31 August 2011


I'm ready, are YOU ready?!?

This lava caving tour starts about one hour drive from Reykjavik. Its name is Buri, and it lays in Leita hraun on the Reykjanes peninsula. With a little hike over the lava field to where the hidden cave entrance lies....

Below, a group member looking at the tiny little hole we have to squeeze our bodies through.....claustrophobic? Don't worry, I'm not!!!!

The cave goes more than 1 kilometer in, and has great diversity in the height and width. The crude path ends abruptly in a large gaping hole that our guide says can be rappelled down about 60 feet to the uneven bottom. It is VERY uneven and NOT for beginning spelunkers! Though the pamphlet states: fit for everyone with good health. Oh and good hiking shoes are essential! The company needs to reiterate this, as a lot of us(including myself) just had tennis shoes.

Time for a head count, did we all make it out alive? We all came out with a few bumps and uffdas! I fell once, but others fell more. But despite the scrapes and bruises, nothing beats the raw realness of caving in a country at a particular cave that not many have been before(the cave was opened only 2 years ago)

That was so fun I want to go again!!!!!

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29 August 2011


The Icelanic horse is special for many reasons, one being that for over a thousand years they have not changed their genetic line. In their native country they have few diseases; Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported and exported animals are not allowed back into the country.

Icelandic horses are smaller than other breeds of horses, although usually larger than ponies. The Icelandic displays two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. Yes, they have 5 different gaits!!!!

Some horses are also raised here for slaughter.....with most of the meat being sent off to Japan, but surprisingly widely consumed here as well.

After my ride I don't think I can try this local specialty today.......My Icelandic horses name is Madonna. Though I haven't had a ton of experience on horses, Madonna was VERY responsive and I had a fantastic time, I even chose to ride back to the farm with the fast group where we got to try the special "tölt" gait(a few people decided to walk back)

My cold is doing better and only a couple of days until I head to Seattle. I hope my brain is ready for meter school.....oops I think it just went galloping off with that Icelandic horse!!!!

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28 August 2011

The golden circle

I have caught a touch of a Norwegian cold so I'm taking it easy today and doing a popular tour of 3 must sees while in Iceland. Rest and water should make things better :)

First stop: Pingvellir national park. This is the volcano and fissure laden junction where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowly drifting apart, about 3 mm each year(about as fast as your finger nails grow every year) Which means that in about 10,000 years, there will be a gap of about 70 meters. Another grand canyon in the making!!

Next stop: Gullfoss waterfall. In Icelandic this name means the golden waterfall. By far the most popular waterfall in Iceland, thousands of people trek to see it annually. Do you see how little the people are standing on the rock to the left? I'm going down there!!

Lots of spray this close!!

Last stop on this tour: Geysir. The one and only Geysir where all others hereafter get their common name from! I did not know that this was an Icelandic word!!

The water is about 200 degrees farenheit, a little below boiling but still HOT! This run off is a tad cooler to the touch....

But still you do not want to be standing directly underneath when it blows!!!!! I have some videos that are sideways that once i figure out how to rotate them, will try to post!

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26 August 2011

Day 27 at the Blue lagoon

Hello Iceland!!

Apparently you cannot go to Iceland and not stop for a visit to the blue lagoon! Luckily I went early in the morning before all the crowds.....

The water’s milky temperature is 37-39°C / 98-102°F. Also they do not add chemicals to "treat" this lagoon, as the water recirculates itself every 40 hours or so. And regular testing shows that common bacteria has a difficult time sticking around.

The geothermal hot seawater springs draw thousands of people annually. The blue-white salty water is a combination of minerals and has a high level of silica. And naturally has pumice on the bottom to smooth out those travel worn feet! Also scattered around the edges of the pool are wooden boxes supplying a mud mask(supposedly to take the stress and wrinkles away)

I could only stay in for about 40 minutes before I hauled myself out so I could "unprune" myself after utilizing their state of the art shower facilities, where they supply the blue lagoon shampoo and conditioner for guests(which they also highly encourage you to purchase)

The local water has a lot of sulphur in it (and drys the hair out quite a lot) Iceland is one of few countries that because of it's geothermal power, electricity and hot water is cheap and almost unlimited. Those that live in Iceland have the luxury of taking hour long hot showers every day(and it sounds like they do too)

But this also means that they always must be ready for the next earthquake or eruption that mother nature may have up her sleeve.

Ah so relaxing, so now I think now I need a fruit smoothie, yummy! And then a nap....


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25 August 2011

It's a coffee day, day 26

Do I look tired?

Today I had lots of free coffee! The first was this morning when I went out looking for a narvesen(local mini market) which are on every corner unless you are specifically looking for one, then they do not seem to be anywhere!

I must have looked a bit exasperated because a woman walks up to me and asks: Ønsker du gratis kaffe? (or something along these lines)

I ask her: du snakker engelsk? Do you speak English? I AM getting better at pronouncing my Norwegian ;) she replies: do you want some coffee for free? Of course I DO!!! Takk!!!!!!! (thanks) then she gives me another card for another free coffee......except I am heading to the airport(after my coffee) so I had better find someone to give this free coffee to!

Then once at the airport I have some time, so I get some coffee, and it just some happens that we started a punch card that every 5 coffees that you buy, you get the 6th one free! And I was on my free one(which was why I was looking for a narvesen prior)

It's a coffee day.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Saying goodbye to Oslo on the Aker Brygge at the eternal peace flame.
Heading to Reykjavik next. The land of fire and ice!

Stay tuned.

