Hello OSL

16 Sep 2014 – Happy Birthday to Ivy
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Wed: everything on schedule and sooo good to see the little one again. May made a delicious dinner. Must have been extremely tired, even Olai could not keep my eyes opened and I was out before anyone else.

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Thu: getting more to my normal self. A sign of Fall in the backyard. Did not know that I could enjoy the trampoline! Youngest #6 grandchild works wonders on me and got me on it :-) It was absolutely blissful to just lie quietly and stared in the clear blue sky, but that of course lasted only for a minute :-) :-)

Fri: met with Mette for lunch but was so busy catching up that the camera was forgotten…

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Sat: must be rather unfocused as I thought today was when I was supposed to have dinner at the Hustads. There I was at Tåsen 24hrs too early. Thank goodness Ingrid and HansK are such old friends and also very hospitable. Stayed on for a lovely crab dinner and chatted till late. Got back past 2200hrs. It was a another beautiful day and their tenants had their tent up, probably to air it before putting away or maybe using it as the weather is unbelievable.

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Sun: OK now I am there on the correct day appreciations to the Hustads for gathering their family and Christian’s family. Good to see OleK & family. Nice to meet Christian’s family and to know that he is now safely home in Norway after 3 months in SIN.

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Thank you for the delicious Fårikål=mutton in cabbage which is a traditional Norwegian dish consisting of pieces of mutton with bone, cabbage and whole black pepper cooked for several hours in a casserole is typically prepared in early autumn.

Mon: needed to rest after such a feast over the weekend… :-) :-) :-)

A writer need not devour a whole sheep in order to know what mutton tastes like, but he must at least eat a chop. Unless he gets his facts right, his imagination will lead him into all kinds of nonsense, and the facts he is most likely to get right are the facts of his own experience – Somerset Maugham

Reflections of Iceland

12 Sep 2014 – Unlike Any Other Place on Earth

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Thank you to Peggy & Ian for good company, missed KK this trip.

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Goodbye Iceland and hope to visit again. Appreciations to PP for the write-ups and my sentiments  are similar.

Pix to be added for this posting when the Puddeys are ready with theirs…

After an exhausting over 30 hour flight from Perth but Ian and I landed in Reykjavik minus luggage. We nearly missed our flight from Oslo as I had misread the departing time. Reykjavik was quaint and most of the shops closed early. The next day we had a hike around waiting for our cases to arrive. Ian was distinctly unimpressed and wondered why I dragged him round the other side of the globe. During our walk met up with a young man who offered to take photos of us and also recommended some sites to see and restaurants to go to.

Our overall impression was how polite and well spoken the Iceland’s were. Service was also prompt and cheerfully given. The only exception was the Thrifty car hire crew. Firstly they forgot us then gave us a round of nonsense excuses. All they had to do was apologise for the mess up and not lead us on. We were two and half hours late in our departure as a result.

Iceland is breathtakingly beautiful and wild. The mountains were rugged and the black lava rocks covered with thick green moss was surreal. We felt we were on another planet. When the clouds were low the mountains took on a mystical appearance as the mist swirled around us as we stood on the edge looking down on a pitch black beach with thundering waves breaking on the shores. Walking up to the glaciers was also very exciting -instead of pristine white snow and ice the volcanic ash gave an interesting pattern to the snow, like shadows. The water in these areas are also coloured a vivid blue/green colour.

Going down the volcano was also very exciting. The articles I have read did not really describe what actually occurred. The walk 3.5km to base camp was through volcanic plain devoid of vegetation and the path was covered by volcanic rocks. Amy’s shoes were ruined going through this area. The guides walked very briskly so you get very sweaty quickly but your hands are freezing from the wind. Once at base camp you are harnessed and given a safety helmet. The guides keep mentioning going down the spout in a basket. One imagines a wire net basket and that aggravated my fear of heights even more. It was actually a gantry and the floor closed. All I then had to do was stare straight ahead to manage the descent. The inside of the volcano was enormous and the Statue of Liberty reached 2/3of the height of this cavern. The colours were astonishing. Well worth the cost. The guides also told us the whole operation including the base camp was packed away end of every season only to be reset up the following year. They were very ecologically conscious.

Saw geysers up close and not fenced off. Smoking bubbling hot rivers and hot springs everywhere. It is quite scary to stand on ground that was also sending up plumes of hot steam. One wonders if gushing hot water will follow. Smell of sulphur was quite strong in some areas.

The quaint little villages and churches were also very picturesque. Saw some tiny houses built into the mounds – perhaps for elves??

One thing we noted was the lack of trees and wild animal life. We saw one fox and one mice in the mountains. We did see groups of flying geese and swans. There were sheep and horses roaming freely everywhere. Cows were contained in a paddock. We were not bitten by insects so that is a plus.

The distance between sites occasionally take up to one hour and many areas were off road conditions.

It is very hard to summarise the experiences over the past week. I would undoubtedly think of others in time.

To be edited with pix…

 

Iceland Day 8

11 Sep 2014 – Happy Bdays to May Yung-Lam and bro Steven

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Tue: Strandakirkja was originally built in the 12th century. The story relates that there is one night when a group of sailors tried to navigate back to Iceland in a storm. The southern coast of Iceland is notorious for its hidden reefs and rough coast. The distressed sailors prayed to God for a safe return and vowed to build a church wherever they landed.

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When they ended their prayer an angel, seemingly made of light, appeared before their bow. The angel guided them through the rough surfs and led the crew into a bay for safe landing. The sailors, making good on the promise, built a wooden church at the site. The bay nearby is named Angel’s Bay to commemorate the incident. Many miracles have been attributed to Strandarkirkja and there was a time when it was one of the richest churches in Iceland from the donations of Icelanders coming from all over the country in hopes of having their prayers and wishes realized.

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Seltún, boardwalks meander round a cluster of hot springs. The steaming vents, mud pots and solfataras (volcanic vents) shimmer with rainbow colours from the strange minerals in the earth, and the provocative eggy stench will leave a lasting impression.

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Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula situated in the southern part of the peninsula on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The lake’s greatest depth is 97 m. The lack of life gives an amazing deep feeling of inner peace.

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After the big earthquake in 2000, the lake began to diminish, and 20% of its surface has since disappeared. The cracks that opened up in the earthquake have since then slowly filled again and by 2008 the lake had regained its previous surface Level

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Hópsnes Lighthouse is a spit of lava land between Cove Hraunsvik and Cove Jarngerdarstadavik close to Grindavik. The lighthouse there was built in 1928.

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Blue Lagoon is a must to end this astounding and breath-taking trip with the Puddeys.  A dip in these clear blue hot springs is the best reward and way to relax after all the driving over the week. Thank you Marisa, manager of the Blue Lagoon Shop for her service. Would certainly like to visit again and take on her hospitality.

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Our last hotel and dinner in Iceland for this time round – Icelandair Hotel Keflavik**** Dinner at Vocal Restaurant****with a delicious serving of Ling Fish at a discount as they had a big group and the service was slower than normal. Not a complain, just a comment. Like that they actually separate the big groups into another room and we had a quiet and peaceful time to wrap up our Iceland tour.

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Iceland Day 7

10 Sep 2014 – Landmannalaugar

Mon: thanks to Peggy for this write-up…

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‘Woke up to another grey drizzly day. Today is our free day. Ian was determined not to stay indoors. He pored a over the map and decided on an area called Landmannalaugar. Ian and I was talking about the volcano that erupted in 2010 earlier. We were not sure about road condition so I asked at the desk. I mentioned the volcano and they said 4 wheel drive required and that we could rent one.

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All through the trip I chatted about the volcano to Amy. Meanwhile Ian was looking for a place to hire 4 wheel drive and apparently saw a place but neither Amy or I heard it.  So we kept going and the roads were really dodgy. Amy kept going bravely. we saw the most fantastic views.

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A testament to the views Ian took 200 odd photos of the area.  Breath taking to quote Ian. Took 1.5 hours to go 30 km without stopping to take photos. Well worth the effort. Like the day before the weather cleared on our arrival and stayed clear till we left.

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Landmannalaugar is a place in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the highland of Iceland.. It is at the edge of Laugahraun lava field that was formed in an eruption around the year 1477. Lies at the northern end of the Laugarvegur hiking trail and a popular destination for tourists. The Iceland Touring Association operates a mountain hut with sleeping bag accommodations for 75 people and a public toilet with showers.

The colours and views in this area cannot be justified with pix, paintings or words. You need to be there to really feel and see the effects they have on you…

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Another night at Hotel Selfoss and dinner at Kaffi Krus. Did not have the time or energy to check around this place but the view from the bedroom window is a reminder of the river and the bridge. Two paintings by some local artists on the hotel walls which caught my eyes.

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Iceland Days 5-6

9 Sep 2014 – Golden Circle

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Sat: wet start and instead of the fjord drive, took the toll tunnel and headed to Þingvellir National Park (UNESCO World heritage Site), the first national park in Iceland and was decreed a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged. Parliament or AlÞingi was established at Þingvellir in 930 and remained there until 1798. It is a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance.

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Thankfully the rains stop when we reached Geysir. The word geyser comes from Geysir,  the name of an erupting spring at Haukadalur, that name, in turn, comes from the Icelandic verb geysa=to gush, the verb itself from Old Norse.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gullfoss

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Night at Hotel Helka***more inland and into farming area, thus lamb was the dinner choice for us.

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Sun: the small peninsula Dyrhólaey (formerly known as Cape Portland by English seamen) is located on the south coast of Iceland not far from the village Vik. It was formerly an island of volcanic origin, which is also known by the Icelandic word eyja meaning island.

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Beautiful and interesting geologic formations and black beaches.

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The village of Vik

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Solheimajokull glacier, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss were wet experiences, but by then it did not matter as it was time to find our hotel in Selfoss

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Hotel Sefoss located by the river will be the accommodation for tonight and tomorrow night. Good fish dinner at Kaffi Krus***

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Iceland Days 3-4

7 Sep 2014 – Snæfellsnes Peninsular

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Thu: Happy 36th Birthday to May, my 2nd born. There was some mess up with the rental car co and we were picked up 2hrs late. If you are thinking of renting a car here, do not go with Dollar Thrifty Car Rental. After all the paper work, we managed to get out of town by 1115hrs heading NW.

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New fresh strawberries for sale by the honest system, ie the trust that one will leave the payment in the locked box provided.

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Strawberry picnic at Deidartunguhver hot springs. Stunning colours of stones in the hot springs.

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Waters in Hraunfossen and Barnafoss waterfalls sure looks cold compared to the previous hot springs!

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Amazing nature, Gerduberg basalt columns. The only other company we had were 3 sheep staring at us from the cliffs

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Imagine living by your own waterfall with the view of the glacial and lava rock. Even the road leading up to this house has a ‘Private Road’ sign. Someone there must have had too many people using the road to turn around after taking pix!!

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Hotel Hellnar****with views, good food and a patriotic neighbour! Lovely evening with a weak appearance of the Northern Lights.

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Fri: Happy 3rd Birthday to Olai, youngest grandchild. Miles and miles of beautiful moss-covered lava rocks can really create quite an imagination! No wonder the locals think that elves live in them :-)

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Exploring around the peninsular to see a black pebble beach/Dritvik, to the other extreme of a yellow sand beach/Skardsvik and to Kirkjufell, the mountain where it is most photographed in Iceland. Surprised to see Hurtigruten in this village of Grundarfjörður. With the rains coming down,  mutton soup lunch at the café hit the spot.

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Back to Hellnar Hotel for another night and the smoked trout and mussels were delicious for dinner.

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Iceland Days 1&2

6 Sep 2014 – Reykjavik

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Tue: from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik app 50km/30mins on the bus with no built-up area.

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Hotel Leifur Eiríksson is set in an old respectable house right in the center of Reykjavík where we are staying. Across the street from the hotel is the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja, the most famous landmark of Reykjavík.
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The church is also used as an observation tower. One can take a lift up to the viewing deck and view Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains.
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Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, the and largest city of Iceland with its  latitude at 64°08′ N, makes it the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With an urban area population of around 200,000, it is the home of the vast majority of Iceland’s inhabitants. It is the center of culture and life of the Icelandic people as well as being one of the focal points of tourism in Iceland.
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Dinner at Sjávargrillið**** a variety of fresh fish deliciously presented.
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Wed: morning walk to the museum and around town
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2014-08-21 03.27.162014-08-21 03.20.55App half hour drive from Reykjavík lies the dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano that erupted 4000yrs ago and the only volcano on earth that can be explored on the inside.
Really exciting to be lowered 120meters in a cage into this volcano and all kinds of colours inside. This tour was just fantastic with cheerful well-trained guides and staff.
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Another delicious dinner at Fish Company****
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The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland—a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth—can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth ― Slavoj Žižek