Retracing Our Steps

Trip Start Mar 27, 2010
Trip End Jul 04, 2010

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our serenity was rudely interrupted just before bed time when a tour bus with 20 teenagers arrived at the hostel. Its a big hostel, and built to cope. It has 8 bathrooms, 3 kitchens, a dining hall for 30 and mounds of ovens and stuff, but nevertheless the ambiance changed in a blink.

Meant that we were woken at 5am, so we got up and faced what could be a torrid day retracing our steps to Reykjavik. However, three things were all in our favour. The wind was blowing from the south and taking the ash cloud away from the road. It was very early so there wasn't much traffic to content with, and it wasn't raining so the ash didn't turn to mud. We had a dream run, and didn't encounter our first car for over an hour. We even stopped and had a good look at Skogafoss, the second of the big waterfalls near the highway. It was really clear and pretty in the early morning light - on Sunday you couldn't even see it.

When we got to the end of the bad ash section at Seljalandsfoss after about an hour and a half, we had a serious stop, washed the car, had a coffee, and used the petrol station's free wi-fi internet to load the last couple of day's blog entries, read mail, and check flights. Good news. With 24 hours to go, all airports are open.

Drove on to Hveragerdi for morning tea at the bakery, and a second wash of the car to get all the remaining traces of the ash off, then on to Reykjavik and back to the hostel. After checking in, we wandered up the street for lunch. Really, if today had been my only experience of traveling near the ash, I would have thought it a non event, and over hyped. But Sunday was certainly a different story.

Early afternoon I drove the car 40km back to the airport and returned it, then caught the Flybus back to town. The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning ash off ourselves and our gear. It's got in to everything, and all our clothes smell of it, just like being in a bushfire.

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