Published: August 20th 2012August 20th 2012
Iceland Segment - Aug. 14 to 19
Tues. Getting to Iceland was a very smooth trip except for one slight problem I caused. We left home at 8:30 am and drove to Bellevue Square and had lunch at PF Chang’s, drove to Holiday Inn in Renton, parked the car and shuttles to the airport around 12:30. Tickets, security all okay with no major line-ups. Ross sat and edited while I cruised the shops and got a coffee. I also bought 2 espresso truffles and put them in my pocket as my hands were full. Met up with Rusty and Orlis and boarded on time. Ross and I had aisle seats across from each other. Icelandic Air does not serve food as part of the package – you have to buy it. Not much that’s wheat-free so I had fruit plate and lettuce but I knew I had the chocolates. After the meal was cleared away I put my hand in my pocket and it came out covered in melted chocolate that looked like sh*t. I discreetly tried to lick some of it off without the young couple beside me noticing. What a mess but
what delicious chocolate. To think I’d wasted such a treat! As soon as I could I went to the washroom and in that tiny space I tried to clean up my pocket mess. Not easy. I was lucky the melting was contained in the pocket only. Ross never realized any of this of course until I was telling Orlis after our landing. I got a one hour sleep on the plane.
Wed. We arrived on time and went to the travel info and booked a trip to the Blue Lagoon as a roundabout way to get to Reykjavik. Not the same as the Blue Lagoon in Tahiti. The water was marvellous and steamy and we used the white mud liberally as it’s supposed to take 10 years off. Unfortunately my ten came back on before my hair was dry. We arrived at the Hilton Nordica around noon. We had the lunch buffet and that was our first intro that prices in Iceland are steep. Walked to downtown and decided there would be shopping in England instead. We ate at a great little seafood place in the waterfront (Seabourne’s?) that was obviously a locals’ joint. Skewers
of scallops and prawns and lobster bisque. We sat on homemade stools with long board tables. Line-ups continued as we ate. Highly recommend especially as the best coffee in Iceland is nearby. Back to the room and I began reading the Hunger Games Trilogy.
Thur. So with 3 hours sleep (riveting book) we got up at 8 and had breakfast at the harbour at Café Haiti (the great coffee) and then headed out on the Izza, a small fishing boat, to see the puffins who have apparently left for their 8 month ocean stint in the Atlantic. There were a few brave souls who hadn’t quite given up on the local fish pickings so we saw 60 puffins where apparently last week there were 600. So much for timing. Still got a few good pics and saw them flying, swimming and posing on the cliff. Ross and I went back to the hotel to be picked up for our snorkelling trip.
We were driven through lava fields and some bleak scenery and then lush green fields with good mountain backdrops. Would have been some good photos but I didn’t bring the camera.
Viking Ship Sculpture
located on the seawalk
We were at a National Park – I can’t even spell it here since we don’t have some of the letters in our alphabet. First off we were to put on down-filled suits – looked like sleeping bags with legs over our bathing suits. I never wore one so I was changing behind the van. Then you put on a drysuit. They ran out of female sizes when they got to me. The arms were too long so I needed help there and the legs were twice as long as my legs. Sarah, the guide, said it’ll be no problem once you’re in the water. Hmph. The only parts of your body not covered are your lips, cheeks and a bit of your forehead. All parts I was acutely aware during the swim. Ice water. It was freezing. We had a perfect day, hot, sunny, and crystal clear water. My mouthpiece on the snorkel didn’t fit right so every dozen breaths I came up to readjust. I had to because the ice water would trickle in and my gums started screaming. My lips and forehead had gone numb after 5 minutes. It was just the mouthpiece. We were floating in
On the way to see the puffins
a chasm of glacial water and it was beautiful. Strings of neon green algae 20 feet long were decorating the boulder strewn rift. Apparently the rift is increasing 2 to 3 cm each year. We were told to use only our feet to propel us as using your hands would cause water leakage into the suits. Didn’t work for me. As soon as I was in the water my feet had left the boots and I was about 2 feet longer with useless fins and legs floating along behind me. I had to use my hands as I had no control over my legs. I thought Ross was the blue suit behind me as I was near the front but apparently he was last and got lost on the only turn we made. No one noticed and he hit a dead end and had to find his way back – missed the group photo underwater. The swim was exhilarating but I wouldn’t call it snorkelling even though we used a mask. At the end they showed us some cliff jumping and all of a sudden Ross went in – he didn’t think about his contacts or the fractured foot. So
Coming back after seeing a few of the remaining puffins. the rest have gone to sea for 8 months.
then I had to jump as well. Not everyone went in. Twelve feet never looked so high. Survived. Back to the hotel and met Rusty, Orlis and Sandy for dinner at Solon.
Fri. We didn’t wake up until noon. We had the lunch buffet in the hotel because Ross just wanted to edit and rest up for the marathon. I went on the bus downtown and slowly hit the shops, had coffee, sketched, dinner at Caruso’s which was great food. Got lost on the way home and ended up on the wrong bus. Forty minute walk got me to the hotel. Ross had picked up his marathon stuff and we made it an early night except after 3 hours I was awake so I grabbed and went and read in the lobby until 7:15.
Sat. Ross went off to the starting of the marathon about 8 and Orlis and I headed out for breakfast downtown by 9. Watched the half marathoners come in but no Ross so he must have gone for the whole thing. I went back to the hotel to read and wait for him. He arrived around
It's not about him
Annual Cultural Festival. Everyone was enjoying a local folk singer. Reminded me of Joni Mitchell.
5 happy to have finished and he was a wee bit tired. Napped until dinner. We ate at Aldin’s. Very good food and atmosphere. Downtown was humming with crowded streets, bands and stages for performers and quite the festive mood. It’s the annual Cultural Festival Night. We watched a few performances and then Ross and I headed back since we had a 4:30 am bus the airport. I finished the Hunger games which meant 3 hours sleep. We flew out of Iceland at 7:40 am.
Thoughts on Iceland –
· I would definitely come back and spend a week being in the countryside and other islands
· Never live here
· Try the horse riding, hiking and more geothermal pools that are away from the tourist areas
· Come in June or July to see a few more puffins
There are more photos below