14.12.2009 0 °C
Quick as Larry, six months had passed. Nothing had changed except our waistlines (ain't desk jobs grand). Just below the muffin tops jingled a handful of new coins. It was time to finish our travels.
After 23 hours on QF001, we landed our red eyes in London and set about buying mittens and woolly underwear. Shopping with AUD in the UK is enjoyable right now, simply because it doesn't bankrupt one any more then shopping in Sydney.
After studying the intricacies of the UK VAT (sales tax) refund system I picked up a digital SLR camera, a Nikko D90 / 12-800 VRII. With this I planned to mete out visual justice to our trip.
After a short flight, we found ourselves on a large cold rock covered in moss and ice. The extremes of beauty and cold inhospitality are savagely pronounced in Iceland. It leaves you wondering what sort of people would choose to paddle across icy seas to settle on such a cold hard lump of igneous rock.
Genetic studies suggest the first settlers consisted mostly of Nordic men and Celtic women. One can only assume they were lost - the Viking men stubornly refusing to ask Thor for directions, and their freshly kidnapped Irish concubines having long since thrown away the map.
Under the cold surface, Iceland is (literally) a hot bed of geothermic activity. Geothermal and hyrdo power stations generate all of Iceland's electricty and heating.
Most importantly from Lim's perspective, one of these power stations provides a hot swimmable pool called the Blue Lagoon. We stopped here for a splash on the way into Reykjakic.
We wandered around in the biting cold long enough to take in the breathtaking landscape.
Eventually we worked up the courage to strip off. I was expecting a warm body and freezing face. Fortunately the water warms the air above, and it is perfectly comfortable. It was easy to pass an hour lounging around in the spa.
Apparently the natural silica ooze is an excellent face treatment.. Perhaps i'll look 10 years younger for the rest of the trip Hopefully the same doesn't hold true for Lim or I'll be arrested.
We booked a tour - the Golden Circle. At around 5000 Krona each ($50 AUD) this wasn't viciously expensive. Only 3 years ago the currency was valued three times higher. The living costs seem comparable to Sydney at the moment.
The tour consisted of a day in a warm bus, with brief outings to check out some pretty amazing scenery.. (whilst freezing our backsides off).. After each walk (photo shoot) we ran back to the bus and tried to warm up our freezing noses :/
Lim with a cold red nose.
People in Iceland are struggling with environmental conservation versus clean energy. A recent Hydroelectric facility destroyed 5 waterfalls such as these.
Its pretty weird seeing hot steam and boiling water in such a cold place. These geysers periodically explode into the air. A famous Iceland geyser is called.. "Geysir". The name from this site eventually became the english noun geyser.
You can stand really close and the hot stream and water shoots up right next to you. I was left with the urge to watch behind my back for ROUS (rodents of unusual size).
Lim is crouching here just to try keep her legs warm.. (it really is that cold)..
The next stop was where the American and European continental plates meet. It is the only place on Earth where you can see two plates colliding above water. The European plate being is being driven under the American.
Now that i've got you all geologically excited.. the photos below show something different, the nearby lake..
Thats it for iceland, next stop Toronto in Canada. Thank god we're going somewhere warm! .. Canada is warm right?!?