Category Archives: Iceland 2008

Icelandic Web Album Live at Last

Finally my web album from Iceland — including the inspiring and sometimes frightening, yet visually gobsmacking drive through the eastern fjords in the wintertime is up — I haven’t spent anytime identifying the different places, but some of the images are astounding and worth a look. At some point when the craziness that is Christmas dies down, I’ll do the edit.

Any for all of you off work sleep late, eat lots, ski and/or lie in the sun. Read, read and read some more. Merry Christmas.

More common to fly than to drive

More common to fly than to drive

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Iceland 2008

Loving Life in Reykjavik

It’s been quite a few days between blog posts; Eee PC is toast, and we had little or no internet access while on our road trip. We left East Iceland on Friday morning at first light: 10am with a mixture of sadness, after all I’d been there for three weeks, and anticipation at seeing Iceland in the winter in our four by four SUV, it was silver, and I can’t remember the exact make, but it rocked. Once I get home, I will post pictures of our drive, but for now I’ll be brief, because really, it is close to impossible to describe the wild desolation and grim beauty of this amazing and geologically radical country.

Nobody really warned us that the drive would be as challenging as it was. When we arrived in Reykjavik, we realized that most people and especially tourists might not attempt this in December. People looked shocked when we told them from whence we’d come…Often the narrow roads were covered in snow and ice and it was difficult to navigate our way around, over and sometimes through the mountain passes and along the coastline. Sometimes hours went by without seeing another car, and the small farms and villages we passed seemed devoid of any human life. There were a few tense moments when we thought we were lost, or might run out of gas, but these were quickly forgotten when we saw the hundreds of Icelandic horses, or the herd of wild reindeer or the apocalyptic lava fields or the turf houses or the jagged mountains rising out of the turquoise blue Atlantic Ocean.

During our road trip, the exchange rate swung crazily, so that by the time we reached civilization there was great confusion over the strength of the Canadian dollar against the Kroner. On Thursday it was I dollar equaled 181 ISK — not bad. After so long away from stores, we indulged ourselves in the shops of Reykjavik and the outlying areas, discovering too late that the Kroner had left the dollar in its dust — ($1.00 = 91 ISK – ouch), and everything we’d purchased as well as our hotel room and meals had effectively doubled in price.

Reykjavik is very Euro — most of the people are friendly and there is an amazing coffee culture here which I wish Vancouver could emulate. People hang in coffee houses writing, reading and talking in comfy chairs and couches and if you are likely to hear three or four different languages being spoken all at the same time.

There is a baby born every hour in Iceland, so the streets are full of mums pushing prams — there is no stigma around being a single mother and the social programs make ours look non-existent, so parents are not stressed over money, school, medical care…It’s oddly white middle class and that is probably what is missing here — multiculturalism, but this is a good life and an enviable one. Music is valued and most bars have DJs or live musicians and cover charges are rare — there are no problems with crime, except there was a carjacking last year, which blew everyone away, because that kind of thing just does not happen here.

BTW — nice hotel here in Reykjavik on the main street close to all the bars, shops and eating places — I’d provide the link, but I don’t know the keyboard shortcuts on this borrowed Mac, but it is called Hotel Fron. Costs about 9,000 ISK a night which used to be really cheap, but isn’t anymore.

Gotta Go. Blue Lagoon in the morning and then back here on Thursday for our final night in the Land of Fire and Ice. 😦

I will go into much detail on the road trip once I get home.

3 Comments

Filed under Iceland 2008

Last Day at Gunnar Gunnersson´s Mansion

Red-roofed Barn

Red-roofed Barn

Roadtrip

Roadtrip

Looking out to the Horses

Looking out to the Horses

I woke up today feeling sad, because this afternoon we pick up our rental jeep, and on Friday morning at 10am (daylightf), we leave for our southern roadtrip.

It is snowing lightly here today and very cold and I have a few reservations about driving in the snow — not being a road trip kind of girl, but we have a good car and Joy is quite confident we will not slide off the road and disappear forever into a snow drift. (I´ve packed a tea-light and a candle to keep us warm, and chocolate so we don´t starve, just in case we run into problems).

Our first stop will be a little town called Hofn were we will stay on a farm that doubles as a writer´s retreat. Hofna is on the sea. The next day, we will meander through the snow storms to the geysers, where we will overnight and the next day on to Reykyavik and shopping, blue lagoon, music. We are going the bar owned by Blur´s Damon Albarn (Kaffibarinn), and will have the whole week to explore the city.

Kaffibarinn was the bar featured in the most horrible film, 101 Reykjavik, so we have already had a preview of the inside.

It took a long time for me to get used to the isolation here, and there were many sleepless nights lying awake with only BBC as company, but eventually I did get used to it. I will miss waking up to look out the window at the horses, and the long hours where I could sit by the window and write without any interuptions. I will miss the moonscape that is East Iceland, but I have to admit, one can only spend so much time living in a climate that feels like the inside of a fridge. It will be great to get back to my rainforest…and I am flying back Air Canada, not Delta, so I should make all of my connections.

We hope to find some good resturants, but we do have a list of things we will not be eating:

    Baby puffin
    Purtified Shark
    Whales
    Seals
    Sheep heads, stomachs, feet, or anything that say, “baaa…” I´ve kind of bonded with these creatures over the last three weeks.

This had been a wonderful opportunity and the images of East Iceland will stay with me forever.

Leave a comment

Filed under Iceland 2008

Rest Day in Egilsstaoir

Last night Joy and I decided we would get up early and work really hard all day, and try not to eat too much chocolate.

Today, we got up a little late and spent most of the day in town in the amazing outdoor pool and spa. These thermal-heated pools, plunked down in the middle of towns are quite surreal and leave one feeling relaxed and starving — so of course we came home for a big dinner, and I just know there will be more chocolate to follow — perhaps during the movie.

But not before we book our treatments at the Blue Lagoon for next week! We´ve decided we will have to stay there overnight and perhaps forever…Half light of daytime

Leave a comment

Filed under Iceland 2008

Photo: the blue barn

Part of the Landscape

Part of the Landscape

1 Comment

Filed under Iceland 2008

Must-See Icelandic Films

Haldora the most wonderful coordinator here at Klaustrid gave me three movies to watch on my DVD and I´ve really enjoyed each one of them. For the ultimate in dysfunctional family flicks, Hafid is a must see. No matter how bad you think your family might be, this one is worse…making it a feel-good flic 🙂

For a more Stephen King point of view, try Kold Slod, which means Cold Trail (2006) A love story slash murder mystery with a twist…

A really bad movie: 101 Reykjavik by Baltasar Kormakur: rating — Gay Comedy, not rated. Says in house movie critic, “I would rather have non-medicated open heart surgery than watch this again!”

Yet to see:
Cold Fever
Children of Nature
The Swamp (Myrin)

And my favourite creepy film (the scene with the bird will stay in my mind forever) watch Kaldaljos.

I am hoping to convince Jonathan to screen these all when I get home — Icelandic movie night.

5 Comments

Filed under Iceland 2008, Uncategorized

EEE PC in Iceland

Baby computer is with me in Iceland, and of everything electronic that I brought with me, yes, including my ipod and logitech player, it is her that I´ve appreciated the most. At night, when the wind howls and I lie awake listening for strange noises, little rock solid touches my heart by providing me with overnight talk shows — usually BBC, and sometimes, for few minutes, CNN — but that station is pretty bad.
Why oh why can´t I get CBC — streaming problems…

After a few hours of frustration, I finally figured out how to download picasa for linux, and now little computer can manage my photos. The best part is that my EEE PC travels with me everywhere I go in my purse, and she is much lighter than all of my other junk. I can´t imagine packing around a big laptop half way around the world.

Possibly, this was one of the best “I see you in the store window and I must buy you now,”
moments that I have ever had.

Now, I dream of the 1000…

1 Comment

Filed under Iceland 2008, Uncategorized