Thursday, April 29, 2010

Icelandic Hot Baths

I´ve come to learn that the way you survive the chilling winds in Iceland is to take a dip in the numerous hot baths that are in virtually every city you come to. We´ve been to the standard city swimming pools (which are heated to about 29 degrees C and have hot tubs at about 40+ degrees C). We´ve been to some natural hot springs that were kind of out in the middle of no where, and were pretty much just holes in the ground. And (most recently) the nature baths up in Mývatn, which are also known as the ''Blue Lagoon of the North.''

Standard procedure of entering these hot baths goes as follows (except the one that was in the middle of no where):

- pay at the desk (usually somewhere around 300-500 kroners)
- go into the changing rooms. undress. shower (without your swimsuit on), making sure to wash every part of you (and just in case you´re not sure if you´ve gotten everything, there is a sign with red shading that indicates the ''hot spots'' you should be washing)
- then you run as fast as you can from the door of the changing room to the pool (because it´s really cold)
- then you just relax and sit until you can´t sit in the heat and water anymore.Once you get out of the hot tubs, have gotten dressed and are wandering around in what was, just a few hours prior, a chill-to-the-bone-freezing-cold wind in what was already a fairly cold city, isn´t quite as bad. The wind isn´t as noticeable, and the nip in the air hardly feels like its there. Needless to say, every town we come to we look for the hot baths, and we are good to go.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Week One Highlights

Today marks the end of our first week in Iceland. We have gone from Seattle to Reykjavik, Reykjavik to Grundarfjörður, Grundarfjörður to Blönduós (via Borgarnes), hitch hiked from Blönduós to Varmahlið to Sauðákrókur, then Sauðákrókur back to Varmahlið, hitch hiked (again) from Varmahlið to Akureyri.......and that brings us to where we are now. Akureyri.

Highlights of the week:
- bird´s eye view of Reykjavik from atop Hallgrímskirkja
- our first waterfall in Grundarfjörður
- an icelandic sunset over the Westfjörds in Blönduós
- the natural hot baths just north of Sauðákrókur
- stayed up to witness the aurora borealis with our hosts (also in Sauðákrókur)
- met some americans in the hostel and drank rum & cokes in Akureyri

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Icelandic Landscape

The Icelandic landscape is like nothing I´ve quite seen before. In one sense it reminds me a little bit of Eastern Washington, though mostly just in the sense of color. You have those golden wheat fields in E. Washington, and here there is that same golden color, only instead of wheat, it´s the tundra. Flat, flat tundra. No rolling hills. There is also the occasional river and waterfall that have cut their way through the land, their banks looking more canyon like than the gentle slopes you see back at home. Sheep and Icelandic horses dot the country side as well (though, I have seen many more horses than sheep) And like I´s flat. Very flat. Flat, that is, until the snow covered mountain that has (literally, I´m sure) exploded from the ground. Like if you took a pen, drew a straight line, then at the end of the line made an upside-down 'V'. Thats what it looks like. No gradual rise, no foothills.......just *BAM* mountain! It awes me everytime I look outside.
Unfortunately, I happen to be slightly (ok. maybe more than just slightly) prone to motion sickness. So I have spend a good amount of time missing all of this beautiful scenery because after looking out the window for a good 10 minutes, I have to try to sleep so as not to puke on the nice looking Icelandic gentleman that is sitting in front of me.

did I mention there are virtually no trees in Iceland?

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Icelandic (volcano) Update

First, I am told that I need to report on all this volcano brew-ha-ha, and what its like to be in ''the midst'' of it all. The only problem with that is, to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what is going on. The volcano has had, with from what I can tell, very little impact actually on Iceland (other than those poor tourists who came to vacation on the island and then couldn´t get back home because they were from Europe). We have just been touring up in the north, with very little connection to the outside world (meaning, we haven´t seen a tv pretty much since we got here), and since it hasn´t affected anything up here, we haven´t heard much about it. Plus I don´t think the Icelanders are all that phazed about it, I mean, heck......their island was MADE from volcanic eruptions. Big deal.

Anyway, disappointingly, I have no exciting news about it to report. I realize now that we probably should have done everything in our power and resources to try to get to the volcano when we were in Reykjavik. However, being that we were completely sleep\food deprived and were (for whatever reason) more worried about how we were going to get around the island......we failed to look into the lava-spewing, ash-cloud fuming volcano. (stupid. stupid. stupid) But, the last time it erupted, it lasted for, like, a year or we´ve got pleanty of time, right????

