We pulled into Selfoss, a decent-sized city and had a quick bite for lunch
. As we were driving out of the town I spotted the symbolic candy stripe pole, figuring it was as good a time as any to give the old lid a tidy up. Shenae went off and did some clothes shopping while I waited in the queue, keeping amused by looking at the pictures in some old Icelandic Donald Duck magazines (more interesting than the Icelandic newspapers on offer). The haircut was a brilliant local history session, with the barber and I discussing politics, the structure of Iceland's parliament, a love of English culture and highlights in the area. Henceforth, I shall endeavour to have a haircut in any country I visit for an extended period of time - I learnt more about Iceland during that half an hour (for instance, the President of Iceland is merely a figurehead role bestowed upon somebody as an honour, where they have no involvement in politics whatsoever) than I did in the entire rest of the trip. Shenae also got chatting with the locals whilst waiting for me to finish and had a dinner date offer by the time we left.
After a short stop to look at the geothermal plant, we arrived back in Reykjavik and checked back into the Aurora guesthouse. Using the afternoon do do some window shopping, we headed into the trendy Old Town section of the city and spent some time browsing through shops - I was explicitly not allowed to buy anything from the old-fashioned gentleman's store (where everything was either plaid, tweed or corduroy), found my most-wanted buy for the trip (a $2,300 watch made by the local master horologist - unfortunately, a little out of the budget) and checked out some places for dinner (puffin was the last food on the list)
. After walking all the way down to the harbour, checking out the national concert hall and a famous Icelandic sculpture, we returned to the main area and set about for some food. Having checked all the restaurants in the strip and failing to find any hint of puffin, I had to abandon that mission and so we went for some Indian/Nepalese (really, to try and find an Icelandic dish that wasn't puffin was going to be anti-climactic after the slab of whale). The food was delcious and the extremely polite and friendly Nepali waiter gave us excellent service. The only disappointment came when we stepped out of the restaurant - immediately in front of us a sandwich board had been set up advertising a puffin menu at the grill restaurant not two shops down (Noooooo!).
With that wily bird successfully evading my stomach there was nothing for it but to have some top pie for dessert back at the guesthouse. We were going to go out and size up the Reykjavik nightlife, but a full eight days had caught up with us and we had to hit the hay in preparation for a somewhat busy day to follow.
With things beginning to wind to a close, we were off back to Reykjavik today. Just a little around from Vik is the beach Reynisfjara, famous for the huge cave decorated with interesting basalt formations (another spot I had been holding out to take a photo at). Just off the western end of the beach is Reynisdrangar, a stone formation rising out of the sea that is made home by many sea birds (who also nest in the cliffs above the beach). On the far eastern end of the beach is the Dyrhólaey promontory, with a large arch from the land to one of the rocky pillars. We walked around for a time but eventually the pebbly, stony beach wore hard on the feet and we returned to the car. With a rather free itinerary for the day, we were able to drive at our leisure and stop off at the odd guesthouse for coffee and tea and later at a restaurant for some fresh local icecream on a hot pudding.