Flying felt like cheating.
We had conceived the holiday as a road trip and I really wanted to move only by car, but in the end the time wasn’t enough. We got up early in our hostel in Akureyri (a pretty town in the north of Iceland), packed our bags and walked to the airport. After going whale watching, riding zodiacs and almost running over sheep on the road, WALKING TO THE AIRPORT from the city center still sounds like the most monumental accomplishment. We then hopped on what was probably the smallest airplane I’ve ever stepped in and 40 minutes later we were in Reykjavík.
We picked our hostel because its name (Kex) reminded us of the German word for cookie (Keks) and clearly the universe was sending me a sign there. It turned out that not only the hostel was amazing (and hipster!), but that the whole building used to be a freakin’ cookie factory.
Like, how cool is that?
Our room was interesting, too. One side of it resembled an Armenian prison while the other actually had a warm, homey feeling to it. Read More
Husavik is situated in the north-west of Iceland and is – supposedly – the best place where to observe whales.
In order to do so, you need to embark on small boats and wear unflattering vests that make your own butt look like Moby Dick.
Listen to an Icelandic girl repeating over and over that “no refund will be given in case the watching cruise turns out unsuccessful”.
You need to wear a hat, hold tight and know how to to wait.
I’m speaking about long, excited, anxious, impatient waits.
Even disappointed ones. Read More
Warning: this post is a filler and lacks in creativity.
I think my brain is drained from writing the unexpectedly successful Berlin Supermarkets Guide for Uberlin, a silly post about Italian expressions and from photoshopping an idiotic modified Berlin U-Bahn Map.
I feel like I won’t be creative anymore. Ever. From next week this blog will be about the weather and will feature tips and tricks on how to file your tax declaration.
Here’s some mediocre photos from my fifth day in Iceland.
On day number five we kept hanging in the surroundings of Lake Myvatn and hired a guy to show us around.
I don’t know why we did.
His name was Benny.
I don’t know why we did.
Benny took us to two waterfalls, one of which was Europe’s most powerful one.
It was incredible.
A trip to Iceland is not a trip to Iceland without hours upon hours (upon hours) of driving.
Of course most of the time will be spent being amazed by the stunning scenery and wowing at phenomenal natural landscapes – duh!
But there will also be dull moments in which the sixth rainbow sighting in 30 minutes won’t look so magnificent.
The following game is exactly for those moments.
(click on the image to see a better resolution)
Iceland is a weird, fascinating place that combines inexplicably well the rootless force of nature with the solitude of men and some intriguing popular folklore .
At the end of my trip I was expecting people to ask me about the ongoing eruption of the Bárðarbunga volcano; about elves, trolls, hidden people and whale sightings; about roads and distances and temperatures. But the most recurrent question was one and one only:
Have you met Bjork?
Day number four. The first thing I saw after opening my eyes was my jacket, hanging outside of the first floor window, reminding me how our small gas accident from the night before hadn’t been only a dream.
On that day we followed the north-eastern portion of road number one and went through a dry, grey part of the island.
You know, sometimes volcanoes decide to raise their voices, spit out their hot stuff and erase life all around.
That is pretty scary, if you think about it.
We decided to take a detour on a secondary road in order to explore a more internal part. I don’t remember why we we did it, but I remember the road being so bumpy and annoying that we almost gave up and reverted our route.
But we didn’t. And in the middle of all that uncoloured nobodyness we found
a town evidence of human presence in the shape of a church… Read More
If there is one lesson I’ve learned from tv series, it’s that a road trip is not a road trip if it doesn’t involve small unpredictable
We were perfectly aware of the fact that when you’re on the road life has a funny way of sneaking up on you, so our third day in Iceland was just a little reminder of that.
That morning we left our hostel pretty early, partly ’cause everyone in the room was an early bird and partly ’cause we were starving and didn’t buy any breakfast ’cause we’re smart.
The sky was scary and silvery and the road empty as usual.
Kinda. Read More
Gas stations are an essential part of every respectable road trip.
This is even more true in Iceland, where having three proper meals a day can easily bankrupt you and gas stations are a real life-saver.
We used to have breakfast at our hostel/hotel in the mornings and dinner in restaurants in the evenings. Everything in between was gas station food, which meant sandwiches, cookies, chips.
The Icelandic grandma I’ve never had always used to say: If you can’t eat real dolphins, eat sugary ones.
I don’t know if that’s an Icelandic thing, actually, ’cause they have a lot of imported stuff from the US and that weird mix of sugar and marshmallow may very well come from America.
It tastes awful, but still very helpful to test your gag reflex. Read More
On a regular work day in Berlin I give myself 15 minutes from the time I open my eyes to the time I step out of the house.
If I weren’t in a hurry I’d probably have time to make a coffee and sip it while looking out of the window, although it’s usually too early and too dark to see anything.
If it weren’t dark or early I would then be looking at thick curtains hiding people’s morning routines and makeup sessions, arranged breakfasts and indulged showers from the building opposite to mine.
In Iceland I looked out of the window and saw this.
It totally looks like they’re kissing if you don’t zoom in.
So yeah, Icelandic mornings were generally exciting. The stress of moving and sleeping every night at a different place was plenty compensated by the fact of having breakfast every morning at a different place, even though I always tried to refrain from eating too much ’cause I had a side-mission to accomplish. Read More
I have to say that I admire people who can stay calm in front of emergencies.
Unfortunately I am not Bjork and my feelings before leaving for Iceland – given the latest news – were swaying between “we’ll never be able to get there” to “we’ll get there and die”.
Plus, of course, the fear of flying I’ve already written about.
Getting our rented car at Reykjavik airport was a walk in the park and when the incredibly blonde guy handing us the keys asked if we had any questions, we were pretty confident we hadn’t any.
After all we got the full-mega-expensive insurance and did research on how to change a flat tire before leaving. What else could possibly be missing? I’ll tell you what: I didn’t quite remember how to make the car go in reverse. I could see the R letter on the shift, in the right corner, but the shift itself would insistently refuse to go there.
After a dozen failed attempts inside the parked car I figured out the trick (without any external help! Self high five!) and we could finally put ourselves on the road.
Just in time to see this: