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Published: September 13th 2018
THE REAL VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY CONSISTS NOT IN SEEKING NEW LANDSCAPES, BUT IN HAVING NEW EYES. PROVOST
The summer has been hot and sweltering in Southern Ontario so it seemed symbolic that our last day before leaving for Iceland was cool, dark and rainy. We even had our first bonfire in the morning before spending the afternoon packing and preparing. This trip will be different from our other excursions. First of all, this will a short trip - only ten days - as Iceland is just too expensive and Monica and I have family commitments in October. Secondly, Monica has arranged and planned our entire trip ahead of time. Usually we simply fly to a new land and then wing it in a spontaneous manner. However, Iceland is just too expensive and lodging is too limited. We are starting this adventure in the southeast corner of Iceland, an area known as the Golden Circle which also contains Iceland's largest city, Reykjavic. (rake-a-veck). We intend on spending the first three days in the Golden Circle before heading north, then east, then back south again; completing a ten day clockwise circle, ending back at Kevlafic airport. And thirdly, we are
travelling with another couple, Crystal and Brian. These factors will help to make this adventure even more unique.
Monica has spent long hours preparing for this adventure and has said many times that she has had to stop herself from getting too excited. Crystal and Brian also appear very buzzed and enthusiastic. To be honest, I am probably the least excited. My days prior to the trip have been spent in a gradual shut down of our trailer after nine years. I have been self-destructing my paths and gardens that I have built and nurtured and my mind has been focused on closing up this chapter and heading back out to Gabriola. A part of me, although not excited, knows I probably need this break more than anyone.
We drove across to Detroit in the early evening of Sunday, September 9th, preparing for red-eye flight. Customs at the border and in the airport went smoothly. The one officer emptied my back pack and wanted to know why I had so much dry food. I mentioned the high cost of food in Iceland and the officer agreed, mentioning that he had a friend who paid
$16 U.S. for a sandwich at Subway in Reykjavik. He then proceeded to help me repack my bag and wished me luck. Our flight was with WOW - an economic airline that offers cheap flights with no perks. Even water has a price. Monica and I spent half an hour juggling our luggage to get our one main bag down to under 20 kilos. WOW charges $18 for each extra kilo. We took off at 12:50 in the morning and landed about six hours later. We lost four hours travelling east so we landed at 11:00 the next morning - tired and stiff from a long night spent trying to sleep in small, cramped quarters.
First thing we noticed was how laid back and friendly the Icelandic people were. From the customs personnel to the car rental guys, everyone was helpful and we were surprised at how few questions they asked. By 1:30 we had our luggage, our rental car, (a Dacia Duster) and were motoring towards the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is the most popular attraction in Iceland. Basically, it is a steaming, silica filled body of milky, blue water. It is fed at a
perfect 38 degrees C from a futuristic geothermal plant. We changed into our bathing suits and dawned our white robes and flip-flops before heading to lunch in the fancy, expensive restaurant. Brian and Monica had lamb, Crystal had cod and I broke our long fast on Arctic char and caviar. It was all delicious. However, they messed up Crystal's order. They explained that somehow her order disappeared and after apologizing, they brought her a double order of cod - the best any of us have ever tasted. Her meal was on the house due to their error and they even gave me my twelve dollar Tuborg beer for free.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wading through the steaming water, smearing on skin creams and having the odd drink. Everyone is issued a bracelet and this acts as one's credit card. By the day's end, our physical aches and pains were gone. We took a short drive to the coastal town of Grindavik where our guest house was located. The Steinar was a large house with numerous rooms. A Chinese foursome was already there along with a young Russian male who was preparing to fly to
Canada. He was landing in Toronto and wanted to know if he could drive to Vancouver in a day. We slept very well our first night, pleasantly surprised at how warm and accommodating both the people and the climate appear to be.
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