23 September 2008

Chapter 10: QE2 and Bolungarvik

Continued from Chapter 09

When we dropped the car back to Avis earlier in the day before flying to Ísafjörður, we had both commented on how empty the Reykjavik streets were during what should have been rush hour. There were very few vehicles. The Avis agent confirmed that it was a Public Holiday - Iceland's Labour Day or Verslunarmannahelgi - and that most Reykjavik residents head out of town to enjoy the last long weekend of Summer. That explained all the fully loaded 4WDs that we had seen over the weekend as we travelled in the southwest!

If it was quiet in Reykjavik, it was dormant in Ísafjörður and extinct in Bolungarvik, as we were about to find out.

We picked up the car and drove out along the coast road known as Óshlíd which is the only route between Ísafjörður and Bolungarvik.

When the QE2 visited Melbourne, Australia earlier this year on her final voyage downunder, I expected that this would be the last time that I would see her as a commissioned cruise ship.

QE2_at_Port_of_MelbourneQE2 at the wharf, Port of Melbourne, Australia, 2008

QE2_Port_of_MelbourneQE2 at the wharf, Port of Melbourne, Australia, 2008

While in Reykjavik, we had the unexpected pleasure of seeing her again in the far distance - steaming out of the harbour at the end of the day, as we were returning from down south.

Imagine our surprise when, as we had landed in Ísafjörður, we had seen the QE2 anchored in the fjord. As we drove out of town, there she was - set against a backdrop of snow and mountains. It was an impressive sight.

QE2_in_Ísafjörður01Queen Elizabeth 2 moored in Ísafjörður, August 2008

The stately lady, still one of the fastest ocean liners in the world with a top speed of 32.5 knots, is definitely looking tired. Her exterior paintwork is shabby and it appears that in recent times she hasn't been maintained to Cunard's high standards as she nears retirement. She's been sold to Dubai to be refurbished as a floating hotel.

QE2_in_Ísafjörður02Queen Elizabeth 2 in Ísafjörður, Iceland, August 2008

We made our way to Bolungarvik and drove around trying to locate the house in which we were staying, and found it with the help of a friendly local. Of course, the street sign was missing, so little wonder that we hadn't found it on our own!

J's friend was already at Hesteyri where we were due to meet her family, so we had the house to ourselves. Settling in, we decided to go back out to see if we could find somewhere that was open where we could buy some food for dinner.

Being a small town anyway, and a public holiday, Bolungarvik didn't have much to offer. The supermarket was closed as well as the restaurant, so we made our way to the Service Station which doubled as a burger bar.

Bolungarvik_Gas_and_BurgersDouble duty: Gas station and Burger Bar

Walking in, we perused the menu board, thinking that we'd get some burgers and fries for dinner. J and I stood and looked at the options.

"That special of 4 burgers, fries and a 2l Coke would be ok for us," I said, pointing it out to J. We looked for the price - silently doing the currency conversion in our heads.

I looked at J - she looked at me.

I said, "Have I got that right? I think that I've miscalculated the conversion."

"No you haven't," said J, "You've got it right."

Up on the board, the price for 4 burgers, fries and a 2l Coke was 2,800ISK (Icelandic Kronur) which when converted to Euros, came to €25.

We didn't order the special.

Spying some sandwiches that looked ok, as well as some packets of potato chips and 4 pieces of pizza that were surprisingly cheap in comparison to the burger special, we headed back to the house, in shock, and ate our less than perfect dinner.

We kept wondering what lay in store for us the following day, when we had to go shopping for food supplies to keep us fed for the 8 days that we were going to be in Hesteyri.

Next Chapter: Preparing for Hesteyri and the ferry ride across the fjörd


LDU said...

25 Euros!! Incomes must be high over there.

nzm said...

Incomes are above average, but then everything is really expensive in comparison to Europe, Australia, NZ.

Rob Lightbody said...

Hello! I've been on board QE2 twice in the past 6 months, and she's mostly immaculate. Her paintwork gets touched up as she goes along, and she was repainted fully in April in a short refit. We paid many thousands of pounds to be on board, and it was worth every penny!

My photos to prove it from last month are here -


nzm said...

Hi Rob - welcome to our blog! Good to see that the old girl has received a touch up. In my second Melbourne photo taken in February 2008, you can definitely see that her paintwork was not in the best condition.

Love your images - it looks as if you had a dream vacation on the QE2. The photos of the food put 2kg on me just from looking at them!

Keefieboy said...

I remember when the QE2 was launched: 67/68-ish. Can't believe she's being retired so soon.