressive volcanoes, or the looming glaciers because the thick curtain of gray combined with rain limited visibility. Our little rental car was buffeted about like a very small plane experiencing heavy turbulence. There wasn't much traffic on the road except those of us on a self-drive vacation forced by their pre-made reservations to move on. At least we weren't hiking, camping, riding a bicycle, or motorcycle.
Toward the end of our drive, we saw sunlight--briefly. It was still very windy, but for just a moment, the sun shined on this grass and we saw it.
Back at the hotel, we celebrated my birthday with chocolate cake and a bottle of Serbian wine given to us by Dan's thoughtful Serbian colleagues. And, we also watched USA lose to Belgium.