Friday, July 7, 2017

ICELAND a final framing

As this week draws to a close I am finally putting the finishing touches on the ending of my Iceland adventure.  The suitcase is back in the basement, the books & map are back on the shelf, the patch is sewn onto my backpack, one last visa payment was paid, I ate all the chocolate I brought back and here is one final story to share.  

I marked all the places I visited on this map of Iceland to get a perspective of how much ground I covered.  I saw a significant amount of this island, enough to give me a full meal deal taste.   It is 103,000 square kilometers with a population of 330,000 all living close to the ocean.  

I had expectations heading into this vacation and reality far exceeded those expectations.  From my experience with Icelandair, to my apartment, to the tour companies I joined in with, to the local people I met, to the weather, to the colors and most of all the scenery, I could not have asked for anything to be any other way than it was.

I captured 935 split seconds in time and of all those, seeing this sight was my favourite split second.  I was loosing my breath as I was trying to "remember to breathe" when we came to this section of the hiking trail in Landmannalaugar.       

The scenery was incredible everywhere.  One lady I spoke with who was also travelling alone and hitch-hiked and backpacked her way around the whole Island said it became scenery overload for her.    I guess I saw just enough because I was still able to absorb what I was seeing even as I left the bus and entered the airport for the flight back.  These are a few of my most favourite sights. 

Yes, Iceland is expensive but I made it work for me.  There were no surprises for me in this category as I did my homework and prepared and planned for it.  I went the route of getting an apartment through VRBO instead of a hotel as the apartment is more appealing to my pocketbook.  I brought lots of groceries with me, that made my suitcase heavier but it was still well under the weight limit. 

I learned of skyr before I went and knew this would be a treat to try.  It was available on the flight there so I tried it and I was hooked.  I purchased containers of it when I arrived and devoured it throughout my visit.  I also tried to bring some through security but they confiscated that.  I did not go into duty free at the airport to shop.  

Once an organizer always an organizer!  It was nice to just go along and not be responsible for anything or anyone other than my things and my self.  We were a group of nine with our guide hiking in Landmannalaugar. If you know me, you know I get excited at beautiful sights and I start snapping. This whole hike I was excitedly snapping.  That became contagious and I was being followed to the corners and the edges where I was being snap happy.  Max our guide told me "you are guiding my hike but I am the one getting paid".  Later as he needed to assist a hiker on a couple of steep scrambly sections, he asked me twice to lead the rest of the people to certain spots and to wait.   I did gladly.  Once an organizer always an organizer! I like to document even the little things like this story.    

Going into this adventure was somewhat beyond my comfort zone but once I settled in I felt like I belonged there and it felt right to be there.  Iceland is a very clean place and very pretty.  I felt safe at all of the ungodly hours I was out on the street.  The locals were friendly, they were quiet, they seemed humble and very helpful too.     

When the visions start to fade and the edges get blurry I can just come back here and get lost in my memories.   I hope you enjoyed what I have shared and maybe someday these posts will be a reference for when you plan your trip there.  This Island of Iceland will hold a special place in my heart.  


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