We've just got back from a really great trip to Iceland, the small island where everything is on a massive scale. If you like mountain and volcanic scenery it is simply stunning. We spent a week travelling in the south of the island. Our original plan was to travel around the whole island but we decided to take things slower and not to spend all the time driving.
Elaine did the usual research before we left. It was perfect timing on her part because we had generally good weather (though of course it was cold) and there was a new moon, so it was great for seeing the Northern Lights (unfortunately we didn't have a good enough camera to take any photos, doooh!).
Iceland itself we soon learnt was very expensive (especially buying food in super markets and eating out in restaurants) and the blokes are very weird as they don't crack onto you when you speak to them and don't show any emotion. We thought they were all just being miserable but we were assured they are just "shy". Also they all pretty much look the same! It took us a while to work out that we couldn't buy beer and wine in the super market. We had to go to the "Vinbudin", where the staff treat you as if you're after something really dodgy, eg buying porn movies or trying to score some drugs (not that I have experience of either! Honest!)
Highlights of all the places we visited were:
the plate tectonic boundary at Pingvellir and the bridge between two continents;
the geysir Strokkur and the hot springs;
countless impressive waterfalls such as Gullfoss;
the smoking hot springs at Gunnuhver;
the dormant volcanoe craters of Kenio;
the ice lagoon at Jokulsarlon;
the enormous Vatnajokull glacier;
the Eyjafjallajokull volcanoe;
expansive glacier outwash plans such as the awe inspiring Skeidararsandur
and of course seeing the Northern Lights doing their thing. Simply amazing.
We have both decided that we'd love to go back. Twice. Once in summer to discover the interior and walk up some volcanoes and once in the depths of winter to see the glaciers at their best and also the frozen waterfalls. But we'll save it for a couple of years probably.
We had a few days either side of our flights in Liverpool (which allowed us to get our border collie fix by staying with Ewan and Brenna again AND also a couple of cracking sessions at the Climbing Hangar). It was also great to meet up with my 3 sisters as well as catching up with some old friends from so long ago, namely Dave and Sue Wooliscroft and Mike and Rosie Harris.
Next stop: a short 3 week trip to somewhere in Spain on Wednesday (after we've had our last jabs for the China trip). All's going great and according to plan.