Iceland – Hello Iceland

Its taken us all of 3 hours to get to the car hire place.

We landed at 6:15, but its now 9 am, and even the receptionist was confused as to why we were only now standing at her desk. We had a dude to come pick us up and take us to the rental place and everything.

But, all that matters, is that despite the stinging rain, miscommunications, lack of information from the hire company, and multiple shuttles that we definitely didn’t need to take, we are at the hire place, and we are about to get in our pimp wagon.

It has cost us 207 euro for the week to hire the car.

Unlimited kms, and it’s diesel, so we good.

Bec is the bargain hunter of the century, or at least of this trip.

We pick up the car, and head through the darkness of the mid morning.

Thats right.

It’s not the darkness of the early morning. Its 9:30 am, and its pitch black. This is Iceland. The place we are staying is about half an hour away from the airport. We pull up to the place, and I can see the light on inside. Upon knocking on the door, we are greeted with someone who doesn’t quite understand what is going on.

“Valdimar?”, I asked.

“Valdimar upstairs”, was the reply.

“Thanks mate”. That explains the confusion.

We knock for the second time, and there is an almighty bark from the dog, followed by a bit of a rustle behind the door. The lights aren’t on, so I am assuming that there was a bit of a sleep in happening. The door opens up, and Valdimar welcomes us through. My guess is that yes, we had just woken him up. This was my assumption because when he greeted us, he had the zip for his jumper running down behind his shoulders.

I felt bad that we had woken him up, but at the same time, I really had no idea what else to do. I didn’t really wanna just have to go kick back at a cafe or anything for a few hours. We would find out later that they had only gone to sleep at 4am, so in a way, it was lucky that we were held up trying to find our hire car otherwise we would have got to Valdimar and Sara’s place, having only given them a couple hours sleep.

We head into the Kitchen and the Coffees are under way. I’m usually quite picky with how i have black coffees, but this is actually really awesome. No sugars, no milk. Nothing. Just coffee, and its great. Turns out that the Icelandic folk among us are avid coffee drinkers and neck the liquid gold, like its going out of fashion.

When we were at the wrong car rental place, I had a coffee.

When we got to the right car rental place, I had a coffee.

When Valdimar welcomed us into his house, I had a coffee.

By the time Sara came out to say hi to us, I had another coffee.

Needless to say, the poor sleep and high levels of discomfort from our flight over to Iceland were obliterated by the copious amounts of coffee we had already consumed. We get talking with Sara and Vald, and its just like catching up with old mates. I know I have said this in other posts, but I love the community of Couchsurfing.

With Airbnb, I feel as though because you have the exchanging money, there is an obligation (whether valid or not), for the host to have to look after you and go out of their way for you as their guest. With CS, I find that because it is travellers helping travellers, there is that common bond already, and everyone is on the same playing field. Its just like you’re catching up with mates of yours all around the world.

The only thing I can say, is that there seems to be quite a substantial amount of nudists on Couchsurfing. I’m not talking like 40% or anything, but I’ve come across probably 5-6 accounts on CS, where there are people who actively say that they live a nudist’s lifestyle. So, as good as it is, pick who you stay with.

Pick very wisely.

Regardless, Valdimar and Sara aren’t nudists, and they are great people to hang out with. We spend the next hour or so just talking, sharing our experiences in life, finding out who the each of us are, laughing and getting the low down on Iceland and everything it has to offer. Valdimar tell us story after story of retarded tourists that he has had come stay with him. From those who don’t understand how ice works, to people wanting to drive through the impassable in less then a 4wd.

We’re a special breed, us humans.

We unload all our gear into the house, and head to spend the afternoon at the Blue Lagoon. You’ve seen it on the internet and read about it in magazines. Valdimar was telling us that going back a couple decades, it wasn’t commercialised, so you were able to just grab a heap of booze, and head there with your mates for the weekends and get on the turps together. That sounds like the exact right way to spend an afternoon.

Untouched Iceland would have been an amazing sight. You can certainly tell that Iceland is one of the most popular tourist destinations nowadays though. The exorbitant prices of bread and dip reaffirm that.

