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So…Iceland

Last week I promised I’d share some memories of my recent Iceland trip and I’ve finally gotten a moment to sit down and put something together. This was a trip orchestrated by my daughter and which included myself, hubby, darling daughter and one of my fabulous nieces. This is us at the start of the trip. Notice the excellent and wicked expensive hiking boots we all have on. Necessary for walking, hiking, and basically existing in Iceland.

On my last blog I shared the things I liked and didn’t like so much about the tiny island. One of the things I had trouble with is the weather. I rained everyday. Every. Single. Day. All day. So we spent a great deal of time in the car, traveling to sites. One of my favorite places was to a waterfall, about 50 miles from downtown Reykjavik. Touring a waterfall on a warm, sunny day would have been bliss. On an already 45 degree, raining and windy day it….wasn’t. But it was fun! We actually got to climb up the perimeter of the waterfall and go behind it. I filmed a few seconds of our time as we stood behind the powerful rush and took a bunch of photos.

After the waterfall we drove to a LavaRock Tunnel. Think Carlsbad Caverns, but in Iceland. We went down into the bowels of Iceland about 60 meters ( 180 feet for you Americans, like me!!). I have to tell you, I was scared. Of so many things, but the biggest thing was the fear of being trapped underground should the lava shift and fall in on us.

You can see from this picture that this is the start of the “tour.” There is a huge whole in the ground where snow routinely falls into all year long. Notice the black rock we maneuvered over – that’s lava rock. 1,000,000 year old lava rock. Okay I’m not sure that’s how old it is, but you get the idea. It didn’t form last week. Not even last century! And yes, those are hard hats with lights attached to our heads. Second biggest fear? The lights would burn out and we’d been in total and complete darkness and unable to find our way back to the beginning of the cave. Told you I was scared!

On the last day of the trip we spent the day sightseeing in Reykjavik. Since it was yet another cold, rainy, and windy day, we figured we’d museum hop. 

I was able to take one picture before my daughter silently pointed to a sign that said “photography prohibited” in eight languages. Ooops. One cool thing about the city: tucked into sidestreets and painted along the sides of buildings and random houses, are dozens of street art painting. This one was my favorite:

It covered the complete side of an office building, so to get some perspective on it, the entire mural was about ten feet wide by 30 feet tall. Impressive!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the food and some other places we went. Here’s a hint: it was rainy and cold. (Heehee)

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Tales from Iceland…

So. I’ve been on radio silence for the last week because I’ve been vacationing with the family in Iceland.

Yes, that Iceland.

Why Iceland, you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya.

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter and I no longer give one another birthday presents, instead opting to give one another experiences. Last year we went to trapeze school, so this year, I decided I wanted a trip for my b’day. My daughter went to Iceland for work a few years ago and loved it. I am a rabid fan and watcher of all things Housewives related and last year the OC girls went to Iceland and it looked beautiful. So, I said, why not go there this year? Daughter said yes, hubby said yes and we invited my niece ( who’s also hubby’s Goddaughter) to go with us. Hubby would be in charge of our itinerary, and daughter would reserved our lodgings. She did good, too. We AIRBNB’d at a farmhouse in Reykjavik.

Too cool.

Now, over the next few days I’ll give you a feel for what we did, but first I want to tell you the things I liked and didn’t like so much about Iceland.

Liked first:

1.The people

2. The roads

3. The venues we traveled to

4. The airport

5. The cleanliness of the country

 

The things I wasn’t too thrilled about:

1.The water smells like rotten eggs ( sulfur)

2. The weather is awful. All the time.

3. The price of things is waaaaaaaay ridiculous

4. You can’t go to the bathroom in a public place without having to pay.

5. it’s light out, literally and truthfully, 24 hours a day – no nightfall at all while we were there.

And now for some clarity. On the things I liked list:

The people are so friendly, they ALL speak English ( so yay!!) and they genuinely seem happy. The roads are amazing. Single lanes both ways, but not one pothole, dirt road, divet, or detour anywhere we traveled. You can see what they spend tax money on plain as day. All the places we went to visit were great! The airport was super clean,  accessible, and made sense to a foreigner ( me!). This is the cleanest country I have ever been in. No garbage, no litter, no homeless, no druggies.

Now, the negatives.

The country was formed when a volcano exploded so there is lava rock everywhere. Because of this, they are geothermal. The water comes from the underbelly of the lava so it smells like sulfur. Big time. I held my nose every shower I took. It rained everyday. All day. And never got above 50 degrees. I will never complain about the prices of things in the US again. A hamburger cost 29 dollars. A 16 oz. diet soda was 5.5o. Lunch routinely cost us 100.00. LUNCH! The kronur is 100 to 1 US dollar. 5 dollars is 500 kronars. Ridiculous. Also ridiculous is that you have to pay to pee. Everywhere. The public restrooms cost us 200 Kronur per pee each. I’m sorry, but there are some things in life that should be free: air, water, dirt, and the ability to pee. My daughter told me that this is a big thing in Europe = paying to use the public toilet. I stopped drinking completely when I found this out, Really. I was practically dehydrated, but I didn’t have to pay to pee. Everywhere we stopped I told my girls, ” find out if you can pee for free.”

A word about the perpetual light. It’s a real thing. There were blackout shades over all the windows in the house we stayed in, but it really didn’t make that much of a difference. At 2 oclock in the morning it looked like 3 pm outside. Very unsettling to the psyche.

Overall, I enjoyed the vaca, despite the few negatives. Would I go back? Probably not. It was a one and done for me. But I’m glad I went and saw the land of the midnight sun. Which is a thing. Really.

 

 

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