Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Start

Some days it would be easier if I was Vulcan and not anonymous.  I would be able to just share my experiences using a mind-meld. Would save a lot of time!

In case it wasn't obvious, I attempted to re-create in my photos, the progression of what I saw so it could be as if you just took a walk with me.  What I obviously wasn't able to do, was show you my reactions and can only hope you might have oohed and ahhed and caught your breath too at sight of some of the same scenes.

D has enjoyed showing some of our photos to his co-workers as it has been satisfying witnessing their reactions.  Our destinations were not on the top of any of their lists.  All of them asked him how did you come up with the idea to even go there?!

After a few of those show and tells, D said that despite my best efforts, I will never get the satisfaction of seeing all of your reactions. And he's right.

Yes there are limitations to this medium.  It was always there.  But since Norway, Cinque Terre and now Iceland/Greenland, not feeling like I've been able to convey the depth of how those places affected me has bothered me a little.  But I share what I can as I'm obviously not trying to make it as a regular blogger, much less a travel blogger.  So don't worry -- I'm not going to start tweeting or start a forum or put up a blog facebook page.  I have enough trouble managing time and technology as it is. 

The genesis of this trip came during the conversation I had last summer in Barcelona with the fellow who sold me my watch.  We talked about how neither of us had seen the northern lights yet despite efforts and how 2013 was going to be a stellar year for solar activity.  He was going to try his luck in Alaska and I told him I wanted to return to Iceland and thought I was ready for Greenland.  If I bump into him upon my return, I will certainly ask him how his trip went.   

That was last summer.  As it has happened often enough I do not question it anymore, I'd be working on something and an email or voice message or some other perfectly timed sign would show up to help me make up my mind during a pivotal moment.

It was New Years day 2013 and I was online out west looking for the apartment rental site for the place I rented in Reykjavik.  I had just shockingly found out the apartment was no longer owned by the same people which to me meant they had sold their gorgeous home.  I immediately thought maybe things had deteriorated financially and they were not able to keep it.  I also noticed their other rental in Italy was gone too.  And I knew what type of strain financially they were under 3 years ago.  It made me sad.

Right then I got an email from the owners wishing me a Happy New Year!  And news of how they are launching a new rental venture.  My mind was immediately made up at that point and the research into Greenland began shortly after I firmed up the Iceland leg.

Our ride in Iceland.  
A modified Nissan Patrol Super Jeep capable of going through
rivers hood deep and inclines that made you feel like you were hanging over a cliff.  
Diesel.  Huge torque, huge tires 
which were deflated before entering the interior.
People who chose to live in the remote areas (which is most of Iceland interior) 
have to be able to get their families in and out safely. 
We got to experience the fun side for about 10 hours.
Cost of modifications alone:  100K+.  Vehicle cost is just the start.

 Volcanic soil very loose.  Took a couple of goes for the Patrol to get up there.

 Took 12 min for our able guide to deflate tires for the rough terrain ahead.
Took about 20 min to inflate them back up on the way back.  

There were 12 earthquake alerts that day.
Something about that made me feel extra alive.  I know I'm crazy.
Iceland has gotten 1000 earthquakes a month before.  
Think about how it would feel to live in a country so active.
When Eyjafjallajokull erupted in 2010
exactly a week after I returned home,
Icelanders flocked to see the eruption in person.
By super jeep, by helicopter, by plane.
They were not deterred one bit.
Employees told their work places they were going into affected 
areas to help with the evacuations of animals and farms affected by ash and just went. 
Employers continued to pay them.
Engineers voluntarily rebuilt parts of the country's ring road washed away from the glacial melt
and the country figured out how to pay for it after.

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