Friday, September 16, 2011

Destination: Iceland

First stop of the trip - Iceland. Somewhere I've always wanted to visit. Now, some might say that Iceland is not, in fact, on the way from Seattle to Zimbabwe, but I tend to make up my own geography when it suits me. And if you view the world as a globe rather than a map, it's not that far off. In fact, our flight took only 6 1/2 hours - about the same as flying direct from Seattle to Miami. My father, on the other hand, flew in from Tallahassee and had a 24 + hour trip.  Not only am I brave for taking this trip with my four year old, but some would question my sanity for also traveling with my father. But, other than some questionable taste in music (seriously, Dad- Billy Ocean is in your top 1000 songs of all time?) and a few visits from Mr Burpypants, we had an excellent time!

But, about Iceland. I never thought a place without trees could be so stunning. And so unlike anywhere else. The drive from the airport to Reykjavik, though, was less than inspiring. Fortunately, things imrproved and we soon learned what all the hype is about.

Day One: Boiling mud holes, steam vents and the Blue Lagoon.
Zavion's take on the mud pits? They must have been created by a meteor back in dinosaur times (the holes are dinosaur footptrints.) And the smell? Apparently, sulfur smells most like rotten bananas and rockjuice (?) He's creative, if nothing else.
Zavion relaxing in the Blue Lagoon. Perfect temperature - though not cheap. 'Mommy, why do all those people have white on their faces? Are they trying to be vampires?'

We picked up my father in the afternoon and Zavion promptly fell asleep at 4 pm. And couldn't be roused for anything. I guess jetlag had set in. As for Dad and I, we made it to 8 o'clock.

DAY TWO - Golden Circle

Zavion awoke fully at 3 am and began peppering me with whispered questions - everything from body parts to animals to geography. 'Zavion, why are you asking so many question?' 'Because I like to learn new things and you said that's really important!' Good point. So, it was an early start to the day. Having skipped dinner, Z was famished by breakfast time. 'Do you know what my stomach just said to my esophagus? "I'm hungry - send me some food down here!"' Point well taken. (During breakfast, his stomach was heard saying, 'thanks, esophagus, but keep it coming!')

Today, we took our rental car (christened the 'Silver Bullet') and hit the well-trodden 'golden circle' route - including Pingvellir National Park, Geysir and Gulfoss waterfall. The trip did not disappoint.


Pingvellir Nat'l Park. Like a little lost world. This is the rift where the American and European plates meet. We did a lot of walking and a little rock throwing.  While walking, Z wrote a song dedicated to our car - "I love silver bullet. I love it so much. It's my favorite car in Iceland. I love it because, because, because, because.... it can kill werewolves!"

Stokker Geyser at Geysir Nat'l Park. Pretty impressive stuff. We lunched in the overpriced visitor's center and Z had a go at trying to be Thor.

Our next stop was Gulfoss waterfall - and, though the pictures don't do it justice, it is a very impressive falls, indeed! Zavion even used the word 'exhilerating' to describe it!
After all that driving, our plan was to have dinner in Reykjavik and check out the town a little bit. Well, Zavion managed to fall fast asleep. At the table. Before our pizza had even arrived. So, another early night to the hotel and to bed.

DAY THREE - driving east. This day consisted of a LOT of driving after a delicious breakfast at the hotel. Our goal was, according to GPS, about a 5 hour drive away. Of course, with lots of stops for short walks, meals and countless photo opps (not to mention an ash storm and crushed finger,) it took us 12. Thank goodness for the ipod touch to keep Zavion busy (I have a love/hate relationship with that thing!)

Instead of describing the day with words -  I'll do it with pictures :)

Random views in the southeast. These are picked from hundreds of similar pix. It was truly beautiful.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall. 'Mommy, I've never walked behind a waterfall before!'

Skogaafoss waterfall. Here's where Zavion met his one kid friend of the trip - a little French boy that he ran around, jumped and played 'get the stick' with. When I asked Z the little boy's name, he said, 'I tried to ask, but he doesn't speak English OR Zavionese!' They had a great time despite the language barrier and the playtime still ranks tops on Z's trip highlights. Makes me sad that he doesn't have a permanent playmate on this trip! Soon, though.
The coast near Vik - our lunchstop (and the site of the afore-mentioned finger smashing.) Yes, it was only lunch time. A morning of waterfalls.... an afternoon of glaciers and icebergs...

We stumbled across this iceberg filled lake totally by chance - it isn't on any map or sign-posted from the road. I turned off the road for a picture and we decided to follow this tiny dirt track. Boy, was it worth it. We practically had to ourselves and it ended up being one of the highlights. Throwing rocks at the bergs, naming the shaped ones, even touching them. It's these little, unexpected finds that make travelling so much fun!

We continued our still picturesque drive until it was almost dark. Found our farmstay, but not without incident. It was more remote than we thought and when we arrived, nobody could be found. By making a quick phonecall and finding a crazy-haired guy on a tractor, we finally got our room. Rustic, but comfortable. We were too exhausted to worry about driving anywhere for dinner, so we settled for tuna, crackers, grapes and cookies in our room. 

That's all I have time for right now. I'll finish Iceland in the next post. And then try to catch up with Norway, Copenhagen and England.  I'll leave you with this picture:  Dad had no idea what was going on behind him :)-


  1. Most impressive...and I'm amazed that you were able to reduce the 1000's of photos to these few. looking forward to more adventures!