Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Best. Day. Ever.*

The weather in Reykjavik was absolutely brilliant on Sunday. In fact, since I've been in Iceland the weather has been outstanding - so sunny and bright (but not warm). So under a cloudless sky, a hungry man became the adventure man as I set out for Pingvellir National Park for the Golden Circle tour. The park is located about an hour outside Reykjavik, and the tour consists of visiting rifts, geysers, glaciers and waterfalls (to be precise: the North Atlantic Rift, which separates the continents of North America from Europe; Haukadalur's Great Geyser; Gullfoss Waterfall, and; Langjokull Glacier). Started out easily enough; the views from the rift were amazing and the geyser was cool, but then things took a wee bit of a turn. I fell on my ass on my way to view the waterfall. Not a little slip, no - no, a serious, legs up in the air, arms all over the place, flat on your back, fall. See, the path to the waterfall was steep and icy and I was warned to be careful which I sort of shrugged off; I mean viewed from the safety of the car how difficult could it be to walk the path right? Still, as I was making my way down I just knew my hiking shoes wouldn't give me a good grip but I attempted the walk anyway. As I slipped on the icy rocks and rolled towards the edge of a cliff and had to grab on to the barrier fence to stop myself from going on a very long and rather unpleasant fall, behind me I heard the cries of "Oh My God, are you ok"??? Yeah, yeah, save for my aching butt and dignity, doing great thanks - thumbs up!! But that wasn't why it was the best day ever.

After the viewings of the geyser, rifts and waterfalls, I, along with two other people - an English/Scottish couple named Kelly and John, who had just proposed to Kelly at the same waterfall where I took a bit of a tumble- drove out with our amazing (and hilarious) guide Gylfi to the Langjokull glacier in a 4x4 (you NEED a vehicle like this to navigate the roads heading to the glacier. If you rent a car in Iceland, don't even attempt to drive these roads - you'll be sorry and charged big time for damage to the car!). We put on our snowmobiling gear, and for the next two and half hours we rode on the glacier (should have been one hour but we were all having such a great time that Gylfi extended it). It was utterly amazing, exhilarating, breathtaking, f**king awesome. We were admiring, marveling, and staring at the sheer size of it. Driving along, looking out at that incredible, vast amount of emptiness but being so aware of the beauty in that emptiness; of the ice, snow and rocks. You feel so tiny; you become really aware of the loneliness, the isolation of the place, but again there was beauty and even happiness in that feeling. I'm aware that this is coming across as the musings/babble of a stoner, but as you can see/read it's difficult to accurately explain the feelings and sensations of being the only people there (which we were), on this massive mound of ice and snow. All I can say is that it's the best thing I've ever done (well so far on this trip) and what I wouldn't do to do that all over again. I can't say anything else.

Best. Day. Ever.

Pictures from the day will get a separate post – there are a lot of them!!

*Disclaimer: I, Stephen Wilson, reserve the right to change my mind regarding the "Best Day Ever" based on upcoming adventures.

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