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November 2nd 2014
Published: November 3rd 2014
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I’m home!

I left you off on my last day in Denmark. From there I made a drive which by Europe standards was lightyears long, but in reality it was only 600km to Bremen. It was actually a pretty nice drive and the weather was only terrible for the first half, but eventually the sun came out and I made good time. Bremen was just a brief stop on my way further south to Paderborn.

Paderborn is a rather small city, but more people know about it now as they’re in the first Bundesliga. A friend from Canada, Fiona, is working at an elementary school nearby teaching English. Even though we got there on a Sunday, it was the last day of the fall fair so the city was bumpin! We ended up going for a brief tour of the city and then just caught up with each other while consuming a few delicious german beers. While walking home we bumped into one of Fiona’s friends whom invited in for another beer. After we finally made it home, Fiona’s roomies were still going strong and then the Jagermeister came out…

The following day I made a rather short drive to Hilbeck. This was a stop I was looking forward to majorly! I stayed there for a week my last time in Germany and a friend who spent a year in Canada while I was in high school is from there. I was welcomed into Dennis’ home by his family and had an amazing time. They had arranged for all the family and friends whom I had met with previously to come over for dinner, and it was fantastic. Food was delicious, and company was even better! The following day Dennis and I went for a bike ride around the village of HIlbeck before driving off to Bochum where Dennis attends Uni and is currently living. I met his room mate and we watched some soccer on TV. It was a great way to end my stay in Germany and the next morning I drove to Frankfurt to catch a flight to Iceland!

I had arranged beforehand to meet my friend Chris in Iceland. He took the ship across the Atlantic with me and had been travelling Europe since, but spending a 4 day layover in Iceland semed like a good way for both of us to end our travels. We landed in Reykjavik just before sunset at 4pm… It was 3 degrees out and it was a major shock to the system. The following day we toured the city, which is very easy on foot as it is so small. But it was super windy and just hovering above freezing so lots of stops to warm up were made. We had some delicious food and some not so delicious food. Lobster soup with a piece of Minke Whale steak were delicious! Fermented shark meat was… really bad. The Greenland shark is poisonous when eaten fresh and the fermentation process breaks down the poison but you get left with a foul tasting ammonia smelling piece of meat. But thankfully it’s served with a shot of the local liquor Brennevin to wash it down.

Now you can’t really say you’ve seen Iceland if you only stay in the city, and unless you want to get yourself onto a bus tour the only way to see everything is to rent a car and get out into the countryside. I’ll start by saying that Iceland is a BEAUTIFUL country, which is hard to say coming from a country like Canada. The country is littered with amazing waterfalls – the biggest and most famous is called Gullfoss (Gold Falls) – but there are so many that some of the names are just numbers. Because of all the geothermal activity there are also some pretty famous Geysers, including the one which has given its name to all Geyser’s everywhere – Geysir.

The following day took us to a couple of the outflows of Europe’s biggest glacier. The most impressive of the pair ended in something called the Jokulsarlon. Basically the glacier at one point dug a large lagoon where now the glacier calves into. It’s now full of icebergs which you can get just meters away from even from the shore. Over time some of pieces make their way to the ocean where the surf tosses them back onto the beach – which like all beaches in Iceland is black sand.

The following day and unfortunately our last day in Iceland we visited another black sand beach which has some basalt hexagonal columns, a small lake in the bottom of a crater and the very famous Blue Lagoon. I thought this was a natural phenomenon but it turns out that it is the outflow from a Geothermal power plant. But none the less, basking in some 38 degree mineral water while it’s 3 degrees outside is far from a bad thing! Oh, and during our drive that day we also hit snow…

That left us with a short drive to Keflavik airport and we were back on our way to North America.

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