Saturday, September 3, 2016

Second and Third Day of Homer and Linda's Excellent Adventure in Iceland

Greetings to all from beautiful Iceland! I was unable to blog yesterday because the wifi at the hotel where we stayed said that the blog site was FORBIDDEN and that MALWARE would be downloaded and so many awful things would happen, I should immediately get off the computer and hide under my bed. That was fairly scary so I didn't push it. Today, the same site at a different hotel says all is well. Go figure. Anyway...

Sept. 2, 2016:

First thing to be done was to pick up the rental car which turned out to be a Ford Explorer. We're with a group of ten others so a total of 3 Explorers were required. I have been appointed as one of the drivers which is fine since, like most West Virginians, I love to drive, often even on actual roads when necessary. I will confess I was a bit worried about finding my way from the car rental back to the hotel to pick up the others but I managed it with aplomb if not finesse. As an aside, it seems we almost always end up renting Fords when we're overseas and invariably they've been quite reliable vehicles. We rented a diesel Ford in Italy which I loved. The mileage on it was incredible. Sadly, it isn't sold in the states or I would definitely own one.

Linda and I shared the Explorer on the first day with Roger and Karren. We have a complex chart that requires all of us to move around every day so we don't get tired of each other but we know Roger and Karren quite well as we all go to the same church in Huntsville so we were glad to have them.

Once we were clear of Reykjvik, we headed east along highway 1 and into an area often referred to as the golden circle. The first thing one notices in Iceland is how neat everything is. Every farm seems manicured, the barns and homes so bright and cheerful, it's as if they're all freshly painted. We stopped at Silfra to have a look at the waterfall there and also the cleft in the continental plates that Linda and I hope to get back to on our last day to either snorkel and scuba dive. The water is crystal clear but obviously very cold. We'll see how we feel when the time comes. Probably the highlight of the day was Geysir which, by the name, you can guess there was a geyser. In fact, there were more than one and geysers the world over are named as such because of this field of them.

Geyser at Geysir

Our next stop was the astonishing waterfall at Gulfoss. When we drove into the parking lot, we saw no waterfall. It all looked like a green plain but the two dimensional effect soon gave way to a great river canyon and some spectacular falls. To get to it required a long descent down a stairway and then a hike above the river. We weren't alone. There were a thousand others there determined to have a look. We have been rather surprised at the number of tourists out and about in Iceland but it's still close to August which is the prime European vacation time so I imagine the crowds will dwindle. Also, since we are heading ever steadily into the wayback of Iceland, I think it will get lonelier as we go.

Linda has been favoring her back and I've had a little hip impingement thing going on so we were careful threading our way down to a great stack of rocks overlooking the falls. Once there, the sound was incredible! Trillions of gallons of water rush by and drop away, the roar like a dozen locomotives that never stops. 

Gulfoss Waterfall

Sept. 3, 2016

We were up bright and early this morning, had breakfast at the hotel, and drove on. After our lead car was lost for awhile - hey, it's all good, it's still Iceland! - we turned around and headed for our first stop at Seljalandfoss, a waterfall. As you may have figured out, foss is Islandic for waterfall and there are a sloo of them on this island. They seem to be everywhere! The falls of Seljalandfoss are dominated by a huge one that allows folks to go behind it so, guess what, of course that's what we did where I managed to get this rather (ahem) spectacular shot.


And Linda even let me take her picture at this glorious fall and here is her pretty self!

Linda and the Seljalandwaterfall

Lunch came next. One problem we've discovered in Iceland is the cost of food in restaurants so after our $25 hamburgers the day before, we decided to fix our own lunches. After a quick trip to a grocery store, we had all the fixings and stopped in at the Skogafoss waterfall. Here are some of our group making the journey with us having a picnic lunch.

Lunch at the Skogafoss waterfall.

Afterwards, we drove to the black beaches of Vik. The beaches along southern Iceland are made of volcanic materials which are gritty and black. Also, the most amazing rock formations of lava frozen in time and temperature. It feels and looks alien and it's easy to imagine being on a distant planet. It's also quite beautiful and peaceful. Continuing my traditional series, here is a photo of Linda taking a photo of a section of the beach.

Linda taking a picture along the Vik beach.

Of course, in honor of the original Albert of Carrying Albert Home (have you read it yet? Trust me, you'll love it), we've carried along our own version of Albert. He's our good luck totem and here he is perched on the bizarre basalt rocks along a beach in southern Iceland.

Albert "sunning" himself on the Vik beach

We are all now ensconced in the Fosshotel Nupar for the evening. Tomorrow, our Icelandic adventure continues. Thanks for joining us!

 - Homer Hickam, author of Carrying Albert Home and some other books.

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