Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Iceland

Five days in Iceland, a whirlwind trip with a group of friends- not my usual travel mode, for good reason. I often travel to feel an area, to connect with foreigners, to wander without agenda. A harried group trip makes this type of travel near impossible. But it was an interesting experience and I got a glimpse of Iceland. 

Stark white buildings, muted colors, straight lines, and grey skies. This is how we were welcomed into Reykjavik. Day one thoughts: Communist! They must have rampant depression! 

At 8AM on day two, Walte arrived at our door in a Super Jeep to take us through some of the interior roads and on a glacier walk. Despite trepidation, I agreed to go. Fearing my clumsiness would cause an incident and I'd likely kill myself on the glacier, I'd thought about bowing out. I never wanted to walk on a glacier, but it came with our package. Maybe I should skip and save my life, I thought. 

Walte led us around fording streams at full speed and driving across lava like a 60 year old Nordic race car driver, all the while dispensing useful tidbits about the country and the glaciers. At the end of our tour was the glacier walk, presumably so we could enjoy ourselves before (in case) we slid to our deaths. 

At the glacier, dressed up like marshmallow men in our multiple layers (Carrie and I have the "very cold all the time" gene), we donned our cramp-ons and walked up the ice. It was scary but not. We were told to not walk lightly but to stomp along so our ice picks would go into the ice and keep us from falling. It worked and there were no accidents. 

So we lived through ice walking. I even saw future uses for cramp-ons. 

The following day we set off at 7:30 for a peninsula just NW of Reykjavik. It was foggy most of the day, yet we saw lots of interesting terrain and beaches. As well as a town of only 9. 

Today, the other three took off on another car trip. But I couldn't stomach the idea of another day in the car, so I stayed in town wandering through art museums and talking to Icelanders along the way. Sometimes what we need is not to see the sights but to "see" things.  

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