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Location: Sólheimar

Much like yesterday, we ate breakfast in the cafeteria and then gathered in the yard with the Sólheimar locals to stand in a circle, hold hands, and start the day together. Immediately afterward, we headed to the troll garden and continued our work from yesterday: picking out weed roots, raking grass, and preparing the dirt for planting. Several of us hacked the overgrown grass away behind the workout room, and by lunchtime, the garden was ready for planting.

Lunch was lamb and noodles; then we were back to work. We were assigned buckets of baby vegetables to plant: kale, chard, vegetables with Icelandic names that were probably carrots and spinach, and more kale. By 2:00, we had finished planting and laying new wood-chips, and the garden looked more like Eden and less like a weed sanctuary.

We took a breather for thirty minutes then started the 5.5-mile trek to the swimming pool, where we would spend the rest of the day. Thick layers of clouds blocked out the sunlight and painted the stereotypical Icelandic landscape: flat plains of grass and rock framed by distant mountains, bright fog wrapping around the peaks and silhouetting herds of horses running across the hilltops, and a long, open road.

We climbed through the ditches to meet each herd of horses we passed. They trailed along beside us, nuzzling our jackets and eating grass from our hands. My favorite horse had a small white spot on his head and velvety brown skin and a whole swarm of flies buzzing around his head. He was friendly, ate my grass, and didn’t get scared away. As Eric said, a “pal 100”.

We also spent a good amount of time playing how many elephants?, which is a sort of riddle that we all eventually solved, and Carter and Czech raced each other from “the yellow thing to the telephone pole” (Carter won, but barely). August entertained us with a belly-flop into the overgrown lupine, which would’ve been a great Vine if Vine still existed and we’d videotaped it.

When we arrived at the swimming pool, we learned that its water comes from underground geothermic springs. There was a water-slide and three hot tubs, each at slightly different temperatures: 36 degrees Celsius, 39 degrees, and 42 if I remember correctly. There was also a sauna.

Fun fact about Iceland: people are wayyy chiller with nudity. Most pools and hot-pots require pre-swim showers in the changing room, and everyone is naked. Team-bonding, I guess.

After a couple of hours swimming, when our hands and feet had completely pruned over and then some, Margarita was kind enough to drive us back to the house. We promptly sat down for a dinner of chicken and leftover lasagna.

We’ll finish up the day with some reflective discussion and if things go as they have every night thus far, hours and hours of cards.