Travel to Iceland, the land of my dreams
Our collaborator Laura will tell us about her journey to Iceland. A Country which she has dreamt about for many years and wanted to visit. and when finally she decided to go I think Laura can confirm it was worth waiting for, isn’t that so Laura? So let’s explore it together.
As already mentioned by Alessio I had dreamt about this journey for ages, a place where I could lose myself in it’s immense nature. In 2016 when my illness became clear and I had to go through a cycle of chemo and then the operation, I didn’t feel like doing very much with my life, But in 2018 even though I now had some physical impediments I planned two trips to Ireland and Copenhagen.
The decision was made, more or less in March 2019, to go to Iceland. By then I felt stronger to contend my disability together with my two sons, both university students and decided to go ahead with another of my dreams which I had put behind me which was that of going on a holiday with both of them. They were now grown-up and obviously very busy studying. When I booked the flight, I really didn’t have many clear ideas.So I decided to follow Facebook (very useful (AMICI DELL’ISLANDA) and to follow the steps they told one to do. I decided to hire a car to travel around the Island, stopping in a different place every night for a maximum of 8 days, and covering the period from the last few days of September and the first days of October. During that time I would do the Ring road or in other words travel all around the Island following the one and only asphalted road(at least 80%) which existed in Iceland, called the Number 1 or in fact the Ring Road. I had to think of ways of solving my problems with my disability, for example a urine bag attached to my stomach in order to urinate whenever I needed to and of course all the necessary stops it would be necessary to do for finding a toilet quickly if I needed to go and I couldn’t hold it for long. I did’t know if I would find the roads difficult for me or if I would have
the strength and energy to get through a day! I was a bit worried as I didn’t want to spoil the trip for my sons and a kind friend who came along with us
I tried to put all my fears behind me as I knew the trip would be an experience which I needed to superate and I was determined that nothing and nobody and any doubts I had or fear of what obstacles I would have to overcome would not put me off from doing this trip.
On our arrival on the Island I felt very emotional and like a child, I was eager to see and explore everything which interested me or fell in my pathway. But from our first night at Reykjavic (the capital and most populated city) I knew straightaway that I would not be disappointed. We were met by a fantastic sunset and a lively, dynamic city full of youngsters and very welcoming citizens.
Splendid was the sight of a very important Church – on our visit to Hallgrimskirkja, That evening we saw for the first time the Northern Lights, postponed only for one evening because after that that the following day, after we had passed the ‘Golden circle’ and the geological fracture where one arrives at the tettonic plate of North America and Eurasia in the geografical area of Geysir where there is the impressive waterful Gullfoss close to the warm baths in the Secret Lagoon. At last we reached our our isolated chalet at Halla and that evening we had a splendid view of the Northern lights, an imposing and inimaginable splendor. I broke down and cried and once again was emotionally touched on seeing the emerald coloured sky, where one imagined the angels were dancing and putting out their arms to capture the stars… Our first stop over in Halla and in the chalet was an example of how we would be accomodated for the rest of our holiday all the other evenings, very clean, very warm (in Iceland we were in the middle of winter during that period) with every comfort, easily to get to although very isolate.
Iceland is not highly populated , therefore our concept of a village is a lot different to theirs, very few houses, and situated a long distance from each other. During the following days we saw many very big and high waterfalls, one after another, very imponent cliffs, black sandy beaches (very famous and fantastic the one in Reynisfjara) enchanting canyons (don’t miss Fjaorargljufur) seems the dwelling place for elves and fairies!
Now I can’t take the chance of not telling you about our visit to the biggest glazier in Europe which of course made me very emotional once again. It is called the Vatnajokull, which is so big it would cover the whole of Umbria. The main road follows the outskirts and one has one of the best views in Iceland, It stretches as far as the glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon where it meets the warmest water of the Atlantic Ocean. It is possible to enter the water of the lagoon with amphibious means and to get close to the glacier passing numerous icebergs some as big as a block of houses. Some of these pieces reach the sea and get as far as the black sands, which is named Diamond Beach. We were very lucky that particular day to find the weather splendid and so able to see everything under a new light, a unique experience which was very fascinating. The fjords in the East which we explored a bit later, gave us unbelieving views and there were a lot less tourists. In fact for kilometres and kilometres we didn’t meet or pass any more cars and also we didn’t see even one house. The only thing we saw were hundreds of sheep!
The land in Iceland is covered all by moss with vivid colours, different shades of green, yellow and red, which create a chromatic combination which I’ve never seen anywhere else. The Northern part instead is volcanic and for kilometres you imagine you are traveling on the moon.
And from the moon you finally end up in Paradise! The Dettifoss waterfalls, the most powerful in Europe you find in the Northern part of Iceland. You get to them by following a track road for over 30 kilometres where there is absolutely nothing. Then suddenly you see in the distance a big opening which contains this big waterfall in all its glory. You can go as near to the border of it – and it is a great experience. The sun has also donated almost a double rainbow over it…… a fairy story! All these places you can reach on foot from parking places easily indicated, very simple but where you always find a bathroom (be careful – payment required only by a credit card)! Unfortunately the roads are not always adapted for a person in a wheelchair. The area of Lake Myvatn still in the North are more accessible, particularly Hverir, where you can see boiling hot mud pits and find volcanic walks, Lake Myvatn gave us a second chance of watching the Northern Lights. Going back towards the Southern part of the Island, we stopped by at Akurery, second biggest city in Iceland and capital of the North facing the fjords. Lovely to see were the Iceland horses, which are populated especially in this part together with hundreds of sheep as it covers a vast area of lowland.
We found it very exciting looking for the many seals which are on the peninsula of Hyammatangi. We finally spotted them after driving for about 40 km on an unasphalted road where we only passed two houses on our way there.
When we eventually got back to where we began our journey, the airport of Keflavic, we handed over our rented car and slept nearby overnight as we were leaving early the following morning. That day was the worst day we found, weather-wise, very windy and heavy rain, which blocked the afternoon planes departing or arriving. We finally found the hotel where we were staying overnight and thought that the next morning it would be impossible again to fly home if this weather continued. But this population is used to extreme weather conditions which change from one minute to the next. and the following day the weather was back to normal so everything went as planned. If one decides to visit Iceland then you know you are setting of on an adventure and you return home rewarded by your journey there and all the many things you have seen a lot different to other countries. It’s a beautiful land so full of magic that when you return you can think of all you have gained by visiting it and how happy you are that you went there. Iceland is a place to live to the full, one must touch it, taste it, and smell it. Such things as the sound of the waterfalls, the feeling one gets with the moss under your feet, seeing the double rainbows, the smell of clean air and hearing the sound of running clear water.
Iceland is a land of water and fire, where life is not easy to live, but where it is difficult to come away as one learns to fall in love with it all after a few days. I will definitely go back there again of this I am certain. There is still a lot to see and explore in that country and I already miss all the different emotions I went through and I can’t but desire to go back another time. See you soon…….Iceland.