Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Icelandic Adventure ~ Part Two

Current mood:  hot
No song for this blog, as Putfile isn't working at the moment.  Maybe I'll write another blog later and include it - because I know this is one Elisabeth will appreciate in particular.
Right, so where did I leave off?  Ah, that's right.  We were looking at the plane, and Mum was getting more and more nervous.
Well, we continued to wander around the airport for a while, David keep wanting to buy Mum (who was suffering from toothache and stomach ache at this point) more and more food.  In the end he just got himself a drink.  There was a small branch of Hamleys (the toy shop) there, but I didn't go pony hunting, as I was scared anything I found wouldn't get through customs on the way back.
Then we went to sit down until we were able to board the plane.  Alongside us were several funny-looking characters:
A woman who was shovelling some horribly smelly food into her mouth out of a little polystyrene tray (which she must have bought at the place from which David had been wanted to get something to eat).  A security guard came up to her and said, "You can't take meat on the plane, you know?" to which she answered, "This isn't meat.  I'm a vegetarian!  Anyway, I'm a very fast eater!"  Well, first off, it certainly WAS meat - well, all right, it was fish.  But if she was a vegetarian, she wouldn't have been eating fish, would she?!  To give her some credit though, she was a very fast eater.  The whole tray of food was gone within a minute of the security guard speaking to her!
A family with two small children who kept going up to the window and BASHING their heads against the glass!  They then commented on the fact somebody had been throwing gloves and socks up on to a low part of the airport roof.  I thought maybe they had knocked themselves silly, but sure enough, there WERE loads of socks (bunched in neat pairs) and gloves on the roof.  Weird...
And the strangest of the lot - another family, this time a teenage boy and his parents.  They KEPT checking their hand luggage, as though terrified something had fallen out, and passing around a baseball cap which all of them appeared to want to wear in turn.  Not to mention all three of them kept hugging each other for no reason at all.  I thought perhaps they were suicide bombers, and were saying their final goodbyes to each other.   Fortunately, I'm still alive to be typing this, as you probably figured out, dear reader, so no, they didn't kill everyone on the plane.
Finally, it was time to get aboard.  We were located in the fourteenth row, the row behind the "suicide bombers".  Although the seats are in rows of three, the mother of the family had somehow ended up the other side of the aisle, while her husband and son sat next to an old lady, who reminded us VERY much of the old woman on our coach trip to Bruges, who the coach driver was convinced was David's "wifey", while I was Mum's sister.  So the old woman on the plane was unofficially nicknamed "Wifey" from that moment on.
When we took off, I realised I had made a big mistake letting Mum have the window seat, even though she always goes on about how we should share all the window seats on coaches.  This was her birthday trip, after all.  I knew she hated flying, but I wasn't aware quite how much.  When we took off, I was straining to look out of the window, and she was straining to look AWAY from it!  Oh well.  I loved watching the clouds below us anyways.
Despite the fact that the "Suicide Bombers" had been split by the central aisle, they still kept passing that blasted baseball cap around.  I tried to ignore them, and tuned in to the in flight entertainment.  It made me laugh that the "Golden Oldies" station included songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.  I'm sorry, but I don't consider the latter two decades to be THAT old.  Or the 60s, really.  Why not have some older music than that, for goodness sake?  Oh well, at least they had some nice easy listening and country songs on there, which made up for the fact the film they were showing was total rubbish.
When the food came around, they remembered to give Mum and I the vegetarian option - a tray of salad.  Um, salad?  With Mum's teeth being the way they were?  Of course, she couldn't eat it, but said that I must.  So I opened up my tray, and realised that I wasn't going to be eating anything.  Salad is all well and good...but with no sauce or dip whatsoever?  Ew.  Not to mention the salad included RAW BROCOLLI AND CAULIFLOWER.  Um...  Yes, quite.  The brocolli was rather brown too...  They did, however, serve us the most scrumptious dessert - a pot of peach and raspberry yoghurt.  I soon discovered this was the infamous Icelandic "Skyr" which all vegetarians there seem to live on.  I wish I had a pot of it now!
Our first view of Iceland came in at 11pm.  It was hard for me to get photos over the top of Mum, but here are my best attempts...

