I am officially on my way to the Camino (by way of two-day stop in Iceland and a brief layover in Paris.) The airfare was significantly cheaper on IcelandAir.
Apparently, the country is attempting to draw tourist with these crazy low prices. And it’s working! They advertise free layovers and really cool tour packages. So I took them up on the offer and decided to stay a couple of days here and see the sights and lights, the Northern Lights, to be specific.
What I didn’t take into account was the jet lag factor. You see, the flight from Orlando to Reykjavik was not one of my better international travels. I can usually take a two hour nap even on a puddle jumper plane and I never fail to dazzle my traveling companions with my ability to sleep from wheels up to touch down on overnight flights. Perhaps, it is because my flight departed at 7:00 in the evening and landed in Iceland at 1:00 in the morning to my body clock (which was not believing the lie that it was sunrise in this country no matter what the airport clocks said.)
Once I boarded my flight, I did my normal routine. I had a window seat so I could lean against the side of the plane to sleep. I unpacked my travel pillow, my ear plugs and my eye mask. (I usually have my own blanket and blow-up foot rest but I left them at home because of weight issues.) I even brought out the big guns – a half an Ambien! I was selling but my body wasn’t buying. I wrestled my arms, legs and torso into a dozen pretzel positions attempting to get comfortable, somewhat to the chagrin of the woman in the seat next to me (who had chosen the sane route of watching a movie or two which would carry her effortlessly and entertainingly over the multiple time zones.) I, ultimately, repented of my druggie-ways and tried dissolving a cherry-flavored Melatonin under my tongue. This, plus a contorted position any Cirque de Soleil performer would envy, bought me a couple hours restless intermittent dreaming. Upon landing, I caught an hour bus ride to Reykjavik and then tried to take a little nap on the benches in the bus terminal. (Yes, I am THAT person.) Not much luck. It was finally time for me to board the van for my day tour of Iceland.
First, let me say the scenery here is absolutely stunning. Wow. Wow. Wow.. So green with more animals than people. All shapes, sizes and colors of sheep everywhere. Painting-worthy farms with red barns, tranquilizingly blue ponds, rivers cutting through flat expanse for as far as the eye can see, cows grazing rolling hills, fluffy horses (I didn’t even know there was such a thing) and the puffiest, fluffliest, whitest clouds above and, seemingly around, everything.
Even the lava fields are gorgeous. Natural Hot springs springing up here and there and everywhere. Patches of moss so spongy you feel like you’re walking on a trampoline. Craggy rock sculptures that would make Rorschach’s head spin with curious interpretations. OH, and the waterfalls! The waterfalls just show up out of the most unlikely places. I can only imagine the ocean the must be within this land because it is simply dying to get out of any nook or cranny to say hello – in a lovely, sonorous, vibrato voice.
Here’s the really sad thing about driving through all this gorgeousness. I always fall asleep on long drives. And, that’s even without the added element of jet lag. It was the middle of the night all day long to me. I kept dozing off while looking out the window. Finally, I just opted to skip lunch and sleep in the back seat. That helped me get over the hump and I was able to enjoy more extraordinary landscapes and delightful conversation over dinner with new friends from Thailand, England, Norway and New York.
Sadly, it is overcast tonight so we won’t get to see the Aurora Borealis. Keeping my fingers crossed and prayers under my breath for clear skies tomorrow night.