Monday, April 21, 2014


It's been a while, but Emma and I have hit the road again. As Emma put it, "I haven't been out of the country in years!" A biking trip to Girona? "Two years ago!", she said. A family trip to Baja? "Last January!" Ski trip to Whistler, Canada? "That doesn't count!"

Iceland sure counts.

I've been watching a show called Vikings. It's a violent drama created by the History Channel. The script is loosely based on the history/mythology of the early interactions between vikings and England.

Everywhere I look, I can't help but think about what it might have been like for these early settlers. That beach? Perfect for a viking ship. That hill? Perfect for lookouts to see ships coming across rough seas. That patch of forest? Perfect for building long houses that are a bit protected by the elements.

The people aren't safe from my daydreams about vikings. That lady helping us at checkin? Could've been a shield-maiden. That cologne-laden, bench-pressing bro at the car rental? Probably really good with a sword.

Walking out of the airport, we were greeted by some hail and a faint whiff of sulfur. We're starting with the typical tourist route -- a 3 hour drive called the Golden Circle. Many do this by bus, but we remembered how much enjoyment we get from 1) not being on a bus, 2) not being tied to their schedule, 3) seeing things at our own pace, and again 4) not being on a bus, so we rented a car for our first few days.

The circle passes through some barren rolling hills and goes around a pristine lake, complete with a small island and snowy hills overlooking it. Houses are rare; at each sighting you immediately question how someone could survive there. It's possible these are summer homes but they look like farmhouses and they seem months away from having any sort of soil to farm.

The weather here can change fast. We had three or four separate snow flurries followed by blue sky 10 minutes later. That made the narrow road a bit more interesting, especially whenever a bus came the opposite way.

The drive focuses on a stop at a nice waterfall and a stop with a few geysers. Apparently this is the original namesake for all geysers. We agree we've seen a few of these things before. However it's nice to see them all in one place.

The balcony of our room overlooks a small stream that winds through town. Across from us is a bare hillside dotted with small puffs of steam coming from geothermal vents. It feels like you're sitting in the crater of a volcano. It's a bit unsettling to realize we probably are doing just that!

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