Yep, your eyes are not deceiving you.  It was still light there!  It never gets properly dark - it just kind of stays dusky like that, until about 2am when the sun comes up again.
It was really weird looking down at the place, with little pools of steaming water everywhere, and eery shadows of volcanoes, mountains and glaciers...
Eventually, we came into land, and Mum SCREAMED loudly as the wheels touched the ground.  Everyone was staring at us, and laughing, which was embarassing to say the least.
We went through the airport, and then had the difficult task of finding our tour guide.  Well, it wasn't as difficult as we had feared.  Anna, as she introduced herself, was standing there, holding a huge sign which read "Jules Verne Voyagers" (Jules Verne being the travel company we booked with).  David embarassed me further by asking Mum, in front of Anna (before we knew her name, of course) if Jules Verne was our company.  Um, how can you not even know that much, David?  You were the one who booked for the trip!
We walked out of the airport to the coach, greeted by two large, and somewhat odd, modern sculptures, depiciting a baby bird pecking it's way out of an egg, and half of a rainbow, and a very chill breeze, which made me shiver.  The waterproof ski jackets we had bought were nowhere near as warm as the fleece coat I've been wearing here in England all summer because I hate these t-shirts so much!  At this point, Mum and I feared we would freeze to death over the coming days.
Someone else was walking towards us now to join the group.  Oh, horror!  It was "Wifey"!  And she was heading for David.  "Hello, are you on the Jules Verne trip?"  "Um...are we, Jacqui?" David said.  He'd forgotten AGAIN?!  Once he told her that we were, "Oh, GOOD!  It's WONDERFUL to meet someone who I will be spending time with over the next few days.  Which excursions are you going on?"
"Um..." David stuttered, unsure of what to say.  "Which ones, Jacqui?"  "You're really interested in this holiday, aren't you, David?!" Mum said.  David laughed, embarassed.  "Yes, I am.  But you know what my memory's like!"
Wifey continued to talk.  "Are you going on the "Golden Circle" tour tomorrow?"  "Heh, are we, Jacqui?" David asked.  "YES!"  Mum said, angrily.  The conversation went on like this for some time, until we had gone through all the tours and found that Wifey would be on the coach with us for the whole trip!
David was still embarassed and tried to change the subject.  "Isn't the sky a lovely colour?"  Wifey's reply came in the form of, "Oh, YES!  Isn't it BEAUTIFUL!  I don't think I've ever seen anything so SPLENDID in all my life!"  I know this doesn't sound particularly funny on here, but Mum and I were in fits of giggles at her positive attitude towards everything by this point.  Of course, her very posh English accent didn't really help things.
"Why are we waiting here?" David asked, in his poshest English, seeming to feel awkward in front of this woman.  "There are four more people to come yet." Mum explained...although it turned out she was wrong, and had been counting Wifey in her total.  There were only three more to come, and all of them were together; a family.  A teenage boy and his parents.
OH NO!  It was the "suicide bombers", who we soon discovered were just a very close family, who kept calling each other by name in an endearing way the entire time, and continued to hug each other throughout the entire trip.  Actually, I'm wrong.  Only the mother kept calling her husband and son by name - Rob and Mike, to be precise.  I believe her name was Michelle, but I didn't find that out until the very end.
So, bags packed into the side compartment, we all bundled on to the coach, and drove for twenty minutes or so to our seperate hotels and guesthouses (We'd all paid different amounts for different hotel classes - guess who was in the cheapest one?! )
We were handed two keys for our two seperate rooms, although I don't believe we actually needed them, since the keys appear to have opened any door in the guesthouse, including the main front door, and a door which sectioned off our two rooms from the corridor on the second floor.
Our insurance documents stated that my parents were in one room, and I was in the other but, of course, that was forbidden.  "Remember Madeleine McCann?" Mum asked, speaking of the 3-year-old who disappeared in Portugal last year.  "We don't want that happening to you."  Um, first off, I'm almost six times her age, and secondly, I don't think they were intending on going to the other end of the hotel and getting drunk.  As there were two seperate beds in each room, Mum wouldn't have had to have slept with David, so what on Earth was her problem?  Oh well, at least I got my own bed.
No more talk about the rooms now - on to the pictures!
The room that lead into our two bedrooms

And a few of the two bedrooms from said room

And a few random pics of the room Mum and I stayed in

Ah, yes.  About the water.  After the long journey, I really wanted to have a refreshing wash.  So I turned on the hot tap...  Ew.  If you go to Iceland, NEVER turn on the hot tap!  The water stinks of sulphur, which in other words, means everything it touches smells of rotten eggs.  From that moment on, I would only use the cold water, which was beautifully clear and came from clean underground springs.  They say that you can drink it, but I wasn't going to try that!  It really did wonders for my eczema though, and my teeth have never felt so clean or looked so white!
Anyways, Mum wants to send some of the holiday photos to all of her friends now, so you shall just have to imagine us all asleep that night, and getting up bright and early.  I was so excited!  But apparently that was my downfall, as you will all find out in the next installment...
To Be Continued...

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