The word of the day is foss

We wake without sleep, surround sound snoring  disturbed our slumber. I nudge John repeatedly throughout the night only to discover in the morning he did not participate in the melody.  I eagerly pack to leave this place certain that the next place will be better.

We begin the familiar queuing for the bathroom then pack our belongings. I remember to keep my charging cord available. We board a new bus, our bus taken in the night for another group, this one appears to be a downgrade, lacking both the latte button and the USB ports.  My charging cord is rendered useless and my phone desperately needs a charge from last nights white noise serenade. I take a deep breath determined to have a great day, then chuckle.  My goodness I’m in Iceland seeing things few people will ever see, I am with great friends and my wonderful husband.  The day seems brighter with my attitude shift.

Eric tells us the word of the day is foss and it means waterfall. We traverse the path covered just a few days before. We find a young couple with a standard car trapped in the water and sinking with each spin of the tires. We implore Eric to stop and help. He does though there is nothing he can do, help is on the way.  The car is destroyed and the couple face thousands of dollars in costs for abusing their rental car with the hubris of youth. We are thankful for our transport and wisdom of our years though recall similar instances where we had to learn the difficult way.

We arrive at a place where it seems we have left the waterfalls behind.  I’m not sure what the highlight is though we scamper off the bus to find out.  We are directed to a tiny cave.  It is small at first, though enlarges as we move through. The smell of moss permeates. The sound of water running is deafening.   It is a tricky trek, the slippery rock has us concentrating.   The first waterfall comes into view and we exclaim at the beauty.  Just beyond, another waterfall demands our attention, though this one will require work and courage.  Eric and Kommi let us know that we can return back if we do not feel up to the second waterfall.  John and I look at each other, no words are needed as we take this as a dare and move forward.  There are chains embedded into the rock to hang onto, though more haphazard than a Disney experience. I’m scared, not of hurting myself though that weighs heavily on my mind, but more worried about taking someone with me.  I hopscotch across and soon am helped up to the upper ledge where a beautiful waterfall waits.  We snap pictures, pose, take more pictures and  too soon it is time to leave.  Eric advises that the trip back is harder.  I wonder to myself why he felt a need to say that as my nerves kick to higher level.  I am too careful with my footing and fall, sliding until the sharp stone scrapes my knee, slowing me down until I stop.  I shake off the pain admit I’m fine, no wounded gazelle here and keep moving.  I have a little chat with myself reminding myself to plant my feet for the uncertainty of footfall is far more dangerous.  Like a goat I cross the remainder of the rocks to safety.

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Our next waterfall is hidden, though more accessible than the one with chains.  A few steps into a cave, we are treated to a beautiful foss cascading down from the cliffs above.  The power of the mist soaks our fancy waterproof jackets their first chance to prove their promise.   We remain dry, money well spent, though still look like Smurfs.IMG_3316.jpeg

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Our next foss is a quick walk out of the vehicle.  It is unusual and is called helper falls.  The name is perfect as it looks like one waterfall is helping the other. I think about healthcare and how we help people in our daily work.  How important to make certain that we also help ourselves, I think as I watch the larger foss with help from above.  I also notice how the smaller falls contributes and how much we learn from the patients we serve.

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Our final foss is at the site of a Viking homestead. The waterfall is not impressive when compared with the other waterfalls we saw today, though I can imagine how important it was to provide water for the family and livestock that once called this spot home.  We marvel at the workmanship and how the structure complements and blends with the earth.  I think about how far removed we are from this building sense as the majority of our homes are built for their size without a care for the land they will occupy.  We seem to care more for what is inside than what is outside.

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A rainbow rounds out the day as we travel to our lodging for the night.   I silently hope that the accommodations are at least half as wonderful as the day.

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Hurry Hurry Wait

Our group of  28 wakes early to begin our trek to hunt the Northern Lights.  There is much excitement at the Foss hotel as we view our rides with their larger than life tires.  People pass by and gawk, at our too large carbon footprint.

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I still have not wrapped my head around what is expected of us for this leg of our journey.  The vehicles have me puzzling as I had thought we were trekking from place to place. Still this country is vast with not much in between places. We have been told to pare down our gear and over half is separated and will be placed in storage.  Now  begins the all too familiar game of trying to figure out where item A is and if its in the stuff to go or the stuff that is now in a warehouse.  I sigh, perhaps it won’t be needed? Our small backpack holds the essentials for the day, I hope, and we are off. Eric expertly navigates and soon we leave the big city of Reykjavik for vastness. I look behind at where we were, knowing we will be changed when we return.

The vehicle has plugs for our phones and I dig like a dog for my charger that I sadly discover is in one of two places, the warehouse where I will see it again in a week or piled at the back of the bus inaccessible for the foreseeable future.

Eric, our driver draws our attention to an odd button and says it is for lattes, then laughs, everyone else laughs too, though I remain hopeful waiting until no one is looking and press.  Nothing happens, I look out the window, wondering when our hike will begin and hoping I am up for the challenge.

We arrive at a waterfall. I hoist my pack, secure it to my back and sigh as I disembark.   John is close behind.  We are told we will have 30 minutes here. It should be enough to climb to the top, look around and come back. We are off, though not alone as we queue to ascend. Some folks are making a day of the climb, we scamper around them, the time tick ticking. We arrive to the top and are treated to view the top of a beautiful waterfall complete with rainbow. I happily snap pics though also take in the view. We quickly descend as my eye is on the picture prize of the waterfall from below.

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We scamper down the stairs and rush over to stand in queue. I breathe in and out loudly as the long queue snaps one selfie after another, the time tock tocking until finally our moment arrives. I snap a few pictures, then we rush back to the bus on time though we cool our heels while the stragglers catch up.

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We make a plan to stay in the moment and will see what is possible as opposed to everything available. This plan we believe will have us much more relaxed with chances to see and experience the scenery in real time instead of at home when we scan through the pictures, removed from the place, at our leisure.

 

South Iceland

We wake early with a plan. Our group of eight is a well oiled machine, eating, showering and tidying in shifts. I save time by not coaxing the finicky fancy coffee maker for a beverage. It mocks me, I avoid eye contact and drink out of the community carafe and enjoy my morning skyr.

We venture to a waterfall where we have the opportunity to walk behind the falls. The ground slick with rocks and mud, every step is calculated. It’s a busy, happening place where  long lines snake the route. We stop for photos, jumping out of line then continue nose to tail through the predetermined route.

We finish then patiently wait for our friends as we sip a $10 coffee. We troll the gift store, a kings ransom for nearly nothing. Our new game is to find the most overpriced item. A hat wins, $90.00, it’s nice though not worth the amount.

After a delay our friends arrive. They have ventured to two other falls while we cooled our heels. We are annoyed and I voice our displeasure. We decide on future time limits to keep us all on track.

We set off for the ocean and black sand beach with its amazing cliffs and caves flanking the sides. We have read about sneaker waves and John and I take photos solo while the other is charged with vigilantly watching . The ocean is powerful though some people didn’t get the memo as they climb the rock structures away from land. Its always interesting how people foolishly think there is always a net for them.

We listen to the pounding of the waves, mesmerized. The timing of the waves becomes predictable as we set up our next photo learning to watch the water and soon learning to notice the build of waves before they crash on land.

I look for seaglass though am not rewarded. I suspect it’s there though closer to where the waves break.  I would need to risk life and limb for pretty garbage and decide its not worth the risk, though I spend some time wondering if its possible.

We leave after our predetermined time to our next destination where our car navigates a twisty road. It has no shoulders and barely enough room for two complete with steep drops off on either side. At times we shift forward in our seats urging our little car that it can.

The view is worth the effort as we happily snap photos before beginning the journey down

We arrive in Vik, a small quaint town surrounded by jaw dropping landscapes and spy the sea just beyond. The restaurant, Sudur Vik is predicatably expensive like all food in Iceland. We have had several days to get used to the money we will spend on this lunch.

I open the menu and as always have sticker shock. I have the money, though can’t spend $45.00 for chicken opting instead for a couple appetizers a bargain when compared. John asks if I want wine. I point to the price, he orders me a glass anyway, perhaps I need it I decide. The food is fantastic, though I suspect the high price influences our taste buds.

We leave, tour the town and find a gift store where the prices shock us anew. I buy a small book on Icelandic horses telling myself I deserve this luxury due to my frugality at lunch

We begin the journey back to Reykjavík. Gilles keeps an eye out for Icelandic ponies and I’m touched. We pass many ponies, not enough, too far away. I’m disappointed though not destroyed as I scroll through the beautiful pics I already have on my phone and leaf through my beautiful pony book.

We round a bend and a field of ponies awaits complete with a rainbow, there is something for everyone. Our small group is patient while I snap pictures, pet and shake my head in disbelief as the light intensifies, the ponies appearing golden.  I feed them grass for their efforts.

We leave a crowd behind us who have stopped to spend time with the ponies and return to Reykjavík satiated with all we have seen.