At the end of February, I spent an all-too-short weekend in the country with eight friends. Erin and her friend Jen had been talking about taking a weekend trip, and I’d also been talking about it with a couple other friends, so Erin and I decided to combine forces and get a big group together for a trip at the end of our winter reading week.
The nine of us headed south out of Reykjavík on a Friday afternoon and after a short drive arrived at Króktún. It’s a charming cottage with views of Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull, and its charm is magnified by the fact that it’s clearly a family summer house, with all the collected flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a second home (i.e. quality movies like Titanic on VHS, family photos, framed poems in honor of the family patriarch, a pair of sparkly plastic glasses shaped like champagne flutes leftover from a country New Year’s).
Our volunteer chef Mátyás got right to work in the kitchen Friday night and we had a lovely late (like, 11:30 PM late) dinner. Erin almost died waiting for food, as you can see in the picture above. Gary tried to support her in her hour of need, when she wasn’t trying on pairs of glasses and declaring, “These belong to someone who’s dead!” Saturday we ate breakfast while taking in the 360-degree view of the snow-covered landscape, including Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull in the distance.
Miraculously, the weather was stunning – sunny and clear without a hint of wind – so we took an excursion to see Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. There were plans to soak in a hot spring as well, but time (and daylight) got away from us and we returned to the cabin. Katleen, Mátyás and I worked some dinner magic with all of our leftovers and random ingredients.
Sunday morning came all too soon and we had to pack up and clean the cabin. We took a longer route home and stopped to see Skálholt, one of two episcopal sees established shortly after Iceland adopted Christianity in the year 1000. Jón Arason, Iceland’s last Catholic bishop, was beheaded at Skálholt in 1550.
After a weekend of perfect weather, we encountered pouring rain and high winds as we reentered the city.
It was wonderful to finally get out of Reykjavík, although not nearly as relaxing as I had hoped. As I probably should have known, cooking for and cleaning up after nine people is a lot of work, and 48 hours is simply not enough. Perhaps some day we will return to Króktún for a more leisurely getaway.