Back to reality (and a few final words on Iceland)
lol just using this pic because I like it!
Well I’ve been back to my current real world and wearing only one layer of clothing for almost two weeks now. I’ve pretty much been catching up on sleep, catching up with friends here, working and watching Netflix (OA you sucked me in) —- and, of course, planning my next two big adventures (spring break and summer).
Work is full of changes, which is a constant, and I’m as ready as I can be to guide my girls through it (and it’s good to hear their voices and see their smiles again). InshAllah we end it all in May (when they finish classes; I finish work in July?) with all of us having learned some good things.
The hardest thing for me right now is NOT applying for jobs. I’m so used to having something lined up, and some good posts are popping up all over the place. But, Joe keeps reminding me to relax and allow some chill time (heheheh maybe even Netflix and chill time). This will be the only time I can take some time off while he’s working because once I begin my next full-time position he’s retiring and it’s all on me (well except for the fact that we’re totally using his monthly pension for trips here and there). I’ve never been a kept woman before, so that’s a new border to cross, and I really do like lazy. I’m also really excited about going home to my family and beginning our next phase, wherever that will lead. But first I will have to begin the process of closing my life here, but let’s save that for February or March or, knowing me, later.
Before any of that, I need to tell you the rest about Iceland. I loved that we visited in winter, but I also wish we could go there during the summer. Summer offers MUCH longer days, better weather and more sites. I’d love to see their green! Oh and the sheep taking over the landscape, and the puffins, and, and…those of you who go during summer can tell me all about it.
Pic by Joe
That said Joe did get to go inside a barn and meet the sheep. Um, apparently, the rams are living high on the hog making lambs while they all are warm and protected in their barns. Come spring, all of them are allowed to wander outdoors and feast themselves into a juicy, plump frenzy.
These are the best pics I have of Gullfoss falls, a famous stop on the Golden Circle drive, because it was windy AF and frigid. I was terrified I was going to get blown away. One gust literally blew my feet from under me, and I was pleased with myself for using the poor petite woman in front of me to stop my fall — she, however, had some choice words in her language for me (although didn’t hear them — too busy yelling oh shit). Besides, I’m pretty sure I saved her from becoming a kite, so all is well.
And these are the best pics I could get of a geyser going off. Love the first one because whoops it went off spewing silica my way before I was ready to capture the geyser. But, again thanks to winter weather not the best shots. You will see no selfies of me that day because I was the antithesis of sexy.
My pros and cons of visiting during winter
Pros: Ice caves and experiencing the weather! There’s a tourist ice cave all year long somewhere on the island, but that’s not the real deal. There’s nothing like knowing you are inside — INSIDE! — a flipping glacier. And, my man now has bragging rights — he can drive through anything. Trust me he’ll remind me of this the next time I bitch about his driving.
- Doing the Blue Lagoon while it’s snowing. I’m sure it’s amazing in summer, but I love that we were swimming outside during a snow storm. Sadly, I have no good pics to show. We were there at night in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights, which we did that night, but at our hotel. And, I didn’t have my son’s GoPro on the right setting, so lots of stupid videos of Joe and Me thinking we’re taking selfies. p.s. know that this IS a tourist trap and it will be busy, not something Joe and I tend to like to do, but for we nonlocals it’s still worth it — as are the other geothermal pools we didn’t get to experience.
- The Northern Lights! Who doesn’t want to see that? There’s no guarantee that you will see them, but we lucked out and saw them twice — both times totally unexpected.
- It’s off tourist season, so prices are lower. BUT, let me caution you there are more tourists here during winter than you expect. Somewhere in Asia there’s a super cheap deal going on because there were busloads of groups, every where we went. Joe and I wanted the isolation and solitude of winter — we needed it — and while we had plenty of alone time, we were never totally alone on the roads. Every time we saw horses near the road, there were carloads of folk pulled over petting them — damn it all I wanted one to myself!
These are the only good people-free shots I have, and I’m telling you this horse and I connected. She WANTED me to pet her, but alas the people I politely shoved out of the way were craftier when it came to actual touch time.
I can’t imagine what Iceland is like in summer when it is tourist season. I love people and everyone was really nice (except perhaps me), BUT it’s not as much fun visiting nature’s wonders when there are busloads of us around. That said in summer you could hike remote areas!
- New Year’s in Reykjavik. It’s something you should try to do at least once in your life. It’s a fun city, and this is — so I’m told — the biggest party of the year.
Cons: The weather and shorter days. While we liked experiencing the arctic’s touch of crazy, it prevented us from doing and seeing so much. If we ever go again I’d like to hike all over, explore the north and maybe even make it to the western fjords.
Take for example the area around Vic. While these pics look harmless enough, the weather was relentless that day. We pulled over at one area to walk the black sand beaches, and we couldn’t get out of the car because we were pummelled with black-sand wind gusts. It was like a killer bee movie, only with sand and hurricane force winds. The waves are also no joke! I’m told that’s an all-year thing, so watch out for them.
While we were there some days only had 4 hours of sunlight, some had less or none thanks to storms, but oh my goodness when the sun did come out — she and Iceland showed off their stuff!
Even the fog coming in did lovely dances with the sun.
A plus to other tourists is they’ll take a pic of you in the sun! LOL Joe braving it all with his jacket off, my polar bear.
Regardless of whether you visit Iceland in the summer or winter, it’s worth the money, but please do pay attention to the people who live there. This might be a wonderland of ewws and aahs to you, but it’s been their home for thousands of years. When they tell you it’s going to be a bad weather day; it’s CNN Breaking News weather to you.
They love their land, and they’re such a fun, welcoming people and happy to share it, but some of us disrespect that welcome when we do things like drive places we’re not supposed to drive or stop in the middle of the damned road to take a pic — or even worse disrespect the land and its people by polluting, etc. (although we didn’t see any of that).
Darn it all I’m going off on tangents now, and wishing we could plan a summer trip back to Iceland. There’s people we’d like to see again and camping and there I go drooling again.
Oh too-small SUV how we miss the adventures we took with you! and we’re off the road, I swear!
And since I’m back in my real world for now, there are things I should get done today. Farewell Iceland, our new beloved friend! InshAllah we’ll meet again.
p.s. We also have so many video clips of our crazy experiences driving. I’m hoping one day I’ll actually put them together for a quick clip, but, well, you know how much I love lazy.