Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trip to Iceland

It was time for the yearly vacation (not often enough-considering that when working in sweden you are entitled to 5 wks or more of vacation a year, compared to canada's 2) and this time i wanted it to be a longer vacation as i had not done anything outside of sweden this year.

I love NY: the sights the shopping and just the general business that you get there. I would compare it to bangkok or tokyo for the hustle and bustle that you see daily on the streets. Definitely nothing like Calgary, or Edmonton, Alberta where i had the fortune of living for the first 27 odd years of life. As i am on my last pair of jeans that has not entirely disintegrated on my body, I decided that it would be a great time to visit NY again.

Living in sweden gives one a multitude of choice when it comes to air carriers that can take you to the US of A. Fortunately this creates a bit of competition and round trip flights can be had for 500 € or less generally during anytime of the year. Based on the excellent service i received from them last time I decided that I would once again fly with Iceland Air. This gives you an advantage that you are not only getting a great price to your destination with them however you are also able to stop off Iceland for up to 3 months with no extra charge on your ticket. SOLD!

So I decided to do the entire icelandic experience this time and rented a 4x4 for some serious off-roading in order to see as much of the sights as possible. It was me and an Irish that on arrival were on a mission: drive the entire island and visit everyplace imaginable on the tourist map that is provided at the airport.

The result was good and bad. Turns out

Iceland, though it looks very small on a map, is crazy effin big! The roads are not straight nor are they level and driving on them tests the muscles in your neck as well as your rump. That being said, we decided that the best course of action was to see as much as we could along the southern cost and keep the traveling realistic. On returning the vehicle we had driven almost 2000km and visited all the major sights such as (MOUNTAIN THAT ERRUPTED), Several Glaciers and seen the dramatic change in not only landscape but weather patterns that occurred on the island. We even had the opportunity to high to a mountain hot spring and take a dip and to clime inside a once active volcano.

Icelandic people are smart. They know that their country (although for the most part self sufficient) is in the middle of nowhere and if it were not for their spoke like reach to several major cities in Europe and North America, tourism would not really be an industry anyone really depended on around here. to get people to come to Iceland they have excellent, roomy well equipped airplanes and friendly staff. There is no reason not to do a lay over in Iceland right now as their currency is currently in the buckets due to the financial crises caused by their banking sector a few years ago.

Not only are the Icelanders smart, they are equally (if not more-so) friendly. They speak perfect english and they seek out to help you if they see that your somewhat lost or unsure about a way to move forward. while i write this i have just seen an icelandic store attendant running out to catch an american customer who did not receive the proper documentation to receive their VAT refund.

Truly an honest and helpful people.

The Swedish Word of the day is: 'hjÀlpsam' which means Helpful.

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