Written by samepenny on 09 Jan, 2001
Iceland is not entirely ice covered all year long, but the weather is variable to say the lease. Based on personal experience and the warnings given in every guide book I've seen, do not begin a hike or a drive in remote places if…Read More
Iceland is not entirely ice covered all year long, but the weather is variable to say the lease. Based on personal experience and the warnings given in every guide book I've seen, do not begin a hike or a drive in remote places if the weather is the least bit questionable.
Iceland is an island in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean. Although it is a large island, it is strongly affected by weather changes that come by sea. The Internet has improved the ability of weather forcasters to get the latest word out to even very remote areas of Iceland, but it is no joke that the weather broadcasts are some of the longest in the world.
Incredible banks of fog can roll in. Apparently clear skies can turn rainy. Rain to sleet and sleet to snow very quickly. Never leave your shelter on foot or even by car without taking along a jacket, high energy foods, water and a radio. If you are on the 'right' side of the mountain, the radio might even work.
You can have avalanches, rock slides, volcanos, violent storms and many other situations that will convince you that you are not in Florida. From our Alaska experiences, we always have jackets with pockets full of gloves, hats, candy bars, matches, a first aid kit and much more. This gives us the appearance of being penguin-shaped. I'm not ashamed to admit this, but I do feel better prepared for circumstances.
We did carry detailed maps, but often without roads or the presence of other obvious landmarks, they were much help. After a while one mountain starts to look amazingly like another. You wonder if you are on a trail meant for people or one left behind by animals. Then, when you least expect it, the trail peters out......what next?
Be smart, be safe, be careful!
Written by samepenny on 13 Nov, 2000
Can you imagine a long fjord off the North Atlantic Ocean, the sides steep with high mountains that in July still have a bit of snow? Can you imagine swans swimming free on the ocean? I can. I can remember what I saw in this…Read More
Can you imagine a long fjord off the North Atlantic Ocean, the sides steep with high mountains that in July still have a bit of snow? Can you imagine swans swimming free on the ocean? I can. I can remember what I saw in this amazing place. Not just amazing because Mother Nature created it, but amazing because people manage to live there 12 months a year. Very lightly populated until this century, and now just a village; the place is so clean, so untouched by civil destruction. A road, yes. Even an airstrip. I watched planes land and take off again. No thank you, I'd rather walk out of town if the choice was that or fly. But the airport connects the villages along the fjord to the rest of Iceland as the sea seldom could. The sea was too harsh for any kind of easy travel.
Now I understand that the road has been made a little safer by a 3 part tunnel, but it's still a long drive out. The mountains are so rounded by millions of years of wind and weather. They're not the wild mountains of Alaska. They look almost easy to climb--they're not. They're higher than they look. In winter the often send down avalanches of snow that sometimes kill people in the own houses.
and..... no trees.....not any along this coastline. Mountains, wind, water and now and then a tiny village.
I've traveled a great deal around the northern Atlantic Ocean. Both to the east in Norway and Scotland and there about and to the west in Nova Scotia and Iceland. (which I think of as more west than east). I feel very much…Read More
I've traveled a great deal around the northern Atlantic Ocean. Both to the east in Norway and Scotland and there about and to the west in Nova Scotia and Iceland. (which I think of as more west than east). I feel very much at home in this part of the world. The sky looks 'right' to me in the land of my ancestors. It doesn't take me long once off the airplane to pick up the accents of the northern latitudes. I love the North!
But to travel in the northern waters by ship, especially a small one is a distinct experience. In Iceland at every port stop we were always greeted on the dock. Icelanders just like the people of Norway, always greet people who arrive by sea. You see them standing there as the ship is tied to the dock and the gangway set. They stand very quietly, politely. They aren't like those folks in the Caribbean who are eager to sell you something on the spot.
No these people of the North greet you with a look of longing. Perhaps they are remembering all those folks who went away by ship either for immigration or fishing and never returned. They shake your hand, perhaps give you a card with their name on it, but they are so quiet. They greet you! It's something that you never, ever forget.
When you sail away, look, someone is standing on the dock, watching, waiting. No ship should ever leave without someone to wave good-bye. It pulls at your heart and you vow to come back, to be the one who returns. Sometimes you do. But then if you are like me....you leave again.
Written by samepenny on 14 Nov, 2000
I 'have' about ten words in Icelandic that are words I've carried around with me from the Norwegian I learned in Nebraska as a child. I know the words for bear, boat, fish, coffee, tea, morning, ship, night, thank you, and mother. Actually…Read More
I 'have' about ten words in Icelandic that are words I've carried around with me from the Norwegian I learned in Nebraska as a child. I know the words for bear, boat, fish, coffee, tea, morning, ship, night, thank you, and mother. Actually you can do fairly well with such a short list, but worry not. Iceland is the most literate country in the world. Literate in Icelandic, Danish and English. Many folks also speak German and can do fairly well in Norwegian as it shares ancient roots with Icelandic. Don't be concerned about going to Iceland and having a language problem.
As my appearance is very northern European, as a rule in Iceland I was often spoken to first in Norwegian, then they would try German and finally settle on English--all this in a transaction to get an ice cream for my husband and a cup of coffee for myself. Don't worry about having a language problem in Iceland. At the furthest end of the road or trail, signs were clear usually in several languages. Icelandic grammar is beyond me, but I carried on in my own way hanging nouns and verbs together in ways that likely were new and different. When you're happy in a place, it is remarkably easy to communicate.
Nearly every Icelandic home is connected to the Internet. Thousands of Icelanders have there own WEB sites-- in English. A newspaper, 'The Daily News From Iceland' is available over the Internet. It's fascinating, especially the weather reports. Daily News From Iceland.