(That’s “ees-land,” not “eye-land.” Ísland is the Icelandic spelling, and I like to be authentic.)
Well, I’m back – I actually got home Tuesday night but I spent the day yesterday in a pretty much catatonic/useless state. Something about not sleeping much for four days made me somewhat non-functional. But the trip was fantastic:
Saturday we spent exploring Reykjavík (some of these details are kind of fuzzy, since the plane landed at 6:00 AM Iceland time/2:00 AM Boston time and we didn’t take naps), taking in a few museums (there are very few and they’re all very small [and one, unfortunately, featured contemporary installation “art”]) and wandering around the cute downtown area. The weather wasn’t too cooperative – chilly and spitting rain – but that made the couple of hours we spent in the geothermally heated swimming pools that much more fun.
Sunday we got hooked up with an AWESOME family in Hveragerði (took me a while to learn to pronounce that; I now say it “OK – for an American”) who took us to the area where boiling water and steam come right out of the ground, fed us, and then took us out to a black sand beach where I got much wetter than anticipated while doing a cartwheel. (They’re tricky in shifty sand.)
Monday the AWESOME family who fed and entertained us on Sunday took us on a Golden Circle tour, where we got to see Geysír (from which all geysers everywhere take their name), Strokkur (a geyser that erupts every 5-6 minutes), Gulfoss (awesome waterfalls), and Þingvellir, site of the first parliament in all of Europe in 930 CE. When we got back to Reykjavík we went back to the geothermally heated swimming pools (not at all the family-friendly crowd we enjoyed on Saturday) (holy meat market Batman! Who wears earrings, full makeup, and sophisticated hairstyles in a swimming pool?! Other than Icelandic teenaged girls, that is?) with yet another AWESOME friend we had made at church, who then gave us a better tour of downtown than we’d had Saturday (three cheers for JES, our native guide!).
Our last day was Tuesday, and we headed out to the Blue Lagoon (every bit as wonderful as it looks in the brochures) for a few hours of finger-and-toe-wrinkling relaxation before leaving for the airport. (In case you’re keeping track, we wore our swimsuits on three out of four days. Not bad a-tall.) It’s kind of a bummer that we paid for the bus from the Blue Lagoon to the airport, since we missed it – thus experiencing a few minutes of anxiety until ARB found us a ride with some other people whose flight left shortly before ours. (Traveling with an extrovert came in very handy a number of times.) So, we made it to the airport without any further complications, hopped on a plane, and landed in Boston again late Tuesday evening. The walk home from the T was slow and heavy – ARB and I were both pretty well worn out – but the trip was worth every sore muscle and foot-dragging step. We’re already thinking of all the things we’ll do next time we go. And, of course, I’m now thinking that since I’ve visited Finland and Iceland, the rest of Scandinavia deserves investigation as well. I wonder how cold it is in Denmark around Thanksgiving?
(P. S.: Pictures to come. ARB and I are consolidating our photographs. And I need to go to bed.)