Friday, June 24, 2011

A Midsummer's Dream, Part 1

In 2002, after dropping out of school, I decided to take my savings and get away for some serious off-time.
I purchased my very first car and a ticket on the ferry to Iceland.
The plan: To visit Sif and travel around Iceland for the whole summer.

That old Opel Corsa, with which I was going to have many adventures over the years, almost turned out to be a pig in a poke, with a worn camshaft and an overall sad composition.
With many thanks to my friend Bas, we fixed all the issues and prepared the car for the long journey.

The first leg to tackle was the 1000 km trip to the north of Denmark, where the Smyrill line ferry would leave for Seydisfjordur, Iceland. In later years I've driven the same distance a number of times, but no matter what you do, driving 1000 km in one go remains one hell of a liaison.
Anyways, I made it to Denmark well in time for the departure and secured my place onboard.
Being on a budget, meant that the only way to go was shared bunks... Up to 6 guys in cramped quarters, way below deck. It didn't matter, because it was an exhilarating feeling when the ship left the harbour to steam onto the North Sea.
Off to carry me towards those distant shores.

The Smyrill line ferries, being a company from the Faeroe Islands, made a stop in Thorshavn where all passengers  had to embark. The ferry would then leave for Bergen, Norway, to pick up more people and return the next day.
That leaves one with 1,5 days to spend on that magnificent group of islands halfway between Norway and Island.

Stunning scenery!

Thรณrshavn, The Old Town

The ferry sails between the typical Faeroese islands, on towards Iceland.

The next evening the ferry left Thorshavn again to sail Northwest toward Seydisfjordur, where we arrived the next morning. After a short visit for coffee at Sif's parents (who live in Seydisfjordur) it was finally time for the real adventure to begin. 
I had to drive to the other side of Iceland, 720 km along the south coast to Reykjavik, where Sif had a nice apartment in the main street Laugavegur.

The road went over several mountain passes and valleys of the South-east.

At some point I decided to find a place to camp, and found this fantastic and quiet campsite between the mountains and right next to a river.


Only some sheep for company

'Old Swing' feels right at home

Magical place

The next day I passed Jokulsarlon, and area where pieces of ice are breaking of the glacier and flow into the sea.

The road continues...

And goes on and on...

Then finally leads to downtown Reykjavik and Sif, And I am set to spend the best part of the summer exploring this magnificent landscape and the company of a loved one.

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik

To be continued!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Winter in Iceland

After that first visit, I returned to Iceland a number of times.
The next visit was a birthday present from my mom, in February of 2001.
(Thanks Mom!)
Together we went to Reykjavik for a long weekend and travelled the 'golden circle'.
A visit to the Blue Lagoon, Krusivik, Gullfoss and the Geysir. We were very fortunate with the weather and Iceland in the winter is just as magnificent.

Geothermal area Krusivik

Stora Strokkur

Me and mom waiting for the next eruption

Thingvellir,  right on the rift of the two continental plates.

During the summer of 2001, Sif Sveinsdottir locked her apartment in Reykjavik and came to Holland for the summer. It was absolutely great to have her here. She found a job, we went to some music festivals and basically spend a lot of time together.

In the train, on our way to a music festival.

Around Christmas that year, I took off three weeks to visit Sif again.
Met her wonderful family during Christmas in Seydisfjordur. Spend time with her brother and his family and celebrated the new year.

Lonely Road in a vast landscape

New Year fireworks in Reykjavik

Coming up next, the summer of 2002