Reflections of Iceland

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 12 Sep 2014 – Unlike Any Other Place on Earth

An early visit to Ytri-Njarðvíkurkirkja before heading to the airport. I have travelled quite extensively but have not experienced anywhere like Iceland. The nature is so surreally out of this world, and only being there can one feel the splendour of this country. Thank you to Peggy & Ian for good company, missed KK this trip.

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Goodbye Iceland and hope to visit again. Appreciations to PP for the write-ups and to both Peggy & Ian for the pix following –

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After an exhausting over 30 hour flight from Perth but Ian and I landed in Reykjavik minus luggage. We nearly missed our flight from Oslo as I had misread the departing time. Reykjavik was quaint and most of the shops closed early. The next day we had a hike around waiting for our cases to arrive. Ian was distinctly unimpressed and wondered why I dragged him round the other side of the globe. During our walk met up with a young man who offered to take photos of us and also recommended some sites to see and restaurants to go to.

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Our overall impression was how polite and well spoken the Iceland’s were. Service was also prompt and cheerfully given. The only exception was the Thrifty car hire crew. Firstly they forgot us then gave us a round of nonsense excuses. All they had to do was apologise for the mess up and not lead us on. We were two and half hours late in our departure as a result.

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Iceland is breathtakingly beautiful and wild. The mountains were rugged and the black lava rocks covered with thick green moss was surreal. We felt we were on another planet. When the clouds were low the mountains took on a mystical appearance as the mist swirled around us as we stood on the edge looking down on a pitch black beach with thundering waves breaking on the shores. Walking up to the glaciers (Jöklagöngur Glaciers) was also very exciting -instead of pristine white snow and ice the volcanic ash gave an interesting pattern to the snow, like shadows. The water in these areas are also coloured a vivid blue/green colour.

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Going down the volcano was also very exciting. The articles I have read did not really describe what actually occurred. The walk 3.5km to base camp was through volcanic plain devoid of vegetation and the path was covered by volcanic rocks. Amy’s shoes were ruined going through this area. The guides walked very briskly so you get very sweaty quickly but your hands are freezing from the wind. Once at base camp you are harnessed and given a safety helmet. The guides keep mentioning going down the spout in a basket. One imagines a wire net basket and that aggravated my fear of heights even more. It was actually a gantry and the floor closed. All I then had to do was stare straight ahead to manage the descent. The inside of the volcano was enormous and the Statue of Liberty reached 2/3of the height of this cavern. The colours were astonishing. Well worth the cost. The guides also told us the whole operation including the base camp was packed away end of every season only to be reset up the following year. They were very ecologically conscious.

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Saw geysers up close and not fenced off. Smoking bubbling hot rivers and hot springs everywhere. It is quite scary to stand on ground that was also sending up plumes of hot steam. One wonders if gushing hot water will follow. Smell of sulphur was quite strong in some areas.

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The quaint little villages and churches were also very picturesque. Saw some tiny houses built into the mounds – perhaps for elves??

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One thing we noted was the lack of trees and wild animal life. We saw one fox and one mice in the mountains. We did see groups of flying geese and swans. There were sheep and horses roaming freely everywhere. Cows were contained in a paddock. We were not bitten by insects so that is a plus.

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The distance between sites occasionally take up to one hour and many areas were off road conditions.

It is very hard to summarise the experiences over the past week. I would undoubtedly think of others in time.

While there is life there is hope. I beg to assert…that as long as a man’s heart beats, as long as a man’s flesh quivers, I do not allow that a being gifted with thought and will can allow himself to despair – Jules Verne/Journey to the Center of the Earth

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