Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Velkomin til Íslands

It was a Thursday. The eighth of April, 1999, precisely. The day a few of me mates and I landed in Iceland. We took off from Logan International Airport in Boston sometime around 8 or 9 p.m., Wednesday. A little over five hours later, we were preparing to land at Keflavik International Airport, Keflavik, Iceland. Locally, it's about 6:30 a.m.

The view of the harbour during our descent was stunning. Picture one of those helicopter fly-by shots of a dark, placid, blue-green sea littered with the tips of a thousand icebergs. Add the arctic sun, barely extricating itself fully from the horizon, providing spectacular back-lighting and forget it. Some sights may match its beauty but, dare I say, none will ever surpass it.

It was as if we'd flown, directly and unequivocally, into one of those documentaries you'll find on The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Channel, et al. If it was the opening scene of a movie, it'd be discarded as cliché.

That was my first glimpse of Iceland. I was jazzed up.

After landing, deplaning, regaining our luggage, and undergoing the necessary but awkward and nerve-wracking pass through customs, we head for the bus to Reykjavik. Once aboard, we're treated to a 45 minute ride through a Flintstone-esque landscape of lava fields. Each mile, excuse me, kílometrar, is practically indistinguishable from the next. But it's beautiful. I've never seen anything like it. I'm mesmorized.

We arrive at the hotel and check in unceremoniously, unpack, settle in, and rest for a spell. We'll be needing our strength for the horseback riding session I've just booked for this afternoon over the phone from my hotel room.

After one or two hours and a short taxi ride outside the city, we're at the farm. Upon entering we all realize that we need to get a picture of all of this. So, here is that picture :

This is the view as we enter the pen of the horses we'd soon be riding. We settle down and after an acceptably thorough instructional presentation, we lot are ready to mount. It's a fairly relaxing ride amidst a landscape of mostly lava fields and small ponds with faint traces of golf course on the outskirts of the trail.

Here's a snapshot of the surrounding landscape, which is also representative of alot of the landscape we encountered on our bus trip from the airport. I'm still fascinated by it this early in the trip :

And for posterity's sake, here's a bit of our group on the trail :

This is day one. Maybe it's eight hours after landing at the airport. Whenever it is, it's the beginning of an adventure like no other.

Stay tuned... The excursion continues.


pog mo thoin said...

Wow Guinness! I have been travelling myself so I didn't get a chance to read your blog for a couple of days. I read them both at the same time. I am glad you are on vacation in the spoils of Iceland because that CIO thing sounds harsh. I hate when people who would be the first ones to complain because you didn't return a phone call fast enough are the same people who end up getting arrested for taking a dump on a service cart on an flight to Chicago or wherever that guy was going (do you remember that story)? CIOs my ass.

Anyway, Iceland looks lovely. Have fun! It will all be waiting for you when you are back ;-)

Road to the Isles said...

Pog - It was a Thursday. The eighth of April, 1999, precisely. But his story continues...

Please excuse Pog. She has jet-lag!

Viszlát Sjáumst said...

Yes.. that's quite all right. I was going to point that out, myself. No worries - although, I wish I was in Iceland, right now!

As for the CIO Workshop - I'm quite glad that is over... things seem to have returned to normal. Somewhat. There's ample parking but the bathroom's are still a wreck - although, thankfully, nothing like that airplane story.. I DO remember that!

A dastardly deed such as that demands prison time. no questions asked!