Halló Ísland

On October 12, 2011 by i3art

Finally my first post since I’m in Iceland. It’s actually already day two. Day one was too long and too tiresome, but so interesting and already beautiful.

My journey went like this: Bertem to Leuven to Mechelen to Schiphol (Amsterdam) to Keflavik and finally to Reykjavik. Between Mechelen and Schiphol I watched Heima, the documentary about the Icelandic tour of Sigur Rós in 2006, to get in the “zone” :). I forgot how beautiful it was, it made me only more exited about the whole trip. Exactly when the credits started we arrived at Schiphol Airport, that’s what we call timing. Their I stayed for quite a while, luckily I had my laptop to keep me entertained.

Eventually we boarded the plane, a little bit later than planned. Takeoff was smooth and then the entertainment system went live. Immediately I saw a few interesting documentaries on Iceland and also Iceland Airwaves. Eventually I started with an episode of Family Guy. Still Iceland related, many of the Icelandic bands I know like this series :). If I’m correct you can even see a DVD-box from Family Guy or American Dad in the background of Ólafur Arnalds‘ living room when he is performing for his Living Room Songs.

A few episodes and documentaries later we arrived in Keflavik. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the island was that it really was flat. Off course there are also a lot of mountains, but in front of those it is really differently shaped then what we are used to.
Once I saw the airport I was less worried I wouldn’t catch my shuttle bus to the hotel. It wasn’t so big as the one in Amsterdam. But still I had planned to buy me a Vodafone sim-card to have affordable mobile internet, exchange my vouchers into tickets for my planned excursions and shuttle bus and to pick up my luggage. Eventually I had found everything rather quickly and I jumped on the bus towards Centerhotels Skjaldbreið.
On a large paper they were striping for each passenger where they had to be dropped off. When we arrived at the Bus Terminal we were transferred to smaller busses. They tore the paper in smaller ones and each driver got a piece of it. You just had to follow the driver with your stripe. And before I knew it I was at my hotel. Tight old school system.

The welcome was very pleasant. I asked if they could notify the FlyBus to pick me up later that evening for my Northern Light search. And there I was. I was really tired and above all very thirsty.

After I drank way to much water I started with unpacking, activating my Vodafone card and planning what I was going to do until the bus came to pick me up for the excursion.
Eventually I got very hungry so out I went, determined to eat before doing anything else. But before I knew it I was taking pictures and forgetting my stomach. You really can be pulled in by the beautiful sights here. Eventually I walked past Harpa, the new venue where I will be attending the concert by Björk on Sunday, kind of my big ending of the festival.

It’s a really beautiful building, I will be looking at this one more this week.
Eventually the need for food came back and the search for a nice restaurant got back on track. Eventually this little restaurant “Happ” caught my eyes just by its name (if you now Dutch you know immediately what it is all about) and its colorful windows.
The atmosphere inside was really nice, just what I was looking for. They did ran out of English menu’s. They gave me an Icelandic version from which I could understand a few words of every item but they were going to translate it for me. But eventually they thought it might be better to search for an English version. A large group of tourists was using all of the international versions. Now with Iceland Airwaves in town, they said to each other, that they might better be printing out some more.

Because of the large group the kitchen was also having a hard time following with the orders. I had time so no problem there. They even offered me an extra appetizer while I was waiting for my actual appetizer. What also was a surplus was the beer or like they say it here: bjór.

Eventually the food arrived and it was very very good. My appetizer was some kind of cold ravioli with pesto and the main course was a perfectly baked chicken on a bed of my favorite vegetables and with lightly spiced noodles. You would think that is more something Mediterranean but they really had some Icelandic touch to it. Really some flavors added together I didn’t taste before. Nice! I forgot to take pictures from the food, too hungry.
After a coffee it was time to head back for the Northern light excursion. On the way back I heard a band play in a bar. Yes, the waves were already vibrating a little bit trough the air. But there was no time to listen very long. A few minutes later I was tucked in for a cold night and heading for the bus. I must admit I forgot to put on my warmest clothes I brought especially for this trip, which I would regret later on. 🙂

The conditions were ok, there was the open sky but the moon was very bright. Which could prevent us from having our pupils as wide as possible to see the magical light. We drove a long way to get out of the city lights. And eventually we had a few stops and each time we were waiting there for quite some time but we didn’t see anything. But nevertheless we had some beautiful sights on the Icelandic landscape with the moon shining bright. I tried to make some pictures from it but I didn’t bother bringing a tripod so I had to use my yoga technics to keep the camera as still as possible. You can see a few results in the photostream below. After giving up the search we all went back to our hotels, which I didn`t mind, it has been a long day.