Jökulsargljufur National Park

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
Trip End Mar 25, 2008

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Monday, September 3, 2007

Day 1: As tourist season as well as the bus schedule come to screeching halt in Iceland, the only transportation alternative was to rent a car. Apparently everyone except me knew how to drive a stick shift, because the rental company gave me a puzzled look when I asked for an automatic. Thankfully the rental guy (Ingor) upgraded me to a 4WD (or else I may not be here now). I loaded my backpack full of maps /food and was off. Found a charming farm guesthouse near the national park with the world´s nicest owner, Olaf. Was her only guests for the night. Managed to play Icelandic Scrabble. Had to come up with words containing Ö, Æ, Ğ and Ş. Did you know the letter ´´O´´ depending on different accent marks could garner 2 to 9 points?

Day 2: Had my most adventurous experience in Iceland today. I was excited to visit Europe´s largest waterfall, Detifoss.  I properly followed the tourist info´s advice and drove down the westerly freeway, actually more of a one-lane dirt path. Innocent puddles turned into ponds with last night´s downpour. Potholes becames hidden in the waters. And the drive became a roller coaster ride similar to the Indiana Jones ride at Knott´s Berry Farm. Except there was no track the car followed, the rocks I swerved away from were not plastic, and I had no idea how deep the water was each time I drove through. After 43 kilometers of white-knuckled ´fun,´ I saw the cloud of mist coming from Detifoss. Another 20 minutes walk in the rain and I was next to Europe´s most powerful waterfall as it plunges 45 meters below. Boy, was I drenched from head to toe. My fingers were so frozen, I had trouble turning on my camera. I stopped by another tourist info and learned that the first tourist info gave the wrong directions and should have taken the easterly freeway instead. Arrgh. Thank goodness Ingor gave me a 4x4. Decided to cut the day short and head back to Olaf´s to thaw.  

Day 3: Saw a glimmer of sun this morning and decided this was going to be a better day. At least a longer day if the sun is still out. Drove safely down the easterly paved gravel road and took another look at Detifoss. I was inches away from the waterfall just before it crashed downwards. There were other Americans who commented that this degree of accessibility would not be possible in the States. No railings, no ropes, no Maid of the Mist boat tours or rain jackets (Niagara Falls). Just rocks, the roaring glacial water, and a rainbow. It was awesome. 
I drove down to Lake Myvatn again and hiked the rim of Hverfjall, a 2500 year old volcano. It took 2 hours. Saw the entire lake from up above with its different lava formations, pseudocraters, and mudpots. By the end, had wind burns on my face but the view was well worth it. Went to a farm to watch daily cow milking. Rewarded my hiking efforts with a shot of fresh milk. The farmhand looked blankly at me when I asked if it was pasteurized before mass distribution. Hm, thought fondly of my friends, Listeria, Brucella, Salmonella, etc.

Day 4: Drove back to Akureyri. Per gypsy88´s advice, I revisited Dr. Karason, the osteopath in town. This time he was in. He´s one of two osteopathic doctors in Iceland. Graduated from British College of Osteopathy in 2000 and has been working ever since. Mainly performs manual treatments as British osteopaths do not prescribe meds or perform surgeries. He corrected my previous misconception of his 7 hour workdays. It´s more like 12-13 hour days and he sees 40-50 people a day.  I would be lucky if I can see 20 patients in one day! Well, he was nice to entertain my endless questions. The visit definitely made my day.     And for those of you who get wierd ideas...no, he´s married. And no, I´m not moving to Iceland to practice.
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lilyc on

Re: in good company
I also have troubles distinguishing the two, female or male. Good thing they follow the old Norse tradition (patronism) and their last names are composed of their dad´s first name + either dottir (for daughters) or son (for sons). So Jon´s son would have Jonsson as his surame and John´s daughter would be Jondottir. That way you couldn´t mistaken the two.

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