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Published: August 19th 2012
Continuing on our two day bus tour of the south of Iceland. We transfer to a monster truck/4wd bus that can take us off road. Iceland has a lot of seriously off road regions.
First stop is a volcano called Eyjafjallajökull. Roughly pronounced Ai-a-fyatla-yoketl. Perhaps you have heard of it? We stopped at the farm that sits literally underneath the crater. They were almost wiped out when it happened with huge damage to their plant and equipment. But they have recovered and now make a nice living from their beautiful, government-subsidised dairy farm, and an even better living from the volcano museum/gift shop they have set up. Again, really well done as all of these things appear to be in Iceland. A 20-minute documentary made about their family and farm during the eruption, and the changes the eruption and flood caused to the landscape. Really interesting.
We head inland to the Thorsmörk nature reserve. This requires about an hour of off-road driving, on a vaguely marked out path, crossing about 20 rivers or streams. Halfway along we stop and view the actual glacier that sits on top of the volcano. It is like Pitt Street with buses jockeying for
parks and turning space. Continuing on we end up in the most beautiful camping area for lunch (a picnic). There are craggy mountains overhead, glaciers and volcanoes, mountain streams, waterfalls. A very special place, and one we would not have seen had it not been for the tour.
On the way back we stop at Sjaellandfoss, a waterfall jumping off a cliff around the base of which you can walk, provided you are happy to get fairly damp! Too much amazing scenery!
A long bus trip back to Reykjavik. Exhaustion reigns and everyone sleeps soundly. Upon arrival Donna and I are out walking….stop for a beer here, and a coffee there. Just people watching. We have had two great days of weather with temperatures above 20 degrees – a heatwave by their standards.
Tonight we are off to Harpa (the Harp). A multi billion dollar concert hall right on the waterfront. Just what a country that is going broke needs. Finances aside it is a striking building, covered in glass facets that shimmer in time with the music being played inside, evoking images of the northen lights (which for the record we did not see – it
requires a dark night which we didn’t have). We saw a show called “How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes”. It was an English speaking comedy that really did take the pi$$ out of Icelanders (and the French). Very amusing and great to be able to say that we saw a show in their stunning facility.
We put his lessons to the test the next day (during Reykjavik's summer party). There are a couple of easy things to do to look like an Icelander.The first is to walk without moving your arms. Whatever you do, don't move your arms. Put them in your pockets, or strap them at your side, but do not, under any circumstances, swing them while walking. Also, look straight down. No cheerful waving of the head as you look around; it must be down and forward. We sat in a cafe watching the passing hordes, and it was true. Easy to pick the locals from the tourists!
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