Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ICELAND SAGA: The Road to Isafjordur

The bus that took us from Breidavik/Latrabjarg (or Puffin Wonderland, as I like to think of it) was actually a 12 passenger van caravaning with a second 12 passenger van and a large commercial tour bus that was not filled to capacity.  I didn't question it.  I was just happy to have a guaranteed ride.  Despite the comfort of having transportation, however, I was very uneasy about the 5 hour drive to Isafjordur.  You see, I tend to get car sick in the backs of vehicles--nothing severe, but certainly uncomfortable--and from what I had seen of the windy mountain roads so far, I felt my chances of nausea were between fair and guaranteed.  I was especially worried because I could not find my Dramamine, my security blanket, which I was sure I would vomit all over the place in a hugely embarrassing fiasco without.  The panic was enough to make my stomach hurt, but after rummaging through my bag for a second time I found the pills ten minutes before we took off.  Sigh of relief.

Here are some words and phrases to describe the roads we drove along: um, let's see, "terrifying" is definitely one of them, "steep," "narrow," "curving," "unpaved," "full of sharp turns that the driver took too quickly in my opinion," "lacking ANY guard rails."  And here are some words and phrases to describe our bus driver: "very, very nice and funny," "a badass," "a real stud," "drives like he used to compete in NASCAR," "overly confident in his driving ability on these roads, perhaps, but hey he does this all the time and he got us to our destination in one piece."

And here's what was smack dab in the middle of the drive and the destination for a fifteen minute break.

Absolutely gorgeous, right?  All the travelers tumbled out of the vehicles and immediately started snapping pictures.  Here's the one I took of Joe:

And the one he took of me:

So far on the trip we had only gotten one picture of the two of us together (Gulfoss) so we decided to be brave and ask someone to snap one here.  The man we asked was very kind, and he took the shot VERY seriously.  We posed, and he suggested that perhaps the picture would look better if we scooted a couple inches to our right.  So we did.  But the kind man was not satisfied.  What would look even better, he said, was if we moved ten feet backwards and three feet to the right.  He placed us exactly where he meant.  Wow, this is going to be a really good picture, I thought, This man really cares.  We posed and waited for him to finalize his composition.  And waited.  And started laughing while we waited some more.  And then he clicked the shutter.  We thanked him for the photo and for taking the job so seriously.  And then we looked at the back of the camera (WARNING: WORST PHOTO OF ME EVER TAKEN!!  DON'T LOOK FOR MORE THAN A COUPLE SECONDS!)

Now, avert your eyes!  Did you see it??  He only photographed the mini waterfall!  The little guy!  Why, oh why, would he do that?  If someone asked me, heck, if someone asked a child to photograph them in front of the waterfall, both the child and I would have included that large, glorious waterfall at the top of the mountain in the background.  Joe and I immediately burst into a laughing fit.  Actually, that picture of me by myself was taken right after this one, and I'm still laughing in it.

We arrived in Isafjordur at 9 p.m., hungry and sleepy.  We checked in to our guesthouse, made a bowl of pasta, and hit the hay.  We were only going to be in the town for that night.  It was really just a stop on our way to the country's second largest city, Akureyri.  We woke up early the next morning to do a little bit of exploring before having to leave for the domestic-flights-only airport.

This picture makes me think of the riddle "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"  Click here to read some theories.

Waiting for yet another bus...

Thanks for getting my head in there, Joe.  Off to Akureyri in a little plane!

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