Can you read me?
Testing the blog. Unwinding. Simple things.
12.07.2014 - 15.07.2014 25 °C
Obviously not in Iceland yet.
We have ten days here to unwind, spend time with our favourite people and attend a wedding.
It is nice to relax in the home of my school friend Lucy, her husband and daughter. We've caught the train to meet uni friends in the city, wandered around Kew Garden and lunched in small snazzy cafes. We are enjoying home cooked meals prepared with natural, simple ingredients (plums from the garden!) We have walked along the high street and spent time in the local park. The simple everyday things. Conserving energy for Iceland. Unwinding.
London. I love it here so much. Having been born and raised here, I feel a sense of belonging so it is not easy to write like I did in Japan and the USA, but here's my loves and observations from the past two days:
Gorgeous old buildings everywhere. History, history, history! Insanely expensive but efficient public transport. Not many Japanese or South Korean cars on the road. I feel the air is somewhat polluted and I want to breathe cleaner air. The pollution is like a lens that does funny things to the sunlight. We are ripped off in Perth - clothes and food are cheaper here. The sun sets later so people are busy all the time, everywhere.
I am constantly having the 'sliding doors' thought: " What if I had never left here to live in Perth?"
Arrival. Familiarisation and observations.
22.07.2014 - 22.07.2014 17 °C
Our plane arrived last night, close to midnight. I had imagined that there would be darkness but no, there was a silvery dark blue colour In the sky, like an illuminated curtain.
The drive from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik takes nearly an hour and, strangely at the time of night, there were still a few cars on the road and people walking in the towns. My lasting impression is the stratified shades of darkness and silvery blues. I couldn't differentiate land, water, mist or sky. The landscape was flat and mossy, with boulder rocks here and there, speckled with attempts at growing trees.
Then there are the sculptures that are dotted about; black, life size silhouettes of the trolls who turned to stone when they didn't return home before the sunlight touched them. ...... Eerie. On the other side of the road elves live underground. They are responsible for how the golfers game turns out when they are playing on the lava field golf course.
Somehow, after this ghostly introduction I slept well. Exhaustion helps.
Reykjavik is a cluster of mismatched buildings. They vary in age, architecture, colour and material. I am surprised by the number of corrugated houses and shops, brightly painted and quaint. People seem to like placing little things in their windows, I like that.
For the small population, I am in awe of their Harpa which is the concert hall. An absolute stunning piece of architecture and Nordic design. It is modern, on the waterfront and made of stone and glass. Things available in Perth but not used to the same effect. The Harpa has a mesmerising glass facade made of hexagonal shapes in two and three dimensions, and despite all the hard surfaces, noise is hushed and smooth, not jarring. My camera battery decided to die here.
For those who like to shop, Reykjavik has many unique and interesting things. For me, I am like a dog being taken for a walk, I look and try to linger but can't stay long.....
In summary, Reykjavik is like a tiny toy town bustling and charming without trying too hard.
I'm posting more photos than previous blogs because wifi is brilliant here.
Action and adventure
23.07.2014 - 23.07.2014 12 °C
Please look at the photos and captions because I think pictures will do better justice to today.
Adventure consisted of a return flight on an Eagle Air Jetstream 32 and an AWD ride along the ring road in the south east to the Jökulsarlon lagoon. OMG. OMG. OMG. Amazing. See photos now.
This place is out of this world. It is a lagoon created by the Vatnajökull glacier and the broken bits of glacier float around in it, eventually drifting off into the Atlantic. More photos of that.....
We were told that in the movie Die Another Day, the film makers sealed off the lagoon until the salt water leached out of it enabling the water to freeze. This took 2 weeks. Then they shot the movie and apparently only a few minutes were shown in the movie. Crazy. The vehicle to see the icebergs was an amphibious one so that it was a simple matter of getting in, driving and then floating off amongst these amazing huge icebergs.
Action consisted of a slow climb up the mountain (in the AWD) until we reached the summit of the largest glacier in Europe, third largest in the world! Vatnajökull. The surface is equivalent to 5 cities of London. It was totally white, no dimensions, no horizon, nothing. White and nothing else.
Dress up in F1 style clothing and off we go on the snow mobiles...... Driving into whiteness and no point of reference anywhere, up 160 metres until we were 1.1km above sea level, on the glacier that delves to depths of 800m below sea level. Gulp!
A quick stop at Höfn (pronounced Hurp) to look around and drool at the menu of a lobster restaurant.... No time to eat here sadly, before returning on the Jetstream 32.
Iceland is unreal.