So much of what we know comes in brain bits the size of a few paragraphs in a child’s encyclopedia or fourth grade text book, complete with one to three photographs. I keep running into my dreadfully shallow understanding of people and places as we do this trek back and forth between the
Not too long ago, I was introduced to one of
About six months ago, in a conversation with my daughter, Natassja, she mentioned the news that SAS (Scandinavian Air) would be discontinuing its direct flight between
We decided to ask at the check-in counter the next time we flew, and it was verified! If we wanted to continue flying SAS, they told us, we would need to fly through
In another conversation with Natassja we were dreaming about what it would be like for her to visit us for an extended time in
When it was time to book our own flight, we chose Iceland Air, deciding to take a few days layover to look around before arriving in
The differences were obvious from the beginning of the flight. It was only a 747 (great for domestic travel. . .); no meals or even peanuts included, no extra comforts, fewer toilets, and a nine hour flight time to
There were seat back movies, at least, but the options were few.
Being August, when the sun is still up nearly 24 hours a day in the far north, it was difficult to sleep on the airplane. They didn’t come along requiring everyone to shut their windows (like they did on SAS) so people could catch an abbreviated night’s sleep. We would not even be able to take a nap in so much light.
No discomfort, no adventure, right? Absolutely!
When we touched down, it was raining (of course). While we waited to deplane, we could see through the windows that our oversized boxes were exposed to the rain.
ch we did, but it was worth it). Tired as I was, my heart was bursting to go outside and step foot in
It’s amazing what little a person can ascertain outside of an international airport. Think of all those you’ve seen on television or personally experienced. Miles of tarmac, crowds of weary, inconvenienced travelers, vague aspects of plant life, and the natural physical reaction to humidity, cold, rain, wind, heat, etc. There was no such thing as an egg dish for breakfast. The metal sculpture out the front, rotating doors of a fin emerging from a monster-sized egg held some intrigue (not to eat, silly).
Loading the rental car in a steady wet drizzle (threatening to disintegrate the boxes), standing on yet more pavement, we could not sense anything about this place except that it was too warm to wear our raincoats, but too wet to go without.
After plugging our hotel address into the rented GPS (our European system didn’t include
In our low station wagon, it was intimidating to be passed on wide, straight, four lane freeways by monstrous SUV’s that make those in red-neck
Of course, we were on the western, almost north western, side of
Speaking of rain, I sat on the airplane by a couple from
olutely no training for this event. Whew. What an adventure they must have had!
We checked into our hotel and enjoyed excellent service. It was early Sunday morning, so we asked about English church services. The receptionist was able to list some good area churches, but none in English and they nearly all would start in the next few moments. We weren’t into being late only to be lost in a foreign language. Furthermore, we were too weary to sit through something we didn’t understand without nodding off to sleep.
We decided to take a three hour nap since we’d had no sleep. We didn’t dally; we slid under those traditionally warm duvets and barely woke up when the alarm went off.
When we roused ourselves, showered and dressed, we were ravenous. International travel really messes with the body’s fuel economy and intake expectations. We had no idea where to eat good Icelandic food, so we stepped out of our hotel and walked to the first restaurant we saw: a KFC the size of an American Kmart.
KFC happens to be
By the time we waddled out of KFC, it was afternoon, much later than we’d hoped to get started on our tour of
Icelandic geography as any poorly educated American, I had purchased all but the two chapters we needed to cover the area we were actually in. We had to wait in our car, outside our hotel room, car running, to get wireless enough to download two more chapters. My how guidebooks have changed.
Silly us, we didn’t unpack our jam-packed car (so jammed it was difficult to see out of the windows and mirrors or to adjust our seats), but headed off in the direction of the first ever sulfuric geyser to be so named, “Geyser.” We had to stop and admire the Icelandic horned sheep,
a field of hand-stacked rocks and heather, to climb around and through some interesting volcanic rock formation in a national park, and, of
course, to get fika (tea and goodies) and a sampling of books full of Icelandic
fairytales—or should I call them troll tales? The stops kept us awake and helped the person in the backseat actually see something other than boxes, but stopping so often kept us from getting as far north as
We drove for hours, actually, past green rolling hills, oceans, glassy lakes and more volcanic rock. As the afternoon progressed, the sky parted into sunshine, warming us to the point that I would lean on one of those huge boxes and doze so frequently, I could barely endure the drive. Good thing
A place, perchance to dream? But I di….never mind.
By the time we reached the Geyser, we’d gone down several wrong roads (the GPS kept getting confused and giving us strange directions), and it was growing dusk. Cloud cover and rain darkened the scenery even more. The lighting was terrible for photography. We were, again, hungry, having eaten lunch at , fika around two and now it was . We needed to use the bathroom (
We ate strange sandwiches.
Geyser (it’s actual name and the first to be named such) is not like
Some things are not only impossible, they are impossibly impossible. This is when my husband can’t stand having a family on a perfectly good adventure. One of the most beautiful sites touted in the travel literature about this part of
We had a two hour drive back to the hotel already, an hour to the waterfall and adding two more hours to the trip at 7:30 pm was asking for trouble when we normally can’t stay awake on any of our international first days past 8 pm. We were worried