Tag Archives: Winter

Iceland, Day 8 & 9

Just as a note, I didn’t end up taking very many photos these two days. I ended up just taking shots of the car I rented, the Suzuki Swift. I fell in love with this car not because of its style, sportiveness, or speed. In fact, the acceleration was awful. Mostly it was the fact that it had a USB port so that I could play music from my iPod. That and it took me all over various parts of Iceland, I pushed the car to do certain things and it delivered. It took me through all sorts of conditions and it made Iceland a blast!

 

I’m just going to put some shots of the car here and there in this post. I can see why people like taking photos of cars now. Would I get a Suzuki Swift? Yeah if I had loads of money, it’d be one of the cars I’d buy. Mostly cause I’d try and drift with it for kicks.

Day 8

It is around days eight and nine that things begin to become a bit more relaxed. The 11-6 schedule I had been following had been taking its toll. Generally I was more tired and lacked the energy to really do anything. The private hotel room, despite the extra cost, was a refreshing break from the hostel dorms I had been staying at. It occurred to me that while having a budget was good, it was also stressful. Knowing I could break the budget without any major consequences (such as not having enough in the bank) made things all the less stressful; more on the finance side of things in a future post.

Simply put, on day eight we visited Seljalandsfoss (for me a second time) and it was from there we parted ways. They drove to their next destination just before Vik and I drove back to Selfoss. The reason for the separation was mostly the weather. The wind picked up that day along the south coast and it was something like 70-80km/h winds. What I found amusing was the difference of driving style between my new friends and myself. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being safe let me just say that. I just found it amusing that I had no problem driving at the regular speed in that wind vs. their slightly slower speed. Safety first of course and I’ll admit something bad could have happened to me. Maybe I’m more of a risk taker than I previously thought?

Anyway, in Selfoss I just chill around and make some dinner. Basically pasta and some god awful frozen fruit I picked up that probably wasn’t meant to be eaten on its own. Oh and a banana. What I didn’t expect to end up doing there is practice my French with two lovely ladies from France. Backstory, they came to travel in Iceland but with no rental car. To be frank they weren’t having as great of a time as they could have had, but they weren’t having a super bad trip either. It just could have been better as Iceland is a place where a car is pretty much necessary. Back to the French practice, one of the ladies spoke English quite well whereas the other lady understood English, but never tried practicing. So as a result, fluent in English French lady often translated for her friend. It was amusing for myself and fluent in English lady for non-fluent in English lady to try and converse in English, not so much for the non-fluent friend!

Day 9

After sleeping in a drafty and dark room I set off again to somewhere. I had done some research the night prior and decided to check out Haifoss (literally high falls). It was recommended during the winter, but I thought “screw it, let’s try”. So I end up driving there and the roads end up being covered in snow, I keep plowing forward and at some point I tell myself to stop and just go back. I end up visiting Hjalparfoss, which wasn’t all that special (maybe better in the summer). But it was interesting seeing two small waterfalls almost face each other. The upside is I got to drive around in very random winter conditions. I also got to experience the car slipping and sliding around and was able to control it (surprisingly).

After all this I end up getting KFC back in Selfoss (it was ok…) and drive back to Reykjavik to stay a night at this other hostel in the city. This hostel was much bigger and I found it to be much more relaxing to sit around in the common area. Later in the night I had a great conversation with a lady from Denmark. One of the conclusions we came to was that there is a lot of pressure when it comes to traveling. Everyone back home expects you to have an amazing time and that the trip should be amazing balls. See some amazing sights and everything should work out fine and dandy. Of course, I’d like to imagine that anyone who’s traveled on numerous occasions know that this isn’t the case. At least, that’s what I got from everyone I had talked to and observed.

The parts of trips we won’t tell you (some of the time) are the awful bits. The lonely moments (if applicable), the shitty weather, the moments where things don’t work out, and the moments where we’re doing absolutely nothing at all. There are moments during the trip, at least I had them at least, where we’ll wonder “why am I even here?” Though, sometimes we might spin the situations in a funny manner. That’s when we make it back home after all. We survived. I’d have to say that the first time one travels, there is indeed that bit of pressure to have an amazing experience. Once you get past that though, you end up having a good time. Maybe this will be a few days after you get to your destination or during your second or third trip. At some point, you stop caring and just have a good time. Truth is, there isn’t really any pressure to have an amazing trip! It only seems that way when you hear all those stories about others having fantastic trips. Or maybe those photos of them in some far off place. It’s all in the mind. As long as you found the trip worthwhile, others will think so too. Hope this helps if you had or might have that initial problem.

I shall leave you with an awfully long video of just the drive around if you’re interested. Most of the snowy conditions were on day 9 and it is a bit boring, but I think I’ll be doing more timelapse in the future. With a motorcycle.

Iceland, Day 4

What happened in day four? Well, it’s been a while since I actually thought about it so here it goes. Day four was the day I went ice caving. What I didn’t mention in the previous post was the benefit of interacting around with other people who are also traveling. You can easily learn some new information. In my case, I learned that a hostel called Vagnsstaðir was actually open for business. When I looked on the website before, it was closed for the winter. This was beneficial because it meant that I didn’t have to drive back and forth between Vik and the southeastern part of Iceland (going back and forth 200kms or so). That and the option of sleeping in a car overnight…

Other than that, it was a very long drive to get to the meeting point for my ice caving tour. It was something I was looking forward to and one of the few things on this trip that wasn’t flexible. The tour started off well enough. Some of us were able to drive our cars to an area somewhat close to wear the cave was, then got into a large van for the final leg of the journey. Being that it was full of people, I found it a bit strange that no one was really talking with each other. Everyone was already with someone else, so I guess I found it strange because I’d been traveling alone for so long already and longed for some social contact. I’ll admit that. Though we were all probably thinking about the photos we’d take in the ice cave. Would I go ice caving again? Yes. With a tour group? Not so much. I would say that I’d spend the extra money to get a private guide.

