Yes, I was actually thrown from a horse. And it was definitely my fault. My back, tailbone, and leg hurt. I have a few scratches and bruises, but I’m fine. I’ll get to that in a bit…
I clearly needed the sleep last night. After my usual bedtime “ritual,” I passed cold out around 8:30 last night and woke up feeling completely refreshed when my alarm went off at 8am. For me, that’s A LOT of sleep. I’m usually up by 6am most days, regardless of when I fell asleep the night before. So I needed it.
Heading out around 9am, I quickly realized that no Icelander is awake at that time of day. Only tourists. I saw a number of girls doing the walk of shame from the night before, which was entertaining. I headed to Hallgrimur’s Church to check out the views from its tower. And it was worth it! When walking around Reykjavik, most of the buildings are various shades of gray, blue, and white. But when you see them from the vista at the top of the church tower — wow! Bright, bright, bright reds, greens, blues, and yellows. And it’s peak fall colors here, too. With the sun, the seashore, and mountains as an additional backdrop, it was all just so…perfect.
After that, it was time to make my way toward the seashore, which is only 3 blocks from my apartment. I’m in the COOLEST part of Reykjavik — just a block off the major shopping streets, which have loads of bars and restaurants, too. Even a grocery store, which has come in handy. Since I have an efficiency kitchen in my apartment, I figured I might as well make my breakfasts and lunches and then splurge for dinner and night life. I’m more than content having toast with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and onion for breakfast. Got some gouda, pesto hummus, and lettuce, which makes a mighty fine sandwich. Since I have a teapot, I picked up some milk and chocolate, which will make a fantastic hot chocolate to put into my thermos. Anyway, I walked along the seashore for a while, then headed over to “The Pond,” which reminded me a bit of Lake Calhoun, but with lots of ducks and swans. I eventually made my way to the Flea Market. Didn’t find anything I was interested in, so just kept walking around and found several bars and restaurants I plan to head to. And a jewelry store I hope I make it to. Stores close around 6pm most days, so with having all-day tours, it’s making shopping difficult. Reykjavik is a very small city. It only takes a couple hours to see everything.
After all that, it was finally time to make my way back to my apartment and catch my ride to go on the horseback riding tour. It only took about 20 minutes to get to the ranch. The horses are really damn cute. They’re furry. And small. But they’re very strong. Apparently, 1,000 years ago, Iceland stopped allowing horses into the country, so the line of horses is completely pure, going back to the vikings. After watching a short video and getting a helmet, we got to know our horses. My horse was Tobias [toe-bee-us], and was unusually large for an Icelandic horse. Since we were acquainted, we were off for our three hour tour. Right away, I knew it was going to be interesting. I was riding an English saddle, which are different from American saddles, and I apparently hold the reigns too high — typical American style, too. We went through some crazy, BEAUTIFUL terrain, and would occasionally trot. It was so bouncy, my bladder literally hurt, and I had a really difficult time controlling the horse. After about an hour and a half into the tour, we were mid-trot, and my foot got loose in the stirrup. I also lost grip of the reigns and shouted — all of which tell the horse to go faster. Once I got ahold of the reigns, I pulled, but the momentum flipped me over and off Tobias, and I landed flat on my back and tailbone. There was a really nice Swedish gal and a couple American guys from Orlando on the tour, one of whom, up to that point, I was happily flirting with. Well, I felt stupid, despite Eric (cute guy) getting off his horse to help me. It took me a little while to walk it off. It was completely my fault, so I can’t be mad at Tobias. Eric offered to switch horses, but I decided to stick with Tobias. We kept on going for about another half hour before taking a break. It felt good. My knees surprisingly needed the break. After about 15 minutes I hopped back on Tobias, but I was immediately nervous, so Eric and I switched horses. My new friend was Krummi [kroo-mee]. He was … much better. Was a much smoother trot, and was all around easier to handle. Krummi felt like a vacation compared to Tobias. Eric then started to mention how bouncy Tobias was and how it was “killing his manhood.” I felt bad, but he said he was happy to handle Tobias. After about 20 minutes, Paula, our 18-year old German tour guide, asked if we were ready for a gallop. I thought she was crazy. No way! But I could see the disappointment in everyone’s faces. After a bit, I felt comfortable on Krummi, so I figured why not? I’m happy I did! It’s faster than a trot, but a much smoother and comfortable gait to ride. I finally smiled. I got home and noticed a big cut on my leg. Nothing a shower, some ointment, and a couple bandages can’t solve.
On the way back from the ranch, Eric asked me to join him and his friend Steve for drinks tonight. It’s after 8pm, and I need to eat something, so I’m going to head to the vegetarian place Julie and Branka recommended. And then meet up the guys at some Irish bar in my ‘hood.