Iceland – Brrr and Beautiful!

“You are the sky ~

Everything else is just the weather.”

– Pema Chodron

DSC08059When I first told people we decided to take a trip to Iceland, their reaction was always, “why?” It’s not everyone’s top choice but for some reason, it has always been Odd’s. Now we can finally cross it off his bucket list.

We spent 4 days last weekend there. It is definitely not for everyone. After experiencing 25+ degrees Celsius in Berlin, it was hard to pull out our winter gear and set north for bitter weather. I cursed once that first bone chilling wind ripped through me, but soon I realized I couldn’t change weather. Kelly Clarkson is right. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”

What really helped were the friendly people like our taxi driver who told us his family moved from Trondheim, Norway (that’s Odd’s hometown) in the 1600’s.DSC07721

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DSC07723Or maybe it was the helpful café owner by The Fisherman’s Village who told us about leaving and moving back to Iceland to be closer to family. Apparently many people come from neighboring cities to taste his wife’s Tomato Soup. Karina agreed it was comforting on a cold rainy day.DSC07838.jpg

DSC07715.jpgThis is Hlid Fisherman’s Village where we stayed one night. It is on the tip of the coast and very Norwegian-esque with only a few rooms and thatched rooftops. It is also a short walk to Álftanes Kaffi on a good day.IMG_9393.jpgOr maybe it’s the lure of The Blue Lagoon. Yes it’s next to a power plant and yes the smell of sulphur is a bit unsettling, but it is an experience one must definitely try if you’re heading to Iceland.DSC07937Thumbs up to enjoying it despite the cold wind and rain. I think it actually made it more memorable! While we applied our silica mud mask, the lifeguards were wrapped in parkas, scarves and goggles to shield their eyes. Imagine that!DSC07959Our “end-of-Berlin-experience” celebration included dinner at Lava Restaurant.DSC08182.jpgTo be honest, I rather preferred The Secret Lagoon in the village of Fludir. It’s so secret we couldn’t find signs to get there. Eventually we asked and I’m glad. With the birds chirping and the wind ever-so-quiet, it was a much more pleasant experience.DSC08076The Bridge Between Continents  where the tetonic plates meet and are known to move at a rate of 2 cm per year. Odd is standing closer to the Eurasian plate and Karina is on the North American plate (or maybe I have it backwards?). Karina found the sand to be warm to walk on. How amazing is Earth?!IMG_9496.jpgThe Great Geysir bubbling in action.DSC07769Staying positive despite all the rain at Seljalandsfoss.DSC08090At Gunnuhver, we stood watching mud pools of geothermal activity.
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DSC08101The highlight for me was actually the water crashing against the rocky shores at Reykjanes Peninsula. It was here I realized how strong the people of Iceland (or any cold climate nation) must be to weather such harsh conditions. I am amazed at how, despite their economic and volcanic history, the citizens remain friendly and hopeful for the future of their country.

IMG_9475.jpgWe stopped often to say hello to the sheep and horses scattered throughout the land. DSC07666

DSC07664So very beautiful and friendly.

DSC08024.jpgOh and I almost forgot to mention that an International parade of some sort came through Reykjavik’s shopping street.DSC08035.jpgCan you believe they have a Filipino-Icelandic community? Odd counted 20 Filipinos in the parade. I think I have only seen 2 in Berlin at a time and they were my cousins or parents – ha!IMG_9396.jpgWhat I am most impressed with was how rugged, untamed and uninhabited the land is.  Volcanic rock, moss in some areas and more fertile land in others. Despite the lack of sunshine and wet weather, I am very grateful for these experiences. I may not understand it all, but I do appreciate the natural beauty of the land and the simple ways people live, love and survive. With each new visit, I learn. Four days was not enough and hope to return some day – hopefully, in warmer weather. One can dream…

 

 

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