The day after the infamous trek we had a four hour drive back to the urban area of Reykjavik to look forward to. Luckily, it was cut into several distinct pieces, which made the ride less tedious.
Here I have to mention hitch-hiking in Iceland. It is far more common - and seemingly far more acceptable - than in America. We picked up a total of seven hitch-hikers throughout our journey in the wilderness (having a 14 person van to accommodate them). Two were government officials keeping the trails clear of brush and bramble. There were travelers from Germany and Sweden. Two were young Quebecoise backpacking around the island. Despite our initial reservations, they were all polite and well-adjusted individuals. It was actually a fun way to get to share some more stories of international traveling and adventures both in Iceland and abroad. It made me wonder how hitch-hiking came to be such a worried-over, malfeasant act in the U.S.
Our first stop was a couple waterfalls, but each far more unique than the ones we had previously encountered. We saw a glacial fall, which was frozen ice slowly moving over a cliff. The next was a tourist hot-spot: a waterfall you could actually climb behind with little effort. I had been hoping to see such a thing all along.
We then made a more educational stop at a hydroelectric powerplant. Iceland boasts that all of its electricity comes from renewable resources: geothermal, temperature differentials, wind, solar, and dams. The public part of the plant itself was set up like a very modern museum, explaining the concepts and showing consumers how much power their various electronic devices use. The power company is owned by the state, so it's a totally non-profit enterprise. I think that's a model that makes a lot of sense for utilities.
The best part of the tour in the plant by far was the free coffee. I certainly needed it the day after that exhausting hike.
After leaving the plant, we headed to a nearby "turf house," which was a reconstruction of what the original Viking settlers' houses on the island were probably like. Since there are virtually no trees in Iceland, wood had to be imported from the very beginning. That made the Vikings use things like grass and sod for their housing materials, since it was readily available.
With our final stop behind us and a pair of hitch-hikers aboard, I dozed during the final leg of our return. I woke with welcome relief to find the city winding down for the day. I was more than ready to join it in slumber.