Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Iceland Chronicles - Day I

Lior's account:

We landed in Iceland at about midnight and it was raining, actual rain, something which is like a breath of fresh air after months of dying of heat. 

Upon leaving the airport we took a taxi to a nearby hotel and that is where we stayed the night, but this is all a prologue to our chronicles in Iceland and not at all relevant to the actual story.

the first day at Iceland started as most days do, with breakfast. it was the usual buffet, the conclusion was, BREAD IS GOOD. After the hearty breakfast we waited a while in our rooms, for the people from the RV company who were supposed to pick us up.

A little after nine they came (fashionably late as most Icelanders are known to be) and we were shown around our temporary home. it was okay, a little smaller looking than the one we had in Alaska, to the eyes of some and a little wider in the eyes of others. 

Soon after we set off on our journey, stopping as soon as we could in a supermarket (45 minutes banzai). buying food, buying candy, buying little nicknacks to pass the time with we were more than ready for the adventure.

part ooooonnnnneee of the adventure- info center, yay! it was like a mini museum telling through audio and visual pictures the tale of settlement in Iceland. there were two exhibits, they were a little long and a little too informative but thats museums for you.

part two- walking around the town/village/city/ whatever that was near the center and looking at rocks near the sea.

part three- lunch. an important and suspiciously nutritious part of any day. we ate at what could only be called McIceland and rightly so because we have yet to spot a mcdonalds, though we did find Subway, KFC and tacobell (?).

part fyour- after extensive munching of hamburgers and the licking of the soft-cream we had to go on a little hiking trip to lose all those extra calories. the drive there was quite long as were all the others and there was much to see. for example- outdoor scenery, sheep, cows, horseys, swans, ducks, seagulls, farms, stretches of water and a few homo-sapiens. 

Eventually we reached the falls, they were pretty cool but there were a lot of bugs and the trails were pretty short so in the end we didn't stay for long.

part five- to give contrast to the waterfalls we went to a hot spring, one of the biggest ones in the world. it smelled like sulphur and was selling tomatoes. afterwards we found out that we might have been in the wrong one.

part six- searching for camp. it took about two hours to drive there and then we couldn't find it. but soon the camp was upon us or we were upon it with electric connection and a wide grassy plain to run around in.

By then it was already 10 Pm and still looking like midwinter noon, and we were pretty out of it....

Nir's annotations to Lior's account:

RV. The RV is indeed a bit smaller than the one we had in Alaska, but mainly differently designed. After getting used to the differences (the double bed is above the driver cabin, and wo beds one above the other for the kids in the back) its ok.

Part one: This is the Settlement Center in Borganes which tells the story of the first settlers from Norway. The interesting aspect is that back then Iceland was a treasure land in comparison to Norway -- full of trees (all gone by now), wildlife, and fish that are easy hunt. Another interesting point is that the icelanders have very detailed history of individual people since the 10th century initial settlement, where each farm stood, who married whom, etc.

Part three: the total lack of McDonald's was surprising

Part four: The Hraunfossar and Barnafoss falls are just below a lava field. This is an area that was covered with flowing lava that cooled down. The surface is hard to navigate and looks like frozen viscous liquid. The falls run into a stream that runs along the edge of the field. 

Once the stream dug below the bottom of the lava, multitude of springs erupted from the lava, forming the falls.

Part five: The Deildartunguhver hot spring turns out to be the largest hot spring in Europe. There is a hill where bubbling boiling water come to the surface. The interesting fact is that the rocks around the boiling water are covered with various slimes that love the hot temperatures. Most of the water is picked up by a complex water plant that pumps the water to towns up to 100km away for heating.

Around midnight the sun didn't set yet, but we did see sunset like clouds from our campground.

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