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Phase Three: make it to iceland

status: completed

We are on our second day in Iceland. We stayed in the City Hostel in Reykjavik and had the pleasant expierence of waking up at 6:30 this morning to a big beer-bellied American shouting ''I´ll kill you! I´ll kill you, you f*cking french f*ck!'' to a little elfen ginger, who was (obviously) French, no more than four feet from where we were sleeping. They started to get into it with each other, I´m not sure why or how it actually started (the beer-bellied American said the French ginger was hitting him in the head with his sneakers and was all very early), but we decided it must be time to get up and start our day.

Welcome to Iceland.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Meet Cory.

<----- This is Cory.

Cory is traveling to Iceland with me.

Cory and I worked together (my first winter) at the front desk at Whitefish Mountain Resort (aka: Big Mountain, where I've been hiding out the past two winters......I mean working.)

Cory Facts:

1. He's a true Montanan (read: small town, hunter, fisher, skier, outdoors-man). Born and raised, he'll probably die there too..........someday.

2. His summer job: fly fishing guide. His winter job: ski bum.......yeah, life's rough.

3. Although he's been to Mexico, he's never done much traveling outside of the country (because Canada totally doesn't count) Stick with me, kid. I'll take you places.

4. Favorite animal: Wapiti. (go look it up.)

5. He likes photography, folf, cooking, music, the snow.......and me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Phase Two: play in seattle

Status: in progress

Being from Whitefish, MT, Cory has never really been to the Pacific North West for much of an extended stay. Thus far this is what we have done:

1. An "Urban Hike" in Seattle's Pike Place Market.
Flying fish whizzing over our heads, nibbling on the free samples of fresh fruits, vegetables, and chocolate spaghetti, and walking along the waterfront and up the alleyway of the infamous "gum wall."

2. A Movie.
"Alice in Wonderland" at the 3D. 3D is awesome. Tim Burton is awesome.

3. The butterfly exhibit.

4. An Edmonds Sunset.
"It's an Edmonds kind of Day"

5. Dug up weeds in the yard.

6. A hair cut.
Cory. Not me. I did the cutting


7. The Zoo.
Lions, & Tigers, & Bears.....and elephants and zebras - Oh My!
But the Red Panda was my favorite

And so far that has just been the first week. We still have one more adventure filled week to go before we head out to Iceland.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Phase One: move out of apartment.

Status: completed.

Though, not without a few tears of frustration on my part. Moving is always stressful, but when you move your entire (albeit studio) apartment into one 5x10 storage unit in one day, it's entirely too overwhelming. Doubts that everything is going to fit are pure torturing at about one in the morning, but somehow fit everything did.

Items deemed "lost forever" (but were found during the move):
1. Sunglasses (brand new in November)
2. Watch (the only one I own that still works)
3. Liners for my ski gloves (would have helped about a month ago, though)
4. Necklace (don't actually wear it, but it has sentimental value)
5. Keys (you know, helps to start the car)
6. A thing of makeup
7. Passport (technically this was found during the first move in December....but I thought appropriate to include because finding it is the entire reason we are going to Iceland in the first place)

All items were found in the most obscure spot I could have thought to put them (or, didn't think, because, obviously, I had no idea where any of them were beforehand)

Items that I now have no idea where they are:
1. Ipod (damn.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Plan.........sort of.

The plan is only tentative (as with most travel plans, all is apt to change). The only things that are fact are: Cory will be my travel partner. We leave Seattle on April 18 (arrive in Iceland April 19). Will be WWOOFing (working worldwide on organic farms) on two farms in May. We depart May 19th. The up in the air part is where we will travel before the farms. So far we are going up to the W. Fjords, then to Sau∂krokur, a couple of nights in Akureyri, and maybe check out the whaling town of Húsavik before heading to Eglissta∂ir and Selfoss (where the two farms we will be WWOOFing on are), making our final stop in Reykjavik.

I want to do some hiking. Cory wants to go fly fishing. We want to see some whales and some puffins. Some waterfalls and some hot springs. I want to take lots of pictures, and meet new people, and try something new everyday.

So thats the outline. How we are going to get from place to place is unknown.......but I guess that's just going to be all a part of the adventure.