Its been a blur. Not sure where I am, but heres the gist. Camped by some unknown lake on the wild north east coast of Iceland 3 days in. Names here are incredibly hard to pronounce. an unfamiliar alphabet and a kaleidoscope of sounds for the mouth to process most makes most towns / farming villages a bit of the unknown…but then again thats their charm. Anyhow, lets rewind a few days.
I think it was two, but might have been 3…times a blur in this place where the nights are filled with lights and the days are endless drives over vistas that the dictionary doesn’t have enough superlatives to describe. I was in Edmonton airport…the only thing that can be said for that place is that its better than Calgary.. god forbid you ever have to spend h0ur layover there…let alone a 8 hour one. Despite my love for the country the Canadians really don’t know style or substance (beyond good old Timmy H) a short 5 hour flight from there after the dreadful wait, touch down on the rainy outskirts of reykjavik at Kelflavic airport. This pace is fucking hip – more so than most cities and we haven’t left the airport yet. Baggage claim, customs check, get the hire care – a small Renault french mad apiece of ass drop[pings (pardon the french) that looks top be cosy enough. Small, tight, but cosy enough. If only the guy gave us some basic instructions on how to operate as 300m after leaving the parking lot, i try a smooth fast 3 point turn to end up t-bared across the road unable to get the fucker in to reverse. Tension builds, cars re incoming. Panic alarm. Sound the alert…a helpful local helps push us out the way and shows us how to put the thing in reverse: lift the column up…(WTF – who builds cars like this.)
Downtown Reykjavik is smaller than expected. An age old fishing village where the relocated the harbour 200m further out a few hundred years back breathes life in to the quaint coloured roof tops in the centre of town – the main square and a few side streets lead in to the main walkway up the hill thats lined with shops, cafes, tourist bazaars and is the main thoroughfare up to the flight hill where a magnificent church lies overlooking the city like it’d arch angel. We make our way slowly up the street to this oddest – its built like agent organ – apparently inspired by one of the rock formations in a nearby mountain. Inside the church is the most grand magnificent instrument I have ever witnessed – a mighty organ 3 stories tall with a hundred or more pipes and outlets. A man sits playing this monstrous instrument from the inside of the church. He reeks of an old math teacher, or crazy primary school science teacher, with a old Icelandic patterned sweater with patches on his elbows, though don’t be fooled, the sheet music in front of him is as complex as it comes and ew in the world must have the same mastery of this instrument. There are almost 50 footpads alone and 4 rows of keys his fingers dance across in a slightly delay.
We’re tired…exhausted from 48 hours since we left Banff and a comfy bed. We sort plans over one of the famous hotdogs from a downtown stall (they suck and are little more than a cheap bun, cheap faux meat sausage with some crispy opinions and some unidentifiable brown sauce that applied to be mustard. Tourist trap anyone?
We heave for a near by campground to catch a nap. its closed but we can still stay there amongst the grass fields. just no toilets. 3 hours later and some hot springs / swimming pools are in order.
Iceland being the geothermic / volcanic island that it is is filled with hotsprings that a made into heated swimming pools – to the Icelandic these are like the local pub. A place to relax and mingle.
We decide to leg town. theres nothing else for us here…for now. Lets get out in to the wilderness asap. The rain has slightly cleared and patches of blue sky shine intermittently above as we head for the a night at the first stop – Pingvellir national park.
It’s a wild night of wind and rain after a short hour drive out from the city past rolling farms and small grassy hills. We jump out of our cosy camper to brush our pegs and HOLY FUCK.
The heavens are rent above us by a pulsating laser beam of light of the aurora borealis. We have seen this phenomena before in Banff, but not like this. There is one straight beam of green light that PULSates with energy across the dark and cloudy sky – the movement, the shimmering energy of this entity is indescribable. We sit in awe until it fades into blackness and another storm rolls over us.
We wake up after a long night rain and wind to a bleak and dreary landscape. Its frigidly cold and wet out thats only amplified by the wind. We haul ass down the road to Pingvellir National park – a rent between the european and North American tectonic plates where they are pulling apart leaving a chasm and tears across the landscape between them. Oxararfoss waterfall is our first stop and is…well wonderful however seeing what I have after this..it feels like barely a footnote.
A lonely church and an old graveyard where dead poets lay to rest from the years gone by grace the entrances of the of the rift that sits just beyond a lake. We see it all and once again haul ass out of there to warmer climates.
Warmer climates elude though however we manage to complete the tour of the golden circle in islands south east – the geysers (spurting jets of 30ms in to the air of superheated water & gas) and Gullfoss waterfall – both positively enjoyable sights, however nothing for adventures of our ilk, or to write home about.