Valdimar decides to show us around the country side before we head to the lagoon. We aren’t out of town more than 5 minutes, and there are these volcanic rock formations happening everywhere. It literally covers the ground everywhere you look. There are no trees either, which gives you an even better view of the landscapes around you.

I have no doubt that there are other countries with just as many mountainous regions in such a dense area. What I doubt that they would have, is the vast openness of the landscapes. Being that there is such few trees and shrubbery, the landscapes are laid bare before your eyes. Completely unhindered.

Porous rock formations litter the landscapes everywhere you cast your eyes. Roads zig zag along water fronts and hug the cliff face of jagged rocks nestled above you. Its the land of raw beauty, and I am so glad we are here.

Bec and I exchange looks of tiredness. Despite our coffees, we are starting to fade. We alternate who is sleeping while the other one is awake, so as not to be too rude to our guests who have taken time out of their day to show us around.

hello-iceland-1

Soon enough, we arrive at the Blue Lagoon.

You walk through a path cut out of the rocky outcrop. Its really cool to see that they have worked around the landscape instead of just bowling it over in the name of tourism. That is really cool to see, and unfortunately, something that I’m not so familiar with.

hello-iceland-5

Vald and Sara have got these passes which let you go to the lagoon whenever you want, regardless of whether it is booked out or not. On top of that, instead of costing up to 7400 isk, it only costs 5000 isk. Regardless of whatever time you visit. This, I am ok with. We head through, and I just follow Vald’s lead, while Bec follows Sara’s. We head out from the showers into the pool, which starts inside, and you have a door you push open to let you outside, to the rest of the Lagoon.

hello-iceland-6

There is everything here. Steam rooms, saunas, a bar, massage sections, man made waterfall, face mask bar and endless rich, toasty warm blue water for you to swim through. The face mask bar is great. It’s this natural silicone gear, which you apply on your face, and I mean really layer that gear on, let it sit for 10 mins and dunk underwater to wash it off.

hello-iceland-11

Valdimar & Sara

Do this twice during your visit, and your face will be as smooth as a baby’s bum. It’s that good. But! One thing we did learn, is that the face mask gear has to accumulate somewhere after it’s washed off right? The area that it accumulates, is in the furthest pool you can get to.

You will feel it in your toes.

Not great.

hello-iceland-8

I am baffled by the amount of people who bring their phones and cameras into the pool. Granted, there are a lot of people who have their phones and cameras in waterproof bags or housings, but there are just as many people, if not more, who have them in the pool with them, completely exposed. If anything happens, good luck.

I am keen to get some shots, myself, so I do the unthinkable and grab my camera to shoot in the pool too.

hello-iceland-3

I get some punter, who someone else has just coaxed to take a photo, to take a photo for us too. I suspect that he is kinda over it, but isn’t rude, so he obliges. I’m trying to work out how I can shoot the shots I want without bringing the camera into the pool with me. I can’t work out any other solution than to just be really really careful.

hello-iceland-2

So, that is exactly what I do.

Every step I take is intentional.

Starting from the heel, applying more weight to the ball of my foot.

hello-iceland-10

I get the shots I am after, and we head home. The Blue Lagoon may be a bit pricey, but I personally do recommend it. It’s a must do if you come to Iceland. Valdimar and Sara have got dinner sorted for us too. Bec does the cooking though, and as per usual, nobody is upset by that. Sara picks her brains, and a smile creeps across Bec’s face as she explains her tricks.

hello-iceland-17

We tuck into the most delicious trout, and spend the rest of the evening chatting and telling more stories of our adventures. We talk about politics and the issues in various nations around the world.

hello-iceland-18

We are sure to enjoy our time with Vald and Sara. They are headed to Portugal tomorrow morning, and have left the house in our care. We literally just met them today, and now we are looking after their house and dog while they are away. Its so amazing to see people’s trust in a day and age when most people wont trust their own families. As I said before, I love the CS community.

hello-iceland-16

We tuck in for the night.

We are absolutely spent, and sleep like logs.

Thats all I have to say about that.

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

hello-iceland-13hello-iceland-12hello-iceland-14

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s