Monