Travel to Iceland

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references

Our journey to Iceland begins with a lucky series of events ..? yes .. apparently even in these things you need a good dose of side b. The first and essential circumstance? finding a super discounted flight on the internet; browsing for the numerous travel sites in search of a destination for summer holidays, fun, interesting, naturalistic and with a good price, considering the holidays in August maybe I have more? probability to win the lottery ..

My healthy habit of visiting airline websites from time to time has paid off again this time and I have found cheap flights to Reyjav? K with Icelandexpress. After having appropriately twisted and bowed the discovery by presenting it to my husband as an unmissable opportunity, more? unique that rare, of those that happen only once in a lifetime, we book flights. The outbound flight? from Frankfurt, while the return, pi? convenient and cheap,? about London. Considering that both airports are served by Ryanair, my husband's zeal and precision is enough to fit it all into perfect travel planning. We had been dreaming of visiting these places for years, in the past we had had more? opportunities to appreciate the Nordic landscapes and Iceland? ap? like the icing on the cake, juicy, irresistible but aim? not really cheap, cos? we had always folded up in trips more? tailored to our wallet.

As always, the journey begins weeks before departure, internet? a precious tool to collect useful information, contact other travelers, organize overnight stays and trips, in this my husband? very good but my romantic nature also leads me to document myself in another way. I contact the Icelandic tourist office and have some material sent home,? free and send guides, maps and precious brochures with conventional and non-conventional excursions, in case I feel like visiting the polar cap well I have the contact details of the guy who takes me there! A visit to the bookstore for the purchase of guides and books on Iceland. I study the history of the nation and find that? seat of the pi? old parliament in the world still in existence, the ideal place for a liberal like me! Do I read that? also been colonized by the Vikings,? perfect why? I am interested in the history of this people already? on my travels in Scandinavia. I also document on the typical cuisine, will I have to? while it tastes local dishes don't you think? Do I repent when I find that the rotten shark meat? considered a delicacy, which specialties? local are the sheep's head complete with eyes and brain and a mixture of sheep offal; well in any case better to know these things first than to discover them at the restaurant! Moreover ? it is my custom to memorize some words of the local language, things like hello, thank you and goodbye. I have always thought that it is a form of courtesy towards the people who host me and this thing I must say has always aroused sympathy to my interlocutor. Vabb?, My husband thinks it is for the macaronic pronunciation but this? another story. Do you have any idea of ​​com? l? Icelandic? Well I don't even know if? possible to get an idea of ​​such a language! I know that ? a germanic language but visibly seem the confused signs of when my son plays with the pc keyboard. In any case, I don't give up and learn to say hello (G ?? an daginn, Gott kv? Lg) and to thank (Takk fyrir) even if my forte? goodbye (Bless). Fascinating? the Icelandic name system, built with the patronymic system using the suffix dottir e son (daughter, son) and the name of the father or mother. What? most Icelanders have no surname and are called, for example, Jon's son Erik. This system? destined to persist since? forbidden to give non-Icelandic names to children, I think of the difficulty? to consult a telephone directory but since the population? of only 288.000 inhabitants, many of whom know each other or are at least distantly related, the phone directory issue shouldn't be a problem.

While the droplets of sweat irrigate my forehead intent on studying the uses and customs of this distant land, droplets that would have fallen anyway even without 30 degrees, the perfect hubby organizer studies a rough itinerary to be able to visit the places? that we consider important. Considering the days we have available, we can basically allow ourselves a tour of the island along the Ring Road, the state road n.1, with appropriate stops and detours. Too bad why? Iceland inspires the explorer who? In me! At this point ? need to rent a car. The information we have gathered strongly recommends a 4x4 but the prices we have found are excessive. The topic ignites a discussion, the hubby says that if everyone recommends this type of car there will be a reason ?, I argue that an advice? a suggestion not an obligation! After the meeting in the living room complete with coffee break we come to the conclusion that having to travel almost entirely on the main road and being only two we do not need a 4x4 car. Honestly, even now I don't understand why? I had to promise that I would never complain about the space, about the holes, about anything? in short, in practice the car topic must be a tab for me ?! Mom used to say, go and understand men! With the help of the website we book a sparkling Toyota Yaris, I am convinced that it will go? pi? what good!

At least a couple of weeks before departure, as every woman knows,? it is advisable to start thinking about what to pack. A self-respecting globetrotter brings with her what is needed for every circumstance and eventuality. I take a good hour to reflect, the topic? serious and requires maximum concentration and the right location: the beach bed. I brain to hypothesize a circumstance in which the very trendy shoes I bought yesterday would be perfect but I just can't imagine them even remotely, so I reluctantly decide to leave them at home as long as I polish them the day before departure. After a consultation with Andrea, partly to delude him that he has a say on the topic of clothing, I learn that according to his information, time will be? variable, with high probability? rain and in any case always cold. The perfect suitcase of the aforementioned globetrotter (I, of course) will understand? sportswear, comfortable and warm, better if thermal; heavy windproof, rainproof jacket, hat with ear flaps and hiking boots, some t-shirts why? if the sun comes out it could be hot, swimsuit and the precious towel, essential for bathing in the thermal springs. A possibly waterproof backpack, photographic equipment, guides and a medicine bag where, to the usual drugs, I thought of adding a good insect repellent and protective creams for wind and sun. Now in hindsight I have to admit that the reflection break on the beach? was useful why? pi? or not we had everything we needed with us. Particularly useful are the rain pants, warm hats and strictly with pompoms, the towel why? when you decide to take a bath water? hot? true but when you decide to re-emerge after the sacrosanct restorative break there are serious risks of frostbite! In confidence, I must admit that I made a mistake in the choice of the backpack, too big, and with our short walks, useless as well? not very waterproof; I should have brought a nylon backpack cover. Finally the recommendation pi? important that, okay does some? aunt, but believe me? really very useful with a climate like this? variable like the one we met? the onion dressing. A separate chapter deserves the photographic equipment but aim? I am not competent, not to say that I do not understand a? acca, but around the country, even in remote and inaccessible corners you will always find some amateur photographer but with the air of an expert who, surrounded by his equipment, yes concentrates to correctly capture a blade of grass. With hindsight and the reflections gained in the weeks following the return I should have prepared myself better, why? the landscapes are nothing short of stunning. I should have taken a photography course, asked my photographer friend for some suggestions, bought a book that talks about light and angle, maybe a bignami, or at least buy some of that equipment that would have contributed if nothing else to give me a tone. Instead nothing, did I do none of this? and I left with my compact machine, one of those loved by old ladies who do everything out of sight, I had to make do, I did as best I could. But now that I think about it, maybe in the end? went better this way, maybe the glass? half full and I didn't notice, maybe .. I don't have enough artistic material to organize dinner shows with friends that com? known are dying to spend those 15/16 hours looking at photos and hearing stories. I did not have the satisfaction of worthily portraying the beautiful scenery of this magical land but I lived them, I got bogged down in the mud of the thermal spring, I felt the wind sting my cheeks as it pushes the clouds and makes the steam flutter, I got wet with the rain is heated with the sun that accomplices draw the rainbow. Iceland, its impetuousness, its marvelous landscapes, the hospitality of its inhabitants, its ice and its warmth, are now part of me, they are in my heart and in my memory, every now and then I fish out a little piece that makes me smile and leaves me with the same bewildered and dreamy look I had when I have lived these experiences.

1 day

August 18 2007

Long last ? the big day arrived, we load the suitcase and super-equipped backpack into the car and we are ready to leave with the direction of Forl ?. Arrived at the airport we leave our suv in the city? serving much while in Iceland? only recommended but not essential (sorry here my husband broke in and demanded this addition, who knows why?) and we embark with direction Frankfurt Hann. The plane arrives late in the evening but aim? the infamous refreshment points of the airport are closed and we spend the evening in the company of other vacationers at the sign of the pi? wild or not. The next flight allows us at least to be comfortable and sleep ap? during the trip? I admit I just noticed the take off before I passed out! They could have taken me anywhere and I would have realized it the next morning! We arrive in Keflav? K during the night, wearing only summer clothes with a jacket brought for the occasion. Maremma, how cold! It is freezing, but a cold cold cold of those that make teeth chatter! The night ? windy, not completely dark and for those who did not understand it cold! We booked in a motel close to the airport, convenient, cheap and with the free shuttle service to and from the airport so? can you? save a day of car rental or at least have a ride if you arrive at strange times.

2 day

August 19 2007

The next morning wake up early, this thing does so much boy scout and ladybug but the truth? ? that the proximity to the airport? ap? noisy! Basically, planes land on your head! Fortunately, there are very few flights at night but in the morning you may have a rude awakening! Breakfast with soup to enter the Icelandic climate? Apart from the biscuits that I secretly eat while Andrea was in the bathroom? We collect our Toyota Yaris at the airport rental and leave for one of the most? visit of the country, the cos? called the golden circle. The landscape ? very strange, imagine a road with little traffic that runs along the jagged coast, the sea? calm and believe me the color suggests a freezing temperature! From the window endless plains follow one another, apparently they seem barren but the watchful eye of a? observer (mine) identifies the typical Nordic vegetation, the mosses and lichens that the science teacher explained many years ago; here I recognized them! The vegetation ? studded with rocks, with disparate shapes and sizes, it looks like icing sugar that the pastry chef passes on the freshly baked cake! C ?? a light rain, fine and persistent but this time does not seem dull rather relaxing. The first goal? the? ingvellir national park, a picturesque valley where hills, lakes and lava flows alternate. The area ? equipped with a visitor center where ?? It is possible to find maps and didactic material. Established in 1928? first national park in the country and spreads between two fissures next to the river where in 930 it gathered? l? Al? ing, the first Icelandic parliament. I learn from the guide that? The? Ingvellir extends over the rift (rift valley) between the North American and European plate? and I hardly believe my eyes: in practice I am on two continents! Man this thing could come in handy in trivial pursuit!

After a short drive through a large part of the park we arrive in Geysir. This is the pi? famous tourist attraction of the country but we do not find the mass of tourist? s facilities that would undoubtedly disfigure the environment and atmosphere. Gi? after visiting two famous icelandic attractions i understand that here nature? loved and respected, I don't find stalls, flocks of guides with raised umbrellas or dozens of restaurants. We walk along the path and, while we look curiously at the innumerable cracks in the ground from which he sees hot water, a roar takes us by surprise and there he is? the Geyser! We are amazed, in short, you walk quietly and suddenly fruuuummmmmmm a column of water 30 meters high explodes out of nowhere! This is the Strokkur, the pi? Swiss among the geysers that emits gushes every 10 minutes! Enthusiastic about this show, we settle in pole position for the next explosion. In this circumstance we are unexpectedly perspicacious in fact, observing the disposition of the other tourists, we deduce that if they are almost all on one side of the crater there will be? one reason: the wind! We look at the crater, a hole full of bubbling water, the bubbles are more and more? large and numerous, then a surf and frummmmm here it is again, how wonderful!

Not far from Geysir is the pi? famous waterfall of Iceland: Gullfoss. We arrive at the car park, leave the car and walk towards the waterfall. Its majesty is not immediately perceived, then at a certain point of the pedestrian path just behind the café, Gulfoss shows itself in all its wonder. We are enchanted for a few minutes to enjoy this incredible landscape before approaching further and photographing it from every possible angle. Also in this case the tourist attraction is not chaotic, everything? left at the mercy of nature or almost. C ?? a café, a small museum and the pedestrian paths that facilitate the visit of the tourist, to be followed with caution for? due to the slippery ground.

We continue to travel on road 35 in the direction of Selffos and then return to road number 1 to reach Vik, our final destination. Along the road just before Vik we stop at Sk? Gar, a tiny village at the foot of the Eyjafjallaj? Kull glacier. Gi? from the road we spot the attraction of the village: the spectacular Sk? gafoss waterfall. Sk? Gafoss leaps 62m off a moss-covered cliff in huge splashes. The wind ? really strong and cold but we fearless tourists challenge adverse conditions by reaching under the waterfall where the noise? deafening and the spray drenches us, never mind seeing it is raining. The village also has a beautiful Folklore Museum which illustrates aspects of Icelandic life. Unfortunately we have enough time to visit it but we still go for an inspection and visit the beautiful houses with the grass roof.

In the evening we arrive in Vik but before staying in the chosen guesthouse we decide to visit another great attraction of the country the coast of Dyrh? Laey. This ? the first circumstance in which my husband expresses, for cos? say, his regret for not choosing a 4x4 car. The way to go, in fact,? track n.218, unpaved, full of holes and populated by bontemponi elves who offer condolences to the car suspension! The journey? rather long due to the speed? very small of our car but lovely! We are in an almost deserted corner of the world, with splendid landscapes and an enchanted rainbow to show us the destination! We meet horses, sheep and a great variety? of birds. Speaking of birds,? precisely in these cliffs that the puffins nest. I did not understand the reason but it seems that on August 16th these cute little animals go to other shores! What? how do they know when? the 16th of August? Maybe they have an old calendar, maybe we are lucky and we can see at least one! We arrive on a plateau with a breathtaking view of the Dyrh? Laey rock arch. Wonderful! We walk on the black beach, everything? black to tell the truth, the sea has a terrifying undertow and the wind blows very strong. We stay long to enjoy a sunset that is not? sunset, that is? the sun does not disappear but paints the sky with a thousand colors! What peace, what ancestral harmony with mother nature! After enjoying the generating force of nature, exhausted but satisfied, we finally go to the booked guesthouse. We are welcomed by the very nice owners but not even they know how to explain the thing about the puffins and they tell me that to spot them I will have? need luck. They also add a traditional recipe that I prefer to gloss over.

3 day

August 20 2007

The next day begins with a shower in the company of the spy horse peeking out of the window and with the sumptuous breakfast prepared by Mrs. Sigr? N. The car? already? on state 1 directed towards the first destination of the day: Skaftafell National Park. This stretch of road? beautiful, it crosses farms, mountains, glacier tongues and the sandur, that is the land composed of deposits of silt, sand and gravel eroded by the glaciers and transported downstream by water. The Skaftafell? the pi? Iceland's large and well-known national park and? a custom for locals to spend weekends there. IS? very nice and interesting to visit why? you can? approach the glacier very easily, so much so that with our car and a little patience, we cover a short stretch of dirt road and park almost on the ice! C ?? a very efficient visitor center that provides information and maps for do-it-yourself trips or organizes wonderful guided tours. Our visit is limited to the short walk to the famous Svartifoss waterfall which is reached by a path that can be covered in about 1 hour. We see it from afar already? along the path and from this angle the view? a bit disappointing but once we get under the waterfall we are left speechless. The particularity? what distinguishes it are the numerous overhanging basalt columns, it looks like a gigantic organ! Too bad for the company of tourists that I decide to take a bath and that appears inexorably in all the photos!?. And thank God this time they are not Italian!

Back on the Ring Road we make some short scenic stops before stopping at one of the most popular destinations. highlights of the trip: J? kuls? rl? n, glacial river lagoon. It is a lagoon that partly borders the main road on which icebergs float! Not everyday stuff! We decide that this marvel deserves a stop, and in no time we get the tickets for the excursion on an amphibious vehicle. Visit ? very interesting and spectacular! We have the opportunity to photograph icebergs of all shapes and sizes, we see seals and touch a piece of ice with our hands! I'm serious! On the contrary, I find myself the last tourist to have the piece of iceberg in my hands and I don't know more? who to pass it to! Ugh once again I lost the game of broom!

In the afternoon we arrive in H? Fn, the main city? and southeastern port. The town? delicious and the port very characteristic but the thing that remains etched in the memory? a local dish that has earned a place of honor in my taste buds database! I highly recommend the king prawns with sauce from Kaffi Horni ?, a real delicacy appreciated in a really nice place!

For the night we find a cheap accommodation in a guesthouse, even if the structure near the port always of the same owners seems much more? pretty of ours!

4 day

August 21 2007

Today should be a transfer day; in the prospectus that Andrea consults as a propitiatory / superstitious rite, no destinations to visit in depth are indicated. We leave H? Fn early considering the amount of road to be ground in the day. IS? amazing how a transfer day can reserve you surprises so? intense. The views of this part of Iceland are spectacular! The Ring Road? mostly unpaved, with little traffic and runs along the eastern fjords and then continue towards the interior, we also choose to take a part of road no. 96 to Rey? Arfjor? Ur to enjoy the suggestive landscape again before rejoining the main road. The journey? a succession of panoramic views that we too, with our modest photographic equipment, are able to capture in very suggestive shots. The road conditions, the continuous curves and ups and downs and the countless panoramic points fill much more? of the time we thought we would take for this route but it is absolutely worth it! The internal route from Rey? Arfjor? Ur to Egilssta? Ir? very little traffic, we travel miles and miles between hills and mountains, dodging suicidal sheep and treacherous holes without crossing a car! Egilssta? Ir, the capital of this remote and sparsely inhabited part of the island,? surrounded by forests and located by the lake L? gurinn which, like any good lake that respects itself, has its good local monster, the Lagarflj? tsormurrin (Lagarflj? t snake from the name of the river). Having a few hours to visit the area, we decide to go as far as Sey? Isj? R? Ur che according to the Lonely Planet? the pi? beautiful fjord of Iceland, is a village with a typically boh? mienne atmosphere due to the community? of artists, musicians and artisans who live there.

The street ? undoubtedly very scenic but once we arrive at the boh? mienne village we stay ap? disappointed. It is undoubtedly a picturesque fishing village but? completely deserted, we do not meet any artist, only some fishermen intent on doing I don't know what. Maybe ? the fault of the premises too entered the guide, maybe we caught the wrong time or, probably, our sight was already? was worthily satisfied along the road to the fjords.

For this evening we choose a farm with a riding school, but a? sudden downpour silences my velleit? as an Amazon that already? for days he had been eager to ride a very famous Icelandic horse.

5 day

August 22 2007

Today's program includes a visit to a very suggestive destination, Lake M? Vatn, that is? the? lake of midges ?. This thing has disturbed and at the same time intrigued me since before our arrival. Area ? populated mainly by two species of midges both attracted by the carbon dioxide that is emitted by breathing. C ?? the annoying and kamikaze species that tortures eyes, ears, nose and mouth to decide without warning to dive into a sinister tour up to the lungs. Then c ?? the bastard species, which, says the guide,? particularly attracted to thick hair, among which they love to curl up and then dedicate themselves to imitating the sound of a chainsaw, needless to say, in your opinion, how can I have hair? Rasta model of course! Do they sell hair nets with masks on the spot, or? much more? cheap to buy a meter of mosquito net in the hardware store. We are lucky: suitably harnessed with raised collar, scarf and two hats, we foil the constant ambushes of the bastard midges and incredible but true they don't even mistake us for robbers! Before arriving at the lake c ?? an expanse of solfataras that certainly deserves a stop. IS? the first time that I am in a landscape so? strange, it seems to be on the moon, but no hell but no? I don't know why? I don't know either place but believe me? single! Does it smell too? only?

With our car we reach the Krafla crater, enjoying these very special landscapes! We skirt the lake and head towards the goal of the day: H? Savik. A detour? d? obligation for the visit of Dettifoss, the pi? great waterfall of Europe. This marvel is located inside the J? Kuls? Rglj? Fur national park, an unpronounceable name that means? Glacial river canyon? and say that there? access ? difficult? a? euphemism in fact the only way to go? entirely of gravel in poor condition! Is the destination worth the trip, Dettifoss? incredible; we are amazed by its grandeur and majesty. The view of the Asbyrgi Canyon? beautiful and evocative, it is a horseshoe-shaped canyon that mythology wants to be the imprint of one of the hooves of Odin's horse. The visit to this park does not end here for us bold young people who, braving the rain and the icy wind, set out towards the Selfoss waterfall.

In the evening we arrive in the charming town of H? Savik, have dinner in a delicious restaurant and sleep in the historic inn of the place.

6 day

August 23 2007

Up early at 6 am, breakfast with harangue and appropriate clothing to face the icy Arctic ocean. At 8 in the morning we are part of that group of tourists who wander numb among the docks of the port waiting for a friendly voice to announce the start of the boat trip. We get on board and harnessed with waxed capes we are ready to set sail for a great adventure: whale watching. The boat? an old whaler with a kind of turret from where the lynx eye man sees the cetaceans, promptly warns the speaker guide who yells something like? fin whale at 10 o'clock? and all of us tourists rush to a favorable position to see it! These sighting dynamics are funny to me but the show? extraordinary. IS? the first time I observe from cos? near the whales, in almost three hours we see several and every time? a unique emotion. Wonderful! There are a good 10 minutes in which three cetaceans are swimming next to our boat! How beautiful! The sounds they emit have something metaphysical! Every time a whale sinks we can admire its fin which, inevitably,? accompanied by the enchanted comments of the spectators. This area ? the whale watching paradise and I highly recommend not to miss this opportunity to meet one of the great wonders of nature! And then ... when you return to the port they offer sweets and hot chocolate!

Let's go back to the Ring Road towards Go? Afoss (waterfall of the Gods). This waterfall? very beautiful but her name is not? due to aesthetic characteristics but? to a historical event. Around the year 1000 Iceland became a Christian nation; the speaker of the law who made this decision lived in these parts and, returning home, threw? in this horseshoe-shaped waterfall the sculptures of the deities? Norse, attributing it so? the current name.

In the afternoon we reach Akureyri, defined as the most? beautiful city? d? Iceland. In fact, the town is located in a splendid position and in the pedestrian area there are shops, cafes? and restaurants. Nothing chaotic, rather the atmosphere? the relaxed one typical of small towns. Let's do ap? shopping at a Christmas shop just outside of town, groceries at the supermarket and dinner at the hostel with a couple from New Zealand cooking for a regiment!

7 day

August 24 2007

We are now on the way back, we grind quickly and with a veil of sadness the many kilometers that separate Akureyri from Reyjav? K, knowing that we should soon be returning home. We arrive in the capital, which, despite being a small city? and rather quiet, it looks like a metropolis to us! The impact? a destabilizing hair! Did we book one of the cheapest hotels in the city? and after long discussions yes? awarded as the worst hotel we have ever slept in! We spend the afternoon and evening in the streets of the center, alternating shopping, gourmet stops and visits to centers of interest such as the? Hallgr? Mskirkja, from whose tower you can enjoy the best view of the city ?. In the evening ? expected one thing that my husband dreams of from before departure: the runtur, that is? Reyjav's Club Tour? k. His curiosity? ? satisfied only in part, little part would he say, the fact? that we are physically unable to stay late, every cell of my body sings the lullaby already? at 10 in the evening. He says he can but I know what? a pale attempt to keep up appearances and blame me when, once back home, he would tell his friends about the Icelandic good night! Also, unconfirmed rumors passing through the walls of men's changing rooms speak of the myth of uninhibited Icelanders! Here I do not know what my husband expected, perhaps he thought he was a rare species of Italian man capable of igniting the fiery nature of the Icelanders, I do not understand and I do not want to understand the role that I would have had in all this but in any case, his expectations in this area remain disappointed!

8 day

August 25 2007

Do we spend the morning visiting the city again? and its surroundings before moving to Keflav? k. We take possession of our bungalow at Motel Alex before ending the day and the trip worthily. We enjoy a couple of hours of pure relaxation at the Blue Lagoon! Moments of true enjoyment! Relax and as I like to think rejuvenated by at least 10 years we sleep like little angels until the next morning.

9 day

August 26 2007

IS? now it's time to go home, too early a flight will take us? to London and with another too late we will fly to Forl ?.

Travel ? was a wonder, much more? than what I had imagined. I had read, studied, viewed, but nothing comes close to the emotions I felt in reality. If my brain and my eyes had memory in jigs, Iceland would take up most of it. Am I exaggerating? No believe me, Iceland? the land where dreams come true. My dream ? born after exactly 9 months and? our wonderful baby! Thanks Iceland!

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