Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ice Ice Baby!

As the plane touched down, I gazed out the window, i wanted to remember my first impressions of Iceland.
The first thing I noticed whilst looking out of my small window was it was covered in a thin film of ice, like crystals they shinned in the moonlight... the penny dropped- this is why they call it Iceland.

After disappointingly going through passport control and receiving only a standard EU stamp when I was in pursuit of something much more exotic, I boarded a coach bound for the YHA- the bus driver, extremely jovial given it was 1:00am delighted in taking me.

With eyes glued to the window, I noticed a low rise landscape of grey pebbled ash buildings with only the occasional splash of colour and neons lighting up the black night.

From my window the influence of American culture surprised me- hot dog bars, pizza and American kebab shops made up most of the food outlets i saw from the bus. The roads were wide and i could not help but thinking i was in an Artic version of Canberra. Not surprising that Reykjavik has a population just over 100, 000 is built by a harbour (that looks like Lake George) and is surrounded by mountains (although ice capped).

Up early the next morning after only a short sleep, I went on a whale watching adventure, braving the cold in my pink puffa jacket that Jen gave me- I resembled a walking doona. I boarded my boat and was quickly overcome with cold- lucky for me i was given all in one fishing overalls- tre sexy but I did manage to regain the feeling in my legs.
Dolphins played by the boat and i was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some minke whales diving near by. Unfortunately, my usual quick action with the camera was lost- perhaps because my arms were near freezing and i only got one picture where you can make out clearly 3 dolphin fins.
By afternoon I was exhausted and skipped my planned sight seeing trip to Reykjavik preferring sleep to a city that looked empty and uninspiring by night.
That evening i went to the blue lagoon, Iceland's most famous sight. Situated near a power station, it is a lagoon with milky aqua water that smells like egg farts to the untrained nose (I heard later it was sulphur- it stinks).
I did what all people do and rubbed silica mud onto all exposed parts and received a nice body mask, I sat in the sauna and delighted in the steam room- not a bad way to spend a Friday night and watch as the sun set in shades of pinks and yellows that you never knew existed against a barren black landscape.
On Saturday,I went into the wilderness and braved the severe cold, sleet that whipped your your face like a cat of nine tails and rain that got you drenched in seconds. I saw Guilfoss a spectacular waterfall, an old volcano and i went to Iceland's largest lake- the scenery at times reminded me of the dartmoores in in the UK- it is vast, empty and the land of big sky country- it feels like you can see forever.... snow capped mountains, icey ledges, rocks, cliffs and moss all in abundance. You could be forgiven for thinking it could be the set of the next mad max film, so rugged and beautiful it is.
I learnt a lot abut Iceland during the day- it is self sufficient in carrots, has over 75,000 horses and had its first cockroach epidemic in 2003.
By nightfall, having amassed a group of friends comprises some Americans, a couple of English and some Spaniards we hit the town in earnest- bur only after finishing a couple of bottles of vodka... after dancing at some of the hippest clubs in town we collapsed in bed at 5:00am just in time for a few hours sleep.
Up at 7:00am I was off on my next adventure.... a visit to the biggest glacier in Europe- the day was spent wavering from exhaustion to pure delight. At the glacier I drove a skidoo across the landscape- managed to go sideways a few times (thought that would impress the boys) and hit 80 kilometres at my top speed. At times the sky was not separated from the snow and it felt like walking on fairy floss.
I ended my day gasping at the briliance and beauty on the edge of a massive waterfall (i forget its name now) but it was breath taking.
I stumbled home just in time for a few hours sleep before my 7:00am flight back to London.
Truly a wonderful weekend!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

PAZ, Your SO hot in that jacket your must have been melting the ice in Iceland!

Great to see you back on track with the travels and the experiences.
Miss you, check your emails, i wrote a long one!
Love to you, Love Biddy