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Published: September 7th 2014
Hello from the high seas! The North Sea to be exact.
We are sailing from Iceland to Norway now and arriving in Trondheim tomorrow afternoon. It’s a sea day and we need a bit of a rest from the exciting things we did in Iceland.
After we left the pub the other day we trudged back to the ship in the pouring rain. It was wet and miserable but not really cold. Strange place Reykjavik, they have a penis museum. Fortunately we missed this delight!
So off we went about 6:30pm to find the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, are the same as our Southern Lights Aurora Australis, both of which are a response by the earth’s magnetic field to sunspot activity on the sun. In there is a museum for everything so it was no surprise that our first stop was the Northern Lights Museum. It was small but very informative even for a non sciency person like me.
The best bit was a slide show of slow motion photos of the Northern Lights. Imagine this…me sitting in a dark room with an iPad set up taking photos of photos. This was my insurance
policy in case we didn’t see the actual Northern Lights which was a very high possibility as it was bucketing down!
Our next stop was a very small fishing town where we had lobster for dinner. The restaurant was very Spartan and there was a very large table set up in the middle. I got a tea towel instead of a serviette and this proved to be very handy later on.
When the main course was served we got a real shock. On our part of the table was a large work full of lobster tails. They were the size of yabbies or king prawns and they were warm having just been cooked in butter and garlic. It reminded me of the days we used to catch prawns and cook and eat them straight away. The taste of these lobsters was amazing and they were so fresh! It was worth going on the trip just to eat the lobster. I’m going to stop here and let Peter describe the “Hunt for the Northern Lights”
…Well, this was interesting. We had a guide and a bus driver, each with mobile phones that constantly rang, as the various guides
and drivers in Southern Iceland compared notes on the existence, or really non-existence of the phenomenon. We seemed to aimlessly drive about the countryside for literally hours, before stopping at a church in the middle of nowhere at 11:00pm. Some poor churchwarden got out of their nice warm bed an opened this catholic/Lutheran church for us. We felt obliged to leave a donation for that kind of dedication to the cause of Christianity!
Much later, we were bundled out of the bus to see the lights. Despite our great expectations, it was a very inconclusive viewing. Undaunted, I dutifully set my camera up and bracketed 10”, 15” and 20 second exposures. Not much to be seen until I downloaded my sd card and lo and behold, there was the evidence three good shots of the green lights! Back to Sandy now.
We got home about 2:30am and crashed for a few hours and went off on our next trip early the next morning. That was to a place called the Blue Lagoon and it has nothing to do with the Brooke Shields’ movie but it is a bit like the colour of blue lagoon cocktail. This mineral rich
pool of tailings from the geothermal power station is a popular swimming destination. It was a lovely sunny day (in contrast to yesterday) and we enjoyed a drink from the bar while we floated about.
So imagine, it’s a bright sunny but not extremely warm day in Iceland and you’re in a blue, well yes, lagoon with about 200 other people. The water is milky blue and looks radioactive (but it’s not, I assure you dear readers). This may sound ghastly but it’s not because everyone is bobbing around enjoying the warm water, many people having plastered their face and heads with white mud. What the hell, we did it too.
The best bit was floating very high in the water looking up at the blue sky, feeling the sunshine and contemplating the idea that we were actually in the sub-arctic region. We stayed in the water about 2 hours and looked like big prunes when we got out. Yes it was a bit naff but it was great fun!
Unfortunately my usually unruly hair turned into straw and I looked like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. Seriously I could have snapped bits off it
was so dry. It’s taken me two days and a number of treatments to get it back into a mildly disorderly state! Methinks that I shouldn’t have shoved my head under the waterfall. Bleached hair and silica do not make for a good mix.
Yesterday we did a bus trip around the countryside outside Akureyri seeing the amazing Godafoss waterfall, lava fields and boiling mud pools like the ones in Rotorua. There was a particularly black stinking one that I’m sure was the setting for the “Creature of the Black Lagoon”. The highlight for Peter was to be able to stand between two tectonic plates with one foot in America and the other in Europe. Lucky he didn’t fall into the hole between the two contents or he’d never have been seen again. It just looked like a crack in the ground, albeit a very important one.
We made it back to the boat and sat on our veranda and enjoyed a glass or two of bubbles as we departed for Norway. At one stage I was lying on the bed reading and as I glanced up from time to time, I could see the beautiful snow-capped glaciers.
It was quite extraordinary.
This morning we decided to do something different and played mini golf on the top deck. It was 8 degrees and the wind made it very, very cold. I managed to win as usual. Peter always disputes my rules i.e. the person who makes the most shots wins! So despite our down jackets we came back into the ship blue with cold.
I suspect that Norway might be colder than Iceland. However we did have the most spectacularly warm and beautiful weather imaginable in Iceland. Tomorrow we are off to explore the land of the trolls, known in Iceland as the hidden people!
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