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23 August 2011


Today on the couchsurfing website there is a local party/meet up. The directions were to meet at 16:00 in Viggeland park (yay i get to go to Viggeland again!!!!!!!)at the "ugly" statue. Um.....what is classified as the ugly statue?! And do you know just how many statues there are in that particular park?!?!?!? And I personally think they are all extremely beautiful.... But maybe because our only statue in my home town is a seagull poo and algae covered gold miner in front of the old folks home(okay I really like our dear one and only statue, I cant lie)

I really really cant get enough of this park!!!!!

And after spending a good deal of time wearing out the battery on my camera.....by the time I actually located the right piece of art(I had to call on another local cser to give me better directions) I didnt even actually get a picture of this so called "ugly" statue! (it was just a local being sarcastic) it was a perfectly normal artistic sculpture!

And so I found myself at an impromptu BBQ/beer drinking/music crashing/party! Really, there were all sorts of fellow csers there and once again this website is amazing at bringing people together! Insta-friends(just add beer)!!!

After taking pictures and lounging in the gorgeous sunshine and telling travel stories we jumped on a trolley and headed to a place were there was music with the intentions of sneaking in for free....turns out it WAS for free, as part of the Oslo jazz festival, that just happens to be going on right NOW!!

A very full day, I think I will sleep in tomorrow, I am on vacation after all ;)

Sorry I STILL can't get my picasa uploader to put any pics up on the Internet, I'll keep taking em though, so keep checking that picasa link ;)

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Location:Oslo, Norway

22 August 2011

Day 22 the national gallery

Today we went to the national gallery, and boy was there a lot of art there!!! Claude Monet, Christian Krohg, Pablo Picaso, Johan Christian Dahl. It was mind blowing, or maybe it was just the fact that they don't have any fresh air in there so the air circulation does not hurt the ancient paintings.

At one point I thought I was going to pass out if I didn't get any fresh air!

And they don't allow you to bring bags/backpacks in(really has anyone tried fitting a painting into their pack in the past?) I forgot my camera in my bag that I had just put into a locker, which once you pay the 10 kroner fee I thought would only open once...... And I didn't want to pay 10 kroner just to get the Darn thing. So sadly, no pictures from my camera today. And it turns out, I got my 10 kroner back after all.......sigh. At least aunt Kat got some photos today.

Even if I had the camera, the only piece that I wanted my picture taken in front of was The Scream, by Edvard Munch. I have been practicing my "scream" face for weeks! Turns out, that is the only room you are NOT allowed to take pics in...... Don't worry this was taken in the souvenirs shop haha! Hmm....photoshop when I get home....

Raining hard here in Oslo today, so off to do some last minute souvenir shopping and dashing through the big juicy raindrops!!

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Location:Oslo, Norway

21 August 2011

Picture upload error

sorry folks I can't seem to upload any pictures at the moment, but I'll get em up as soon as I'm able!!!

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Trollstigen! Day 21

The mountain Trollveggen is the tallest, vertical rock face in Europe! At it's highest point it reaches 5950 feet from the valley floor to the tip top. 3300 of those feet are vertical, making it a stellar spot if you are an avid rock climber!

Don't worry, im just up here hiking around a bit ;)

This SO makes up for yesterday being a bust on the bus! I wandered around up here for 3 hours. Then, it began raining while I waited for the bus, but not to worry, the bus driver gave me a free ride fare back down!!!

Can I go again!!?!!

Don't forget to check out the picasa link(upper right hand corner) for the rest of the pictures! Enjoy, (I sure did!!!)

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Location:Andalsnes, Norway

20 August 2011

Day 20 the Atlantic road

Today we set off to see the Atlantic road.

The Atlanternshaven highway is only 8.3 kilometers long(5.2 miles) there are 8 bridges that span it between small towns and skerries and local fisherman fish directly from the road in some places. We were about 43 miles from it so I knew today would be a lot of bus riding.....however, with where we needed to end up for the night (Andalsnes) we just did not figure "how much" back to back bus riding this day was going to be.

The weather is drizzly, so that's okay about being stuck on a bus......but after 8 hours and many stops along the way that we couldnt get off at, both aunt Kat and I were getting a bit restless, a bit frustrated and really grumpy!!!!

For how long it took to get to where the road started....we were sadly not so excited to see it once we were there....sigh....and do you know how tough it is to take pictures on a moving, rain battered window of a bus? (The top image is not one that we took)

Today was mostly a flop. Dont get me wrong, it was beautiful and a highly visited destination here in Norway, but I would recommend(even though it is extremely expensive) to rent a car if you ever come here and want to see it for yourself. That's what I would do if I could do it over.

Onward to the next adventure!

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Location:On a bus :(

19 August 2011

Fretex, day 17-19

We spent a lot of time in the Norwegian version of the salvation army today, and we found some thrifty deals!!!

Then we needed a walk so we decided to go for a hike! Only somehow we started walking "around" the mountain a few kilometers and saw a sign for a viewpoint, so up we went.

Apparently we walked around to the back side of the mountain and went up an alternate way and found a really cool lookout and compass thing on top of a miniature stone castle. It was a beautiful day but the forecast is definitely calling for rain....should we pack around our coats just in case?!

After we are done exploring this little find (oh and there's wild raspberries up here as well!) we decide to go find the real lookout, where the tourists go.... But for some reason we could not locate it?! Hmm okay well we will do that hike tomorrow. We start hiking down, only we pop out somewhere south of town!

The next day we find the viewpoint, 419 steps up to the top! Phew, really getting our hiking in these last couple of days, jeg elsker!

Then the next day it actually rained enough to make us bring/wear our raincoats (then we proceeded to hang dry on any available surface our damp clothing and items, hooks were pretty scarce as we are in a 12 bed womens dorm and they are doing the same as we are...) I had time to catch up on the last few blogs tho! (but this one is a few days late as we have been traveling/minimal Internet)

Time is going by fast!

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Location:Alesund, Norway