Travel Blog

Iceland

In September 2014 myself, Steve, Tanya, and Jenny set off to a foreign land, Iceland.

Returning Home

Sunday 21st September 2014

I'm writing this in the back of Steve's car, on the way back to Sheffield, the conclusion of the trip to Iceland has almost been reached. While I have nothing better to do, I'd like to reflect on some of the memorable points of the trip.

It's not been cold, yes it's only September, but I was expecting to see frost and negative figures when on the glacier, in reality it has been like the UK, in the teens most days.

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Dog Sledding

Saturday 20th September 2014

We drove back down part of the South coast this morning, arriving at the only dog sledding centre in Iceland late in the morning, where we were pulled on a summer sled by twelve beautiful dogs.

My favorite by far was Brutus, who at six years old is getting on, but he can, I was told, easily pull 250kg on his own. It was funny when the musher who pilotted the sled, noticed individual dogs slacking off, he would call them by name, and they would start pulling on the lines again.

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Swimming

Friday 19th September 2014

We headed out this morning to go to a geothermal beach, however upon arriving we discovered two things; firstly the water wasn't above fifteen degrees, and secondly, the place closed in twenty minutes. At this point we decided to go for a walk up to the Perlan, a group of hot water storage tanks with an observation deck, and grand hemispherical dome.

After trying to find / think of something else to do, we decided to go swimming, it's worth noting that even having gone white water rafting neither I nor Tanya can swim with much confidence. Fortunately the heated outdoor pool which we were in wasn't every deep at all. We played around in the pool for a while, had a few slides down the waterside, and then myself and Jenny headed over to the hot tub for a few hours.

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Thingvellir National Park

Thursday 18th September 2014

This morning we chilled out a little, went to the shop and bought some food for out last few days, then headed off to Thingvellir National Park in the afternoon.

Thingvellir was the site of the ancient Icelandic parliament, a beautiful area, most striking of all are the faults between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates which scar the landscape. Many of these are filled with surprisingly clear, blue water.

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Blue Lagoon

Wednesday 17th September 2014

After the busy day yesterday, today was a refreshing, and relaxing day at the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is not natural, and is caused by surplus mineral-rich water from the neighboring geothermal power plant.

We started out in the lagoon, having a walk / swim around, moving between areas of too-hot-to-stand, hot, and warm water. After getting a cold beer, and applying a face mask, we took some more silly photos and headed over to the sauna / steam room.

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Busy day of Epicness

Tuesday 16th September 2014

It's been a very long day, we left our cabin at 04:30 heading to Skaftafell National Park where we took part in a guided glacier walk, on the Falljokull glacier, our guide, Dan, was a very charismatic guy, who after allowing us to get used to walking in crampons took us up part of the glacier. After two hours we headed back to the base camp, squeezing in a small abseil down part of the icepack.

We then headed to the Black Sand Beach where we climbed around, and even jumped off, some basalt columns, after which we walked along the beach taking in the awesome power of the waves.

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Quad Biking

Monday 15th September 2014

I made sure to get up with my alarm straight away this morning, setting off on 24km quad bike trip, two quad bikes; boys on one, girls on the other. Fording rivers, and splashing through huge puddles, it was really cool. I think we all came away wanting to buy a quad!

We then had a walk around Reykjavik, took some photos of the Sun Voyager, a steel sculpture which appears to resemble a Viking ship, but is actually a dream boat and ode to the sun. We had lunch before heading back to the cabin, we need to be well rested for what's in store tomorrow…

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Rafting

Sunday 14th September 2014

My alarm was set for six in the morning, however in my sleepy daze I turned off the alarm and rolled over. This lead to a mass rush around at seven-thirty to get ready, jump in the car to drive to the rafting centre.

Upon arrival we slithered into the wet suits, donned the life jackets, grabbed a paddle, and got into an old American school bus which took us down to the river a few miles away. During the hour in the water (some of the time inside the raft) we splashed, dived, jumped, and larked about. Really good fun, and surprisingly not too cold!

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Natural Waters

Saturday 13th September 2014

This morning we headed out to Strokkur Geyser, the geyser is formed in a high temperature geothermal area, a cavity develops in the lithosphere and fills with water, when this water is superheated by the surrounding rock, water flashes to steam, forcing the rest of the water upwards into the air. At the Strokkur geyser this happens every eight to ten minutes.

After taking some photos, we all stood around at the point closest to the geyser, it went off, however it was quite small, and we didn't get wet, that lulled me and Steve into a false sense of security, as it went off a few moments later, Jenny and Tanya moved away, while myself and Steve got soaked as the water returned to earth.

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Mundane

Friday 12th September 2014

Mundane: lacking interest or excitement; dull: his mundane, humdrum existence.

After about 30 minutes sleep, my alarm clock shrieked to life at the ungodly time of 01:15 this morning. Just time for a cup of tea and some breakfast before being picked up to begin the drive down to Luton airport.

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Packing

Thursday 11th September 2014

The trip to Iceland has been discussed since October 2013, with myself being involved since February 2014.

I was looking forward to packing well before we left for Iceland, but some last minute freelance work put stop to that. Here I am at 8pm, six hours before we leave, having just finished packing.

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