Sunday, 13 November 2011

The rugged beauty of Iceland

As we were coming into land I could see heavy white horse bristling across the ocean. I remember commenting that there must be a huge current there to make the sea look so angry and messy, it cant be a wind that is so strong otherwise the plane would be really bumping around. But it wasn't, it was very smooth and calm.

As I looked through the window I could see the wild, baron and grey landscape in the distance. Closer to the plane the ground rushed up to meet us as the wheels touched so smoothly and gently on the runway.

As we were getting the hand luggage down from the overhead lockers the captain spoke over the intercom firstly in Icelandic and then in English. “It is a little windy outside so we will be using the disembarking steps down onto the runway”. “There will be someone there to help you down the steps”.

Wow,standing on top of the steps we could feel the power of the wind, incredible. How did he land in this I remember thinking to myself. We slowly and careful made our way down the step and then felt the full force of the wind as we made our way across the tarmac a very short distance to the terminal. The wind was so strong that is was almost impossible to walk against it and forcing us to walk in a deep semi-circle to reach the door and safety. That was our first experience and impression of Iceland’s weather. It filled is both with foreboding for the days to come.

Travelling by car to Reykjavic from the airport is across the old lava flows that a covered in a sparse, low and coarse greenery. A little like English moors but with attitude and lots of it.

Straight after unpacking and freshening up in the hotel we set out for our first explore down to the harbour. Of course being an island, fish and seafood is a main source of diet and wow is the fish good.

Across the harbour there is a very impressive mountain with cloud a covered top and a very tempting profile.

To cut a very long story very very short. We had wisely decided to use our long weekend in Iceland to learn more about the landscape, the must sees and dangers. As looking across the baron and volcanic scene we could easily see that this is not the sort of place just to go trekking and wild camping without some serious planning and training.

We spent a lot of time taking in the marvellous culture and the stunning fresh food. Eating such this as Minke Whale, Puffin, Lobster, Reindeer , amazing fresh fish and of course the famous fermented shark.

Our plan is to go back next year well equipped, trained and learned in the hiking in the unique Icelandic landscape.

If you get a chance to go we highly recommend it, but before wild camping or hiking there ask the authorities and make sure you know exactly what to expect. But just to experience the culture, the friendliness and of course the superb food jump on a plane now!

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