Iceland Observations

25 Jan
January 25, 2014

Currently working on the printing of photographs from the trip to Iceland which thankfully is an indoor activity here in this freezer-like, snow covered, polar vortex city of Ottawa. Today the temperature here is minus 27C while well north of this location, near the Artic Circle, Reykjavík  is at plus 3C. Interesting that for two months now, the daily temperatures in the land of Fire & Ice remain above, way above – as in more than 20-30 degrees Celsius, what we experience here in Ottawa during winter in this land of snow & cold.

For camera gear on this trip, I used the Canon 5D Mark II with the 24-70 f2.8L and the TS-E 24 f3.5 L II Tilt-Shift lenses almost equally. Least used were the 16-35 f2.8L II and 70-300 f4-5.6 IS lenses. I filled about 80 GB on CF cards which were uploaded each night to a WD My Passport portable hard drive. The use of a tripod with spirit level on your camera and cable release is essential, especially in cold weather.Skyr

Restaurant food is expensive.  Inexpensive meals such as pizza, sandwiches, burgers, etc. are available in bakeries, at N1 and other gas stations. Of course the best food deals are at Subway where a 12-inch sub costs about $11.00 CAD.  Enjoyed eating Skyr which is similar to yogurt and delicious.

October is not a busy period as compared to the summer.  We traveled to areas which were of interest to us and not so popular with other tourists.  We found that Icelanders are friendly & helpful. When traveling the Ring Road around the country, the scenery is breathtaking, everyday.  We did not experience a single problem with my lack of Icelandic language skills, unfortunately limited to Góðan Dag, Takk Fyrir and Bless Bless. For traveling by car, the speed limits are respected by 99% of drivers (nice!). Lots of Toyota Land Cruisers (some with lots of modifications) with price tags starting around $100,000 CAD.  Gas prices in October 2013 were around $2.45/litre.Brennivin

Beer, wine and liquor are expensive and only available at my favourite Icelandic store – Vínbúðin. In some of the smaller towns and especially in the off-season, hours are limited to one hour/day i.e. 17:00 – 18:00. Viking & Gull make an excellent choice for beer.

Brennivin – not sure what you are supposed to do with this but it definitely is an acquired taste!  Brennivín, aka “Black Death”: hard Schnapps made from fermented potato pulp, best swallowed ice-cold and very fast – and try not to grimace!