And this is Day 3 in Iceland, aka Thursday last week. On Thursday we decide to be extra touristy, so we go on a couple of tours to see “the sights”.
The first tour involves getting on a coach and driving around to visit some volcanic crater, a small waterfall, a big waterfall and the geysers. This whole thing takes about 6 hours, by the end of which everyone wants to die. Oh yeah, this also costs 7,000 of whatever the currency in Iceland is (I wasn’t paying attention), which is about £56 (or $112). So it don’t come cheap.
Anyway, I can’t pretend that the tour wasn’t worth it, because it was. More specifically, this is what we learn during those 6 hours:
This isn’t such a popular excursion, as the only participants are Scott, me, a young Swedish girl (early 20s) and an old Finnish woman (50s I guess). We also have a driver / guide type person, who is naturally Icelandic and fed up with his own life, because he drives around all day endlessly repeating the same old stories.
There is a great dynamic amongst the group though, as the Finnish woman is lonely and wants to chat to anyone who’ll listen, the Swedish girl is lonely but wants to stay that way, Scott wants to chat to me, I want to be left alone and eat my sandwiches and the driver wants to recite his script and go home.
After the Finnish woman faces strong resistance from both the Finnish girl (who appears to be a deaf mute as she doesn’t speak all day) and me and Scott (who are mainly preoccupied with eating and laughing), she attempts to make conversation with the driver. Conversations between people who only speak English as a second (or third) language are always hilarious, and they remind me of little animals trying to communicate in a manner that is unnatural to both.
This one goes like this:
Woman: How do Icelanders make their money then? What drives the economy?
Driver: I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Woman: The fishing industry can’t be that big.
Driver: No, it’s not.
Woman: What is it then?
Driver: People make money through gambling.
Woman: Really? What do you mean?
Driver: A lot of people play monopoly.
Woman: People play monopoly?
Driver: Yes. Gambling. A lot of money also came from Russia.
Surprisingly, after this, everyone remains a bit quieter than before.
Now people of course are much more interesting than sights, but here’s some info on the sights too.
a) Volcanic crater. I don’t even remember going to that one, so it can’t have been that great. There is a picture of me standing in front of it though, so I must have been there at some point.
b) Small waterfall. Boring.
c) Big waterfall. Now this is good. This is quite an aggressive looking, large waterfall. The coach stops at the top of a hill and we can see the waterfall just ahead of us. There is a narrow footpath that leads down, nearer to the water from the top of the hill and the only thing that separates you from the huge drop on the side of the footpath is a piece of rope on stilts that also seem to be on their way down. As it’s November and everything is covered in ice (the path, the rope, the grass around) the driver stops the coach, lets us out for 45 minutes and advises us not to go down the footpath, unless we won’t to end up with a broken leg / drowning in the waterfall / as part of the Icelandic scenery.
So naturally we ignore him and on the way down (more accurately on the slide down) we take the following pictures:
The rope with its icicles
"I'm so fucking funny and original, I bet nobody else has thought of doing that"
"I've come a long way baby"
d) The geysers. Yeah I suppose they’re kind of cool too, if you like walking around an empty landscape with steam coming out of the ground and the occasional spurt of water.
This picture says "I've taken on the geysers and I've won"
After this quite long day, we go back to the hotel and eat something quickly and then it’s time for another tour, and this tour is called Northern Lights. Don’t worry if you don’t know what the Northern Lights are, I didn’t either, but wikipedia tells me that apparently they are natural colored light displays, which are usually observed in the night sky, particularly in the polar zone.
So a bit like an outdoor disco then; and since I haven’t been clubbing since August I’m thinking that maybe that’s a good way to trip instead.
Anyway, this time the tour involves being driven around in the dark for 3 hours to “look closely at the sky”, reaching a remote and deserted location, hanging out in the cold for 45 minutes and being driven back without seeing any astronomical phenomena whatsoever.
Regardless, during those 45 minutes we get a good opportunity to wrap up and take pictures of each other in stupid hats and scarves surrounded by absolute darkness.
This picture says "who cares about the Northern Lights when I can work a 3/4 pose like that"
I have 13 songs by Embrace and I've played them 244 times
I have 1 song by EMF and I've played it 11 times
I have 1 song by Emiliana Torini and I've played it 11 times