Tuesday, June 22, 2010

72 Hours of Daylight

So apparently I'm a Bachelorette fan now. I watched an episode with the roommates and now I'm hooked. Embarrassing I know. But last night's episode took place in ICELAND! So between all the weather warnings for tornados in the Milwaukee area, I got to relive my little trip to Iceland with Katie.

We got there on a Friday, after leaving the rest of the family and my GIANT overweight blue suitcase that had practically my whole life in it. As we got off the plane and onto a bus to go into Reykjavik we noticed the ash in the air. It seemed just like fog but there was a layer of ash in our hair and on every surface around town that fog definitely didn't do. We asked around and found out that is was ash from the infamous volcano, but that this ash in the air had only happened one other time. It had been unusually winding around the volcano in the south.

We walked around for a bit, then had traditional Icelandic food for dinner, which consisted of weird food in jars. I had fish stew, which sounds pretty safe, but actually kind of tasted weird. To me Katie's was even worse, but she liked it.

Every night, we were beat from a full day of touring, but Iceland just didn't want us to go to bed. It stayed light pretty much the entire time we were there, hence the blog title. It was weird getting ready for bed, brushing your teeth, and laying down to sleep when the sun is saying its basically the middle of the day. By the last night there, I was used to it.
Saturday we went on the Golden Circle Tour. We saw geysers, waterfalls, and tectonic plates. I was actually in North America and Eurasia at the same time! Also, Iceland uses tons of geothermal energy, so we got to tour their power plant, which was really interesting. A long day in the bus seeing lots of Icelandic horses and strange scenery led to another early night in. The landscape went from snow covered mountains, to green fields, to this weird rocky desert like landscape covered in grey moss.

Sunday was a great day planned by me. A free tour of the city, the flea market, the Iceland Museum and hot dogs for lunch. The Maritime Festival was going on that weekend, so we got to see lots and lots of dead fish and a dead whale. They had a Coast Guard rescue simulation straight from The Guardian so we obviously were into it. All this right before we went whale watching.

Now you would think whale watching would be really amazing. We were imagining a giant humpback or sperm whale swimming beside our boat, jumping around, splashing us, and blowing out of his blow whole. It didn't happen. Needless to say we were pretty disappointed. We did, however, get to wear sweet jumpsuits that kept us warm and saw lots of puffins. As our boat got close to them, they tried to fly away but sometimes are too full from eating so they just barely skim the top of the water.

We did get lucky enough to see some dolphins. A huge pod of them that kept coming up, just enough to see their top fin. We got our pictures and were ready to head back but instead circled these dolphins for about..... a half an hour. I was done with the dolphins after about 10 minutes. Finally we headed back. Kate and I were both freezing cold and pretty bored, so we went inside and read books about saving Keiko, the whale from "Free Willy" who was originally from Iceland!

The next day it was time to head home. We took a quick stop at the Blue Lagoon before our flight. Unfortunately, there was a mix up with our tickets so we couldn't actually swim in the steaming blue water, but still got to snap some cool pictures.

We were on our way home. An amazing end to my semester spent with a great travel partner.

I sat on the plane, a five hour ride home and thought of all the things I had done and people I had met. As I watched "Marley and Me," (a movie I had seen before) I cried my eyes out, trying to hold back loud sobs so people wouldn't think I was that weird girl crying on the plane. But I knew I wasn't just crying for this dying golden retriever, but was crying because an unforgettable five months was ending and the next part of my life was beginning. I would be back home to Quincy and Milwaukee soon, and knew that I had to take everything I had learned about myself and the rest of the world and actually do something with it. I must admit, it is a little harder to come back than I imagined, but I am slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things, happy that I have good friends and family to help.

1 comment:

  1. How lucky to have been able to spend 5 months in beautiful Ireland and then to end in Iceland. I went to Iceland several years back and couldn't get over how pristine everything seemed. I remember that the drinking water was completely clear.

    Your photos from the countries are gorgeous! I'd love it if you joined Pink Pangea, the online community where women travelers can get advice specifically geared for other women travelers. There, you can share you experiences abroad, post photos and interact with other women travelers.

    I look forward to reading about more of your travels!