Fickle weather

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

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

For the rest of the time in Iceland, I learned that the weather can be a challenge.  You just take advantage of good weather and take shelter for the bad.  So approximately 12 days after arriving in Iceland, we had our first full day of sunshine.  This was fortuitous as today would be our busier sightseeing day. Iceland is the land of 10,000 waterfalls. I think I saw about one hundred of those. One of the more notable was Skogafoss. We caught it on a good day with the full rainbow from the spray of the water coming down on the rocks. I looked at the end of this rainbow for you guys. Sorry no gold nor leprechaun. There were waterfalls everywhere, some small, some big, some off of cliffs, and some from cracks in the wall. Drove about 100 km east and saw the rocks of Dorhaelay. Iceland is only about the size of Ohio state but it's packed with natural wonders- geothermal springs, volcanos, caves, and  glaciers.

Many of you had asked previously why I picked Iceland of all places. Didn't it sound so remote and cold? I won't disagree with the cold (because at 2 degrees celsius, I wasn't thinking happy thoughts at all).  But one of the main reasons is to see their fjords. I had envisioned sitting on a boat gliding past mountain-high iceberg floes and valleys. That was my notion of Iceland. That vision came partially true at Jokurlason Glacier Lagoon. "Partially" because the iceberg floes were not the size of mountains, but ranged from size of pebbles to houses. It was nonetheless one of the prettiest natural wonders I have seen. These little bits of icebergs break off from the ends of glaciers, this one from Breidakojull. And they float along until they melt, though it takes longer than you would think because this is compact ice, compressed by the weight of the glacier over thousands of years. Supposedly 5 times denser than regular ice. There were also seals swimming in the middle of these icebergs. Little buggers would duck as soon as you are about to take their picture.

But the fjords were everywhere, rugged cuts in the coast that surrounds Iceland. I had the best view of them flying back from the Arctic Circle.

Then... Iceland has bad weather, 3 degrees C temperatures with spine-chilling winds. And rain pelting so hard that I thought that someone above must be enfuriated. We were driving back towards Reykjavik when it was one of those days. Waterfalls that were normally beautiful no longer seemed inviting. Actually with some, the water seemed to ascend from the cliff from the wind. That when silly me decided to hike to a sight called Kirkugolf, "church's floor". It is a structure of overlaying basalt columns in the middle of a farm in beautiful Kirkjuaeclauster. (sorry my spelling will be off from now on without the guidebook to refer to). The sight was okay, what little I saw of it. That was the longest 300 meters I have ever trudged. Wringing out my socks, clothes, and shoes like wet rags was not fun at all. And another lesson: no matter how good my shoes are, Gore-tex only goes so far.

When my shoes dried days after, we again had nice sunny weather. I visited my favorite tourist info guide and Bonus (a godsend of a supermarket) at Selfoss. We then drove 40 kilometers to Stong. An excavation site much like Pompeii when the volcano erupted and covered the entire town. I was stopped by an army of sheep. You laugh, but it was true. We were driving along, only 2 kilometers away from Stong, when I saw in the distance a wall of sheep and horses approaching. It was Sept 13 and for the countryside, it was "rettadgurdottir." It was the day that farmers rounded up their sheep back to their respective farms.  Sheep is allowed to graze wherever for the summer but if they are not rounded up for winter, they'd die from the cold out in the wild. There was a lot of farmers in Iceland and naturally a lot of sheep. We saw sheep lined up for kilometers. They were herded by farmers and volunteers on Icelandic horses. I thought the riders were all Icelandic but later found out that some were tourists in Iceland specifically to assist with the round-up. We met people from England, Australia, Memphis, Texas, etc. I even got to sit on an Icelandic horse. My previous experience with riding horses was in college when a group of us went riding for half a day. My horse galloped off with me as the unwilling passenger bouncing around. I think I got a trasient lumbar radiculopathy and was bedbound for 2 days afterwards. I guess I won't be part of the roundup anytime soon.

A word of appreciation for these nicer photos of Iceland in my blog. They were taken and copyright by ltpassociates, inc.
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davekcent on

stunning photos
I am regretting not putting Iceland on my itinerary!!

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