ICELAND / TRAVEL STUFF

gamla fólkinu

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The day started a little late on Thursday but we ended up getting out of the house around lunch and made our way to one of the local restaurants. Grandpa was telling me stories about his job at Keflavik airport and how flights crossing the Atlantic ocean had to stop in Iceland to refuel. All fun little stories. He met Ava Gardner, Prince Phillip and Winston Churchill working there. Apparently Ava Gardner freaked out on him as she demanded they opened up the back of the plane to get something from her luggage, but that was against the law. Prince Phillip used to fly to Iceland often to fish (I believe) and one day when he flew grandpa and his coworkers lined up to welcome him. He stopped to ask my grandfather about his uniform as it looked very similar to a British uniform and then continued on his way. He had to tell Churchill that he wasn’t allowed to be smoking his cigar while they were fuelling up the plane, he told my grandpa that he knew that and dropped the cigar to the ground. When it dropped to the ground his handlers started rushing to stomp out the cigar as it had fallen quite close to where they were fuelling up the plane.

After lunch we made our way to the beach for a walk and then went for coffee and cake at one of grandpa’s friends homes. Plenty of coffee, plenty of cakes. Yumm yumm. We stopped by Chris’ home for coffee/cake after dinner but we were absolutely stuffed from our afternoon visit. When we got back to the apartment I took the car out for a little drive. It was great to have a chance to drive around and check out the town behind the wheel.

We all slept in again on Friday and made our way down to the coast after lunch to go fishing. Grandpa caught himself 5 mackerel while grandma and I chatted with a young girl from Spain who was visiting with her boyfriend that she met while on exchange in Sweden. We drove into Kópavogur to Adda’s house for dinner with the plane being that we would be eat dinner then head to grandpa’s house for coffee before heading to pick up my dad from the airport. Unfortunately when we were at Adda’s I got a message from mom saying that dad had missed his connection flight and wouldn’t be coming that night. It turns out that when dad got to the gate they had already given his seats to standby people and couldn’t do anything but put him on the next flight. Luckily he had the option of taking the next flight, but unfortunately that meant a really really long day for him at the airport. After vising with Adda we made our way back to Akranes and I went to bed early to be ready to pick up dad early the next morning.

After the mix up with flights from the night before I woke up early to drive to Keflavik to pick up my old man from the airport. The drive was beautiful, almost no other cars on the road. I’ve got to say, driving 90 sure doesn’t feel like 90, it feels more like you are driving 60 when there are no other cars around. Anyways, I got to the airport and dad was just walking out, he hadn’t slept at all since the morning before so conversation on the way to Akranes was a tad delusional but it was so great to see him.

When we got back to the house it was around 8:30 so we both took a little nap before getting up to head to the farm for lunch. It was a good feeling heading back but I was a little nervous too. You never really know how your mind changes your memories and feelings towards people and places but it was a nice realization that I had nothing to be nervous about. Halldóra, Hemmi and their three kids, Helgi, Lóa, Valti and Guðmundur were all there and it was great. Lóa made a fabulous meal for all of us to enjoy family style, which is the best style – food placed on a table, grab what you want, sit where there’s space, eat, chat, enjoy. Grandpa and Guðmundur seemed to have a good time catching up and sharing stories. It seemed like everyone got along well and that it was a good visit – at least I thought it was. I wasn’t sure when it was going to happen, but I knew that grandma would make a comment about marriage that would probably be awkward and or funny and yupp, it happened and yupp it was awkward and hilarious. But if I was a betting girl I would have thought it would have been made much earlier.

It was really nice being with everyone again and I really didn’t want to have to say goodbye. Those close to me know that I don’t really ‘do’ goodbyes, I’m not a big fan and I don’t really believe in them if that makes sense but this was different. I have no doubt that I am going to be seeing everyone again but driving away I had to fight back tears. When we got back to Akranes I went for a walk by myself and allowed myself to shed a couple. A little out of sadness for leaving but more so because I’m grateful that I was able to meet this family and share this experience with them. I know I only spent 2 weeks with them but reflecting back on my time there, I learnt a lot about myself, the kind of person I want to be and the type of life I hope to lead in the future. I’m really thankful for how hospitable and welcoming they were and just how much I felt like part of the family. Its really hard to put my thoughts and feelings into words. It was magical, such a great experience and such wonderful people. Simply the best.

On Sunday when dad and I woke up we went for a walk exploring the the coast line and stopped by grandpa’s friends house to help him with his new cell phone. When we got back to the house we sat around for a bit before deciding to take a drive into the countryside. Grandpa directed me towards the area where Chris has his cottage and we drove along the fjord and stopped along the way to take in some pretty breathtaking views. Grandpa made sure we stopped at a rock that as a child he always tried to push over. Turns out it is a national protected site but grandpa decided he would try to push it over one last time, I “tried” too. Dad took a photo of me trying… I think its some pretty good acting. When went over to Chris and Alex’s home for dinner which was fantastic! Monk fish wrapped in bacon. I didn’t know that you could wrap fish in bacon but I really should have known better, it was so good!

Dad and I woke up this morning (Monday) and took a walking trip eastward bound and ended up along the coastline. We stopped at one point just to look out to the ocean and saw what we thought was a rift or rock wall in the ocean but it turned out to be whales, lots and lots of whales (maybe around 60). Sunday night we had been watching the news and saw a piece on these whales outside of Keflavik that had an ear infection of sorts which was affecting their sonar and causing them to swim into each other. Anyways we believe that these are the same whales. When we saw them there was only 1 other person further down the coastline. We watched for a bit and decided to head back to the apartment to tell the grandparents about them (and to grab my better camera). By the time we got back it seemed as though all of Akranes had found out and was there watching! Ok, not all of Akranes, but there were a lot of people there. A couple of whale watching boats came by and one of them must have left their motors on too close because the whales started to absolutely freak out. It was a rush of white water and they just seemed to panic, it seemed as though 7 or 8 of them ended up getting beached but some manged to make their way back to the pack. Eventually a couple of small boats came over to help carrel them away from the rift and back further into the ocean. Quite the scene to watch. Funny to think that I had been wanting to see whales all this time and was starting to think that I wouldn’t see any!

When we got back to the house we grabbed our stuff and made our way to Reykjavik for the afternoon. We stopped along the way at the Alafloss outlet store for me to buy wool and I thought I went a little crazy buying wool but when I got to the checkout I realized I could have spent so much more! We may have to make another stop there before I leave. We then made our way to the National Museum of Iceland, I had been there before with the Snorri program but it was fun to check it out again and hear different stories from grandpa as we made our way through. Afterwards we walked around town a little bit before heading back to Akranes. I think it was a bit of a long day for all of us, museums sure can take a lot out of you! We took another drive tonight and now we’ve just been relaxing before heading to bed.

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