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Icebergs



We flew out to Iceland from Stansted Airport in late April 2003. As we flew over towards Rejavick my son commented that there didn’t seem to be much snow. At which the lady in the seat in front turned round and angrily commented that there was no snow in Iceland in April.

We landed late at Keflavik Airport and the bus took us to the hotel that we’d booked on the net. The big thing that I wanted to do was to see some Icebergs and it turned out that there were icebergs to see at a place called Jökulsárlón. It is 231 miles north east of Reykjavík which is some journey.

I decided it could be done and so we went out and hired a car. It appeared that this was unusual but could be achieved. So having wandered around the local garden centre we found a car hire place and the only car they had was a Subaru Impreza – which sounded very grand but wasn’t particularly.

Off we set. Once out of Reykjavík the road became nothing more than a dirt track – with a bridge over a river every few miles. There was not much to see and so I got into the routine of planting my foot as hard as it would go into the carpet and maxed out the car for mile after mile. A great plume of black dust followed the car as we sped into the distance. It must have looked quite dramatic. My memory is that the car maxed out at just above 90 miles an hour and so that is the speed we went at.

We sped northward with nothing else in sight for miles – no cars, no trucks, nothing. We’d hit the wooden roadway on a bridge with a bang and then we’d be over it and speeding onward. This went on for what seemed like an eternity.

We stopped for petrol and ice creams. The petrol station was literally in the middle of nowhere – but the lady that served us was very keen that we disposed of the ice cream wrappers carefully – which I assured her we would.

Vik – The Café
We stopped at a place called Vik – to get something to eat.  We went into the only café in town- in fact the only café for 100 miles probably-  and seeing toasties on the menu we ordered them. The only problem was that they did cheese and ham toasties or cheese and jam toasties, neither of which appealed. So we ordered the cheese and ham toasties without the ham.

Bear in mind this place is a long way from anywhere but the guy that was both the chef and waiter spoke perfect English. The food came with ham but we all make mistakes and so we ate it and moved on.

There is only one road around there so we had to drive back the way we had come. So 300  miles later we arrived back in Vik and went into the same Café. The chef/waiter behind the counter recognised us and immediately apologised for the fact that he had given us ham by mistake and would we please have some cookies free with our coffee to make up for the mistake.

We ordered fish and chips and it came piping hot in 5 minutes. My youngest son requested vinegar and the chef/waiter said he was sorry but it was practically unheard of in Iceland but he would be getting it in along with mayo for the Belgians that came along. We left happy.


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The Icebergs

Eventually we pulled off the road and parked by a lake which ran down to the sea. The icebergs were there – breaking off the glacier into the lake and then onward into the sea. There was heavy cloud cover and the scene was a dull grey. The icebergs came in all sizes from boulder to small bus as they moved slowly toward the sea. They were not pristine white but grey, green and shot through with grey dust. I grabbed some ice and idly sucked it with dire warnings from the family of what it would do to my health – but of course nothing happened. The ice was tasteless water which was omething of anti climax.

Getting Back - Getting Done

We stayed for maybe half an hour – but there is only so far that you can go and we had a huge drive in front of us. We got back into the car – I hit the accelerator and we went back as fast as the car could go for mile after mile. After the café stop we sped on again until eventually some signs for Rejkavik appeared.

Onward, onward I drove until glancing in the rear view mirror I saw a police car with lights flashing. I slowed down expecting the police to speed on into the distance. It didn’t quite work out like that – they indicated that I should pull over which I did. An officer appeared at the window and started talking – I said I was sorry but that I only spoke English. Seamlessly the officer started to talk English and invited me to join him in his car. It was kind of an invitation you can’t refuse so I went with him.

He enquired if I knew what speed I was doing, which is a terrible question. Of course I did – it was 90 miles an hour – but you are damned if you admit it and damned if you don’t. So I prevaricated and was ticked off properly by the officer for my foolish behaviour. He then wished me a pleasant holiday and it was all over.

I drove back more slowly after that.









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