Saturday, 2 July 2016

flying to Iceland

Delayed flight, long journey, meeting group who include Niah from Cuba 2012.

This blog covers a cycling holiday that I am having in Iceland with a 16 person group from Exodus. I am excepting rain, wind and mountains and nice knitwear

The flight was very delayed by a baggage handlers strike in Iceland. I sat next to a young Brit who runs a travel company taking fishermen to Iceland. They take people for 3 days fishing when they fish for 12 hours and catch up to 10 salmon. They then put them back. He said that this was the best fishing in the world with huge young salmon that swim in from Greenland. I then met a fellow consultant Jeremy George from UCLH who was on a fishing holiday and was at the luggage belt waiting for his rods to come off. He and a group of friends were fishing. He was very enthusiastic about Iceland.

The bus journey from the airport took 50 minutes and we then transferred into smaller buses to go to our hotels. I have discovered that there are 8 Yorkshire people on the trip who all come from Scarborough so I have been burnishing my Scarborough credentials, pointing out that my great grandfather was mayor in the 1920s. I am sharing a room with a farmer Joan who has a mixed farm and is part of the Yorkshire group. The hotel is in a modern part of Reykjavik with cranes on the skyline indicting ongoing building. We walked along a couple of streets to a local restaurant and I had delicious salt cod and a very expensive beer. The group are aged about forties to sixties, doing a range of professional jobs, civil engineering, health services. There is one man from Vancouver. It was a pleasure to bump in Niah from Dublin whom I met on the Cuba ride in 2012.

First impressions, the Arctic light is amazing, at 22.30 it was bright outside and we had to pull the blackout curtains to fall to sleep. The landscape looks flat around Reykjavik with snow lined mountains in the distance. I don’t feel that I have seen Reykjavik yet. It has quite a small town feel and the streets around out hotel were quiet on a Saturday evening. Felt the wind as soon as I got off the plane and I hope that I have enough warm clothes with me. I should have brought my winter shirt. Reykjavik also looks quite American with houses spaced out and adverts for burgers and KFC.

Iceland are playing in the Euros against France tonight and I am sure that we shall support them somewhere in a bar. I think I am going to enjoy the skies here, even at 22.00 last night the sun was still coming through the clouds.

I sat opposite our guide for supper. He seems interesting; he works in importing timber from Latvia and works as a guide for a few weeks a year, he looks about early 30s with an open face and brown beard.

Iceland in going through a huge tourist boom, there were 1.3 million visitors last year to an island with a population of 330 000 and it is rising fast. The fisherman said that the infrastructure could not cope with it.

I am expecting every kind of weather, wind, rain, sunshine. Tomorrow the forecast is for sun.

I am rather sorry to be away from the intense political debate post referendum. I spent a large chunk of the flight reading NS with its analysis of events.


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