Tag Archives: Thoughts on Travel

Travel  is like sex


At the end of the trip I reflected on travel. Travel is increasingly difficult. Particularly in airports and aircraft for large people like me. Increasingly, Flying is torture. At the beginning of these chronicles of Iceland I complained about the time wasted in the airport. I did not mean to imply that we were not having a great time. Once we arrived in Iceland we had awonderfultime. Getting therewas something else entirely. It was torture, but I still think it was “worth the trip.”

When we were leaving Iceland, A.O. again showed up to drive us to the airport. We all loved him by then. That was where the fun ended. The airport experience was a melee.

First we stood in line to get our boarding passes from a machine. This was meant to speed things up. It created turmoil as many people could not figure out how to use the machines.

Then came another long line-up for security. Always fun. Walking around in socks with belts removed leaving pantaloons precariously held up by the ether.

Next came waiting to board. We sat for about an hour by our gate and then were forced to get up and standoutside the gate. It appeared there was no reason for this. The Ticket Agent was not there. He showed up about 20 minutes late. Many of the old people in our group (OK we were all old people) found the standing intolerable. But no one could talk to the officials to let one or two sit in plain view of the staff. That was much too risky. What they feared I did not know.

The trip to Toronto was almost unbearable. No food and hardly any service for 5 and ¼ hours. Even though I had paid for extra legroom it was still very uncomfortable. I wish I could afford first class or business class. Or I wish I was not so cheap. Life is hard when you are stupid. Travel is always hard.

Travel opens the mind like fresh air can open a house. Travel allows us to learn that there is much more to life than the opinions we hear from our local pundits around our favorite watering holes in our own hometowns. Thank god for that.

Travel is like sex: the positions are untenable; the pain insufferable; the cost abominable; but the results are immeasurable.



Why Iceland?

Many people have asked us why travel to Iceland?  That is pretty darn good question. Iceland had never been on my bucket list. I never had a driving urge to go to Iceland. I came without much forethought. Chris and I had coffee one day with our Tuesday coffee friends and some of them mentioned they were going to Iceland on a trip organized by the University Women’s Club and there was still room. Why didn’t we come too? That was a pretty darn good question too.

Chris and I talked it over for a couple of minutes and decided this sounded like a fun trip with good friends. Really we went on a whim in other words and it turned out to be a great decision.         I really believe this little island deserves our attention. It is not yet swamped by tourists, though their number have increased dramatically in the last few years for some strange reason. No one really knows why.

This little island is so far from any neighbours it has managed to keep its identity. It has not yet been swamped by Euro-American culture. The people are unique. Reserved yet friendly. Shy but welcoming. Unspoiled by too much attention. No doubt that will happen soon enough. I hope not, but it seems inevitable.

It was nice to visit a country not yet crawling with tourists. In that respect it was like the Balkan countries of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Slovenia that we had visited a few years ago.  Perhaps it is not surprising that my 2 favorite trips were these two. Both decided on a near whim with very little information about the destination.   Both were outstanding places to visit.

In Iceland I loved the volcanoes, mud hot pots, and volcanic landscapes that reminded me of Yellowstone or New Zealand. Lovely to look at even though intimidating. Realizing that we were standing over huge incredibly hot chambers of lava indicated by rising steam or bubbles of mud and water from just under our feet is extremely disconcerting. But always interesting. Then to think that some of these volcanoes have affected people and places around the world, made it even more surreal. This is such a small country with so few people but it has influenced the world.

A Country almost without trees

It’s Parliament, though far from democratic, started the idea that no one king could rule a people, and that was an extremely important lesson for the world to learn. That idea changed the world entirely. At least until the arrival of Donald Trump a little more than a thousand years later.

Their sagas, so old and yet so loved by the people were the forerunners of the novel, the greatest achievement of literature. And it all started here.


Iceland was one of the first countries to embrace the role of women in politics. Perhaps that is why they have no army and see no need for one. Perhaps we could all learn from Iceland.

Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. It is right up there with Croatia (again). I loved the glaciers, icebergs, waterfalls, small churches, and amazing treeless landscapes.

Concerned football fans

Iceland punches above its weight. Perhaps only Ireland could compare in that respect and I loved Ireland too.

Why Iceland? Why not?

Sometimes travelling is a pain in the Ass

Toilets are not really one of my favorite subjects for photographs or blog posts. But this one in our hotel in Reykjavik drove me nuts.  OK it drove me even more nuts. Notice the huge “button” behind the bowl. While sitting on this reading chair or throne or whatever you want to call it, if you leaned back a tiny bit toofar you would push the button with your back and have sudden blast of cold water that shocked you awake from any slumbering. And you hoped it was not a golden shower, or worse!