Ice cave entrance

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Being inside an ice cave was both an underwhelming and overwhelming experience. I was expecting so much more and the cave still blew me away in its own special way. If you haven’t gotten it yet, an ice cave is underneath a glacier. It is what the name suggests. A cave that is formed by the surrounding ice of a glacier. Such things are only around for so long and once that part of the glacier melts away, it’s gone. The ice cave walls were a mesmerizing blue to the eyes, forming no specific shape as small grooves littered its surface. The sounds of footsteps crunching along the snow and gravel faintly echoed as they bounced along the uniquely shaped ice walls. The small stream trickled along, following the path of the ice cave to its mouth. It was calming.

DCIM101GOPROA lower angle of some ice

DCIM101GOPROPicturesque looking I’d say

It was a place I wanted to explore more of and stay longer in. Had I fully waterproof boots, I probably would have tried to walk further in along the stream; at the utmost annoyance to my guide because safety for him comes first.

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

Oh, and I got to see some glaciers too.

Glaciers

Preparations for Icel…no not really.

I lied, this won’t be a post about my preparations for Iceland. It’s still too early for that. I low-sided (crashed) my motorbike. More than a month ago. I wish I had a video for that, but the camera cut out ten seconds before the moment mentioned. Just my luck. Long story short, I hit a patch of ice and the rear tire slid out from under me. It all happened quite quickly and I still cannot recall events very well. It wasn’t too bad though, I got up and rode the bike off to breakfast with some friends. Mostly cosmetic damage and pride. I have most of it fixed up now. Right after that, I gave back the plate. No point spending money on something I won’t be using for the next 3 months (yes it was insured until February). Here’s most of the damage I found out later that the signal light also broke off):

IMG_3019 copy

Yesterday was the first time I went riding since that day. No, my bike isn’t fixed and back on the road just yet. Out of the garage came my brother’s Honda CBR125. A far cry from the Monster 696 I’d been riding the past year. We kept the insurance on the Honda because here in Vancouver, under 401cc bikes are pretty cheap in terms of insurance. Both excited and concerned, I bulked up on the layers and gear. Full gear. Boots, pants, jacket, gloves, helmet. Won’t be wearing jeans while riding for a while (not just cause it’s cold, the possibility of road rash is still very real to me).  The Honda CBR125 is a fun little bike, underpowered compared to the 696. Yet, still fun to ride. I didn’t find it very hard to re-adjust to it. It does feel a little narrow though. 

I took the Honda to work since it’s cheaper than taking the the Canada Line (public transit). Getting there wasn’t all that bad, felt a little bit rusty. Made it to work and felt pretty good. Going back home on the other hand…that was a different story. I get off work after it gets dark and the first thing I notice when I get to the bike is frost. Frost. That means things are cold enough for water to freeze. I was worried. I’d hate to crash again. Long story short, I made it home. Can’t say I was in a very happy frame of mind most of the way though. Yes, I was happy being on a bike. There’s just something special about having a whole lane to play with (also changing lanes is so much easier). However, most of my mind was focused on scanning any possible threats in front. Any patches of ice? I’m terrified of those now. Hard leans? Terrifying. I’ll have to see how I feel when the weather is warmer and I get more grip on the roads. For now though, the crash seems to have shaken my confidence in making turns. That or it’s the fear of ice.

Yet another post about back to school

It doesn’t feel much like back to school. Then again, the first week is usually exciting. New students are immersed in a new environment and returning students bumping into friends they haven’t seen in months. Most people are chatting and often imagining/scheming about grand plans for the year. I’d say about 50% of those end up becoming a reality? But that’s just a guess. For most people, I figure habits will start breaking in about late September. By then the atmosphere on campus will probably be more sober and “flat”. That’s my prediction (though depending on the person you are and the experiences you have this may differ).

Literally, my summer was 4 months long. Mentally, my summer existed during the previous 2 weeks of time before today. It’s very strange to consider 2 weeks of your 4 month summer to be real “summer”. Is it a 3rd year thing to not really be prepared as much? I’m pretty used to knowing where all my classes are beforehand since usually my classes were all over the place. This time, I’ve noticed that all my classes are in one area. Buchanan block. I’m either gonna be chilling a lot in Buchanan, or trying to find ways to get out of there. I like being outdoors when it’s chilly, so I may be trying to book it out of there as the weather gets colder and colder. This is going to be interesting as this year is going to be a pretty big opposite of my past two years.

I look forward more so to the winter. That is all.

Snow, I’ve missed you so

Certain days just feel like they work. When those days occur, life is just grand. Those days kinda look like this:

Alba please don’t kill me for using this picture =P

I quite enjoy days like this just because it feels good. There really is no other way I can think of describing it. One lacks a care in the world and then one just realizes, it’s great to have friends like these. Random snowball fights, random moments involving a snow-woman, and rather random moments in general.

You know those pigeons that are in the SUB? Finally got a pic of one. ‘Bout time.

Shoot for the moon as they say

So that’s about it for this post. I’m trying to keep things short and simple these days. I got one thought in my head at the moment, but I’m not sure how to phrase all of it properly so perhaps that is for another post.