Tuesday 23rd June
We’ve moved back into the B&B just because the room is a bit bigger, there are 2 fabulous power showers and because Emilea, an employee of Àsa, prepares breakfast for the guests from 8am to 10, and that’s where we have breakfast. Àsa comes down from her house (100m) to chat to her guests whilst they have breakfast, in case they want to ask about local visits etc. We expected Maggi to be fishing until Thursday but Sunday night Àsa had to pick him up at midnight and Monday night she had to fetch him at 3am. She also spends most of the day running around between her various properties, checking on the B&B, dealing with guests and doing related chores such as shopping, paperwork etc. It’s a full time job.
Interspersed with this is the laundry chore. Most of the B&B guests only stay one night, so there’s always a mountain of dirty laundry. There are 2 washing machines to keep running and the bed linen has to be hung out to dry at Ása’s house, whilst the robes and towels can go in the driers.
So we keep ourselves busy and when we finish we take a walk out of the village towards the golf course. Just on the edge of the village there’s a field, which seems a haven for more Arctic Terns. We watch for about 10 minutes through the binos. The Terns appear to have their own piece of territory but because we’re so close keep taking flight and then landing again. We scour the area for chicks but can’t see any and finally armed with a stick above my head I advance into the field. Within 5 metres of the fence I find some eggs so we conclude they’re incubating their eggs but it’s a dangerous game walking into their territory. They fly over head and make a clacking noise; we think this is their warning call because it precedes them diving towards our heads.
It’s actually very scary!
Daz cooks dinner for everyone using the haddock Maggi caught yesterday; breaded haddock, potatoes and onion and tomato salad yum.
Wednesday 24th June
I think we’re both suffering with the endless daylight we’re having here. We find we don’t notice the time because it’s so light all the time and then suddenly it’s nearly midnight. Then I’ve been waking at 3am ish and it’s like broad daylight. So we’re off to a sluggish start but 5 cups of coffee (but they’re only little cups) and we get started. Tyler and Chantrelle are leaving today. Originally they were going to leave on 27th but have brought it forward. They have about 14 days until their flight home and Ása has lent them the Vauxhall Corsa because the hire car was too expensive and they were going to hitch. They’ll have the car and if it makes the trip they’ll leave it in Reykjavík and Ása will arrange to pick it up. So to date Ása is by far the most generous workaway host and we’ve seen a lot of generosity. Today’s chores – laundry and preparing the outer wooden staircase to the first floor of the B&B. So once we’ve found all the tools and equipment we need, which is a surprisingly long process because Maggi hides tools in his truck and on his boat because he knows Ása won’t go there or they’re in one of the houses, we sand and scrape down the woodwork ready for painting.
Then Daz goes off to make a late lunch because Ása is off to a planning meeting this afternoon and won’t be back until late. Oh yes, nearly forgot, latest casualty of the trip our fantastic camera. Daz said it was drop proof but yesterday he proved otherwise. He says it still works but won’t focus – is it me or isn’t that the point of a camera!!!
In the evening we’re left in charge of Stiklur, the B&B, because Ása is at the planning meeting in Patreksfjordur, waiting for 4 guests to book in. Whilst we’re waiting we decide to rearrange Ása’s office/laundry. I had proposed this on Tuesday but she wasn’t keen. By Wednesday she did mention that it might be a good idea to do it at some point. By the time she returns 3 of the 4guests are booked in and her office looks completely different and all her bits and pieces are stored neatly in one of the cellar rooms.
Thursday 25th June
Fun start to the day – I finally manage to get some photos of Daz sleeping. I’d told him that he slept in some very peculiar positions; either with both hands behind his head or with his hands cupping his face and now I can actually show him and the rest of the world by putting it on FB – LOL
Today we go in search of more tools and equipment and then once Daz has the ladder he does more sanding of the staircase we were working on yesterday. Meanwhile I cut the grass at Ása’s house which is on quite a slope so is quite hard work.
Then Daz does some strimming and then we start painting the staircase with primer. Today is the start of the Bildudalur Green Pea festival. Bildudalur once had a factory from 1932 to 1972 which produced tins of green peas which were very popular and then after the factory closed there was a Green Peas song and so the festival is in celebration of this; any excuse if you ask me.
During the festival there’s lots of fun stuff for kids to do, a golf competition, football tournament and music and storytelling, with a bit of drinking involved too!! It proves later throughout the weekend to be a real community festival, with everyone getting involved putting up green bunting and balloons around their properties,holding musical events for all to enjoy in their gardens (lots of local Icelandic songs are played by the different musicians with people joining in the singing and with some good international stuff thrown in too) It’s great to see such community spirit with everyone having a thoroughly good time together. Today there is also a 5km fun run, Daz and I take part but I know his competitive streak will be at the fore so I make him run with me, he sulks for a while with his big fat bottom lip out but soon gets over it as we run together in the brilliant sunshine out of the village and into the countryside It’s a straight run out and then turn around at the half way point, which means we have to run past the nesting Arctic Terns twice, it’s funny watching the runners ahead of us waving their arms about in the air to deflect the swooping birds… Until it’s our turn underneath them of course!! One bad point about having Daz run with me is that it makes me run faster than I’d like but at the turn around point I am pleased that I am the first female, that is until a teenage girl whizzes past just after the turn as if she isn’t even trying! Back in the village I am pleased if a little breathless with my 2nd female place even if it is just a fun run and Daz is happy just to be out running in the sun, so all good there.
Maggi’s son is over from London so we all have dinner together, Daz has made fish curry. Then Maggi is off to the community centre to tell the story of Joi. He was Maggi’s uncle, single all his life and a womaniser. He was a great character in the area and so he’s been chosen to adorn the special beer bottles.
Each year it’s someone different. We look after the B&B until the storytelling is done. It’s in Icelandic so we don’t understand a word anyway. Then it’s off to bed. We sleep for a bit and then wake at midnight. We can hear music, it’s local musicians playing in people’s back gardens and the music and chatter goes on until 3am.
Friday 26th June
Today Maggi is leading a walk as part of the festival and we’re going too. We drive to Halfdan Pass and then walk north over Halfdan down to Bildudalur airport. On the way we see Iceland’s font. It’s the hill from which a Norwegian viking called Hrafna-Flóki Vilgerđarson, looked down into the Vatnsfjörđur which was full of pack ice, and named the country Iceland. The walk is superb.
There are 10 of us in Maggi’s group and we walk 4.5 hours. Daz has it as number 1 experience of our trip so far. We find 3 nests along the way with eggs waiting to hatch, one belonging to the Grouse and the other 2, Calidris Alpina (we think) and there’s the beautiful mountain flowers and the views down into the fjords.
A lovely but tiring walk. Back at Bildudalur we give Àsa a hand with some chores and then take our bags to one of Ása’s cottages where we will now be living. Once we’ve sorted our room we go back to the village to listen to music in someone’s garden.
After the music we go to someone else’s garden down by the water where they are serving fish soup, rolls and white wine and gaze out over the fjord.
Finally we finish the day at the Sea Monster museum listening to a singer who proclaims himself world famous. He’s pretty shit so I think this is unlikely! This has been an absolutely fantastic day and so far Iceland is proving to be the best experience to date.
Saturday 27th June
It’s a slow start for me this morning. I’ve got a hangover from hell. Finally Ása phones wondering where we are. Apparently there’s shrimp down by the harbour to eat but by the time we make it they’re all gone. But there’s some lovely tender grilled lamb to try. We potter around and sit and listen to some music whilst enjoying the sunshine. Later we enjoy a BBQ at the B&B that Maggi cooks for their family andfriends, there are about 20 people there and we chat with his sons and nieces and nephews, a lovely evening of lamb and red wine.
To finish of the evening we pop back tot thefestival in the village and sit listening tothe music from the live stage. The drummer is very bizarre in his drumming mannerisms as he sems to be gurning through each set!!
Sunday 28th June.
After being woken at 3am and 5.30am by the arrival of our drunken house mates we get a late start to breakfast at the B&B. We were originally going to walk to Tàlknafjordur which is a little village in the next fjord over and entails a ten km walk over the hills but we are a little tired so decide to go for a simple walk up the valley to pickup a geocache (one of the very few in the area) about 3.5km out of the village. After getting past the diving Arctic Terns we walk through the golf course and up the river course heading into the valley. We should turn off and go towards the road here and the geocache but Daz thinks there might be some waterfalls further up and so we continue along the river.
There’s no path and we are navigating high grass and low bushes and occasionally getting our feet wet crossing the numerous streams that join the river, but we persevere in our crocs and as we round a small bluff we see the waterfalls ahead, it turns out there are a series of them and as we go higher up the river cuts a deep gorge in places where the raging waters make it hard to hear our own voices, but it’s a stunning walk and we spend time admiring the power of the water and the sheer beauty. Finally as we walk up to the last waterfall we come across the road and leaving the river behind we head back down the valley towards the village. We even manage to find the geocache as an added bonus before trying to hitch a lift.
As luck would have it Maggi drives by and stops to pick us up and drops us off back at the B&B… Result!! Although we walked much further than anticipated it was another fab day in Bildudalur. Today is the last day of the festival and it’s back to work for us tomorrow. Maggi is off fishing again tomorrow. All our housemates have gone by Sunday evening – it’s just a shame they didn’t fancy cleaning up behind them! But we have the house to ourselves – result!
Monday 29th June
Oh joy, we’ve had a good night’s sleep. We’re up fairly early – 7.30am and take the dirty laundry and rubbish to Stiklur. We have breakfast, start laundry and get rid of all the rubbish from the weekend using Maggi’s truck.
Asa is off to the puffin cliffs with her sister so we’re going to get on with the staircase – we need to finish priming and then start painting. It’s going to be a moss green – all the trim will be this colour and the building grey – so it’s like a rock with moss.