Iceland (Part 1)

So for Thanksgiving (and as a belated anniversary trip) we went to Iceland for the first time. And some of the things I’m going to rattle off will be familiar to people who know more than I do (about Iceland) which is probably not hard but I’m writing this more for my own benefit (and later recollection).

Iceland is located north and east of Greenland and has a population of about 350,000 people. The things I was not prepared for going there were innumerable. When we planned the trip we both knew we wanted to go, neither of us had been, and I trusted that it would all be amazing. I did something I don’t normally do and I booked us a tour. We only had 4 & 1/2 days and I wanted to get as much out of our time as possible. I expected we’d see more if we weren’t dealing with driving around on our own (we did), and I didn’t want to roll the dice navigating an unfamiliar country in the winter or worry about gear (for ice caving), knowing when to stop (because you could drive for an hour an see nothing), or dealing with crappy driving conditions. It turned out to be a really wise choice for our first visit (even before we got there I knew we’d be going more than once).
While we may have traded the freedom to linger and be self-directed everything we saw was amazing. I wasn’t disappointed with anywhere we stopped, both of our guides were locals that were knowledgeable and friendly and took us off the beaten track to see little stops we would have struggled to locate, let alone identify. We booked with Extreme Iceland (which is run by Arctic Adventures) and I have nothing but great things to say. Being able to gaze out the windows at the amazing landscape while someone else drove made the relative sacrifices completely worthwhile. Our tour was on a shuttle with about 18 people total, so larger to offset the cost, but not an unwieldy mess of 50 people on a big stupid bus. Everyone kept mostly to themselves and the people we did chat and interact with were all really nice. (People were from literally all over the world: Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, various parts of the US).

 

At the start of the winter in addition to being cold it is unbelievably dark. The sun doesn’t rise until about 10:15 and then for the hours of the day that are technically daylight the sun never seems bright. It always hovered around a dusk or dawn. Around 4:30 the sun would start to disappear again and it would be pitch back by 5:15. On the shortest day of winter (Dec 21) the sun is only up for 4 hours. Nothing could have prepared me for the experience of what it’s like waking up in complete darkness. While I can’t imagine the struggle of dealing with that as a permanent resident the challenge of dealing with it for a few days with something that was kind of exciting and interesting. It added to the feeling of other worldliness.

 

Day 1 – West Coast

 

We arrived on Thanksgiving on an “overnight” flight (the short duration of the flight makes this a little painful because at no point during that first 36 hours are you going to get adequate sleep – the only advantage this had for me was training me to be a cat napping master on the bus in between our travel spots). Another sort of interesting element of this trip for me is that I planned very little. Other than booking the tour and getting us a hotel for our last night I planned and researched nothing. As a planner this was a weird exception and I wholly enjoyed have ZERO expectations and just showing up to see what would happen.

After getting through customs and a hilarious interaction with the ATM (periods, commas, foreign currency and sleep deprivation make for an interesting situation – luckily the ATM didn’t allow R to take out the $1200 US he initially attempted.)

We found a shuttle bus to Reykjavik and it dropped us at Hallgrimskirkja (the crazy church in the center of the city), to wait for our tour to collect us. Our tour would be broken into two mini-tours. With one guide picking us up and taking us out to the West Coast and then returning us to Reykjavik before the second two-day tour started. We headed out of the city about 90 minutes give or take and made our first stop in between a waterfall and a mountain at Kirkjufellsfoss (I only remember this because I took a photo of the sign).

Continue reading “Iceland (Part 1)”

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VIP Seat on the Strugglebus

I think the concept of a struggle bus is funny, even if the phrase is cheeky and annoying in the same way that people are now famous because they open packages for a living on YouTube.

I am annoyed at my 2019 not starting with more momentum. I’m not sure what to blame it on but I feel like it’s a combination of:

  • the winter
  • a mild case of seasonal bleh disorder (it’s cold and dark and hard to do things)
  • Having a shittastic cold that mutated into lame viral bronchitis for all of December
  • the lull in routine at work and in life that let me get used to sitting around watching history shows with my heart’s bff
  • My back being a dick because I am lazy jackass that sits on the couch watching too much viking murder tv (but is there such a thing?)
  • Not sleeping great because of all of the above
  • Being healthy for about 36 hours only to end up with a stomach virus that rolled right in to the start of my period.

It’s making things hard.

I like feeling motivated. Being unhealthy makes everything impossible. I don’t want to run or cook or lift weights or read or take down the goddamn tree and put all this shit away and OMG EVERYTHING IS ANNOYING.

I am having issues with motivation. I am .. sick and tired of being sick and tired, when it’s already hard, in the winter in particular, to push yourself to do things.

Things I want to be doing but am not doing, yet.

  • Exercising.  OMG. I need to find a way to work this back into my habits. We hiked before NYE and it was so nice (even if I was hacking up a lung). See, here’s a photo even.

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  • Being more engaged with work and pushing to make progress with stuff…. I need to find some training to attend, I think that will help. (I like my job and am immensely grateful for that so I refuse to spend time complaining about that, atleast for now)

Things I am already working on improving

  • Making more art. Being sick and out of town made it really hard to get to the studio since before Thanksgiving. But I got back this weekend and hope to get back into a better rhythm now that we have a break in our travel. I make pots if you find that sort of thing interesting.
  • Reading more. I say this every year but really… I want to read more (I am actually on a roll with this even though I have been feeling like arse). I finished a graphic novel in one sitting and have been working through a chapter per night of the Scar, which is very good. (Let’s not talk about the Murakami book I’m stuck 60% of the way through). I’m on Goodreads, I still really like that site.

Things that are minor and dumb but still worthwhile

  • I got my car serviced
  • Set up my new login and info for our new health insurance
  • Got my annual mammogram
  • Took down the tree and packed up all of the decorations
  • We dragged our asses out yesterday for real groceries so we made dinner last night and have all of the stuff we need for tonight too.
  • I’m writing, here and hope even if it’s just me howling into the wind about stupid day to day stuff I can work on making it habitual and that writing about the random things I’m thinking about will bring me a greater sense of accountability, plus lists!!!