The Last Few Days

Hello again readers who are vicariously traveling to Iceland!
This will most likely be the end of my narative on my trip except a quick note about our time at the blue lagoon and some more objective facts and tips for fellow travelers. My last post left you near Skaftafell natural park, where in the morning we hiked up to one of the tongues of the glacier we snowmobiled on. Unfortunately there was a small body of water blocking access to most of it but we would not be stopped so easily, trekking along the side of a stream and hopping from one rock to the next to eventually reach ice. Alas the ice was black from mud and ash, but still very neatly shaped and very slippery. After I used my stove on the patio of the welcome center to cook some soup for lunch we hiked a short was up to see Svartifoss, a very pretty waterfall framed by black basalt columns. From there we hitched to Vik, through an amazing landscape, half green cliffs and farms, half rocky lava flows. In Vik we saw the famous basalt columns rising from the sea and went to Selfoss to recharge and plan our last few days on the road. Chelsea also was quite brave and decided to get her hair colored and dyed in the European style, describing how she wanted it to the stylist who spoke almost no English. Fortunately, through miming and gestures she was able to get it to turn out very much to her approval. The following morning, after a run and a swim, we headed north to Geysir, the sight of the hot pools that gave the world to English. The actual Geysir has not gone off in quite some years but its little brother gives off a large plume of water and steam roughly every five minutes accompanied by the clicks of SLR cameras and oows from the bystanders. Not more than 10 kilometers from there is Gullfoss, Iceland's most famous and picturesque waterfall. After a number of pictures and getting rather wet from the spray, we camped at Laugervatn, a nearby town.
The following morning we hitched a ride with one of Reykjavik's city councilers who is the head of education. After an illuminating coversation and sharing details of eachother's education and healthcare system, he dropped us at Thingvellir, the historic site of the viking parliament. It is also a beautiful area to hike and the fault line separating the Europe plate and the North American plate is clearly visible. After walking around and walking from Europe to America a few times we headed back to the capital.
The capital is full of shops and good food, but is also fun to walk around and people watch. After a day of exploring on foot, we upgraded to motor scooters this time one for each, so Chelsea could remain firmly in control of the throttle. After some practice, we were zipping along to places that were too far out before, taking in some of the coast and the Pearl, a building overlooking the city. We also finally had luck Couchsurfing, spending two nights with our generous guest talking and sharing stories.
Today is our last day in the country before we leave to the blue lagoon and then home, wo we will do our best to fit some more fun in, and relax for the last time in the pool, fully equipped with thermal pools ranging from 37C to 43C.
It has been a remarkable trips, and it was made more special by our last minute traveling method and not worrying about reaching a town to make our reservation. The people and nature of Iceland are outstanding and made this trip as interesting on a personal level as it was on a photographic and hiking level.

See you state-side soon,
Jacob

Posted via email from Ranok’s Ramblings

Slow down Speed up

After spending a day in Sedisfjordur taking in the sights and going for a run, we continued our trek south. We were able to make it back to the city of Egilstadir without much difficulty, but traffic going south on the ring road was in short supply. We kept optimistic and a few hours later we were comfortably seated in a farmer's SUV zipping along the countryside. Our driver was a retired engineer who decided to buy a 47 square kilometer farm with about 500 sheep and spend his later years tending to his newly aquired flock. He invited us to see the farm and spend the night, his wife was in the US visiting their new grand children and he said he would love some company. We happily accepted his offer and we were given the grand tour and helped him feed a lamb who's mother had died that morning. The farmer had a knack for architecture and had redone much of the farm to be a beautiful estate. After a meal of my first pork in a few years, we headed to bed. The following morning after breakfast we set out again on a small gravel road to Hofn. In almost no time a car pulled over and let us in, two doctors who work bringing better healthcare to developing nations. The husband was an advid bird watcher, stopping the car regularly to peer through binoculars trying to spot one of the three nesting birds of Iceland he has not yet seen. Unluckily for him a bank of fog rolled in, obscuring most of the countryside and birdlife. After being dropped in Hofn and settling in at the hostel, we headed for the pool before dinner and bed. At the market we saw a small container of what looked like fish marked Hakarl, the famed putrid shark meal typical to Iceland. After making our purchase we excitely prepared other foods to rid ourselves of the taste in the event that it really was as bad as it sounded and tried some. Much to our disgust, it was one of the worst gustatory experiences of our life, a mix of rubbery, fishy and chemical taste that was most resistant to our other palate cleansers. Once that was checked off our list we cooked some not rotten food and settled in to bed.
The following morning we continued along the ring road towards Skaftafell, the glacier national park. We were picked up by a british couple in an old Landrover and when we asked to be dropped at the end of a mountain track heading to a place to go snowmobiling on the glacier, they insisted to use their rental car to its full potential, so up we went, zigzagging up the mountain side to the largest non-polar glacier in the world. At the top the couple decided to join us for the trip and soon we were zipping across the snow, first with Chelsea driving then after a photo break, I took over, pushing the machine to its limits, a nice 75kmph. In the back, I heard Chelsea laughing, or so I thought, when we were done, she told me she was instead yelling for me to slow down, whoops!
After an exciting trip back down the mountain we made it to Skaftafell just in time to cook some pasta and head to bed.

That should hold you over until my next installment
Jacob

Posted via email from Ranok’s Ramblings