Rainy Reykjavik Reading

Reykjavik—>Akureyri

We wanted to explore the northern part of Iceland; particularly we wanted to go to Grimsey Island which lies inside the arctic circle.  I order to get there you have to take a ferry from Dalvik which is about 40 km outside Iceland’s second city Akureyri.   

Akureyri is a really quick trip by plane from Reykjavik on domestic carrier Air Iceland. We planned ahead and got a really great net fare that was much cheaper than renting a car for three days would have been and only a tiny fraction more than a 6 hour bus ride would have been. This is why its best not to wait till the last minute in life. Time is money.

Boarding the plane at the domestic airport in Reykjavik is almost as informal as boarding a bus in the United States.  You go up tell them your name at the desk only 30 minutes before departure.  They give you a boarding ticket with your name and seat number that looked more like a shopping receipt than formal ticket.  On both our flights only about half the plane was full—so they spread us out to disperse weight evenly on the nine row plane.  

On our way to Akureyri is was very cloudy, but 40 minutes was the perfect time to flip through the local English paper and see what was going on in town when we returned. Check out the guys professions above! Not common DC jobs at all! I love icelandic men! Haha.  

When we landed in Akureyri we had left the clouds of the capital behind and saw the beatiful fjord visita from the last picture.  

Also, flying around the Iceland made us feel fancy and smart.  While on Grimsey Island we met some other travelers—when they asked if we had driven to Akureyri (they had bummed rides there and wanted one back to Reykjavik) we got looks when we said “No we flew”.  As if we were Kardashians or something.  Kardashians we are not—but smart travelers for sure.  

Horseback Riding in the Andes, Santiago Chile 2009

Glacial Hike Part 2:

Once we got onto the ice is was a fairly easy 1.5 hour hike.  Siggi, a geology student, was really informative about how glaciers are made, how they are changing, and their importance.  We got a chance to drink glacial water directly at the source, and just enjoy some totally great vistas. 

Glacier Walk Part 1:  Clampers

Before you can go walking on a glacier you have to put on clampers, the spikes that go below your shoes to allow you to grasp onto the ice.  We went glacial hiking with Icelandic Mountain Guides , and the clampers are provided as part of the fee.  You can also pay for transport out from Reykjavik, but we elected to rent a car (more on that later) and make a road trip of it along the southern coast.  

At the visitors center outside Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park the guides size your clampers and get you all set for putting them on once you get to a glacier. After we were all sized up we loaded in a fan and were driven to the base of the glacier. There we put on the clampers, as directed by Siggi, and we’re ready to take the ice.  We learned that for the level of hiking we would be doing that our ice picks were more for show than anything else, but could be used as a support if needed.  

Now it was time to get on that ice moving down the mountain a few meters a day… 

I Can’t

I can’t look at my own face without seeing back two summers in my freckles.

Found this #newspaper dated #1940 in a #usedbookstore yesterday. Love the #typography and the #whaletail in the #masthead. #newspapersforeva #iceland #reykjavik

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

Inside the Volcano Part 2:

Once we got to base camp we went into the lodge and were told by the (cute…just an FYI all the guides are cute here in this country) lodge boy about how the volcano formed, and how to put our the gear that would secure us to the elevator.  

Then it was time for our us to climb the rest of the way up the summit. One we got there we saw that elevator you see in the top photo.  It’s the kind they use to wash windows on skyscrapers.  Now, I am very fearful of heights mind you, so going down in this was not really my cup of tea.  But as Kristin Newman says in her new book. “I love to do the thing you’re supposed to do in the place you’re supposed to do it.” So I was going down that volcano!

I was secured by my harness to the elevator, which really just had me saying internally “if the cord holding this elevator snaps, I am going down with it” not “this is holding me in place”.  But again, our guides were great, making us feel comfortable as we start descending into the 120 meter deep crater.  One of the guides was an architect by day and mountaineer rescue guy/guide by hobby, and the other was a commercial photographer who also does rescue on the side as well as these tours. These Icelanders are like multi faceted crystals I tell you.  

 At first the hole is only about as bit as the elevator itself, then the cavern widens until you are in a cathedral of rock.  As a geo nerd this was heaven.  The sulfur as colored the rocks inside into rainbow like streaks of water color.   Once at the bottom you are given about an hour to explore around, until you go back the exact way you came down—through that little hole in the craters ceiling.  

Back at base camp they warm your bones with some traditional lamb soup and warm drinks before the hike back to the ski lodge where the ride takes you back to town.  

All-in-all I can’t recommend this tour (and Im NOT into tours!!!) if you ever come to Iceland.  Unless you are a volcanologist you have little chance of otherwise getting to descend into the magma chamber of a volcano.  This is simply once in a lifetime!

Another day, another lovely Icelandic breakfast. #iceland #kexland #kex #emrobandkftakeeurope #fieldingstravelguidetoeurope (at Kex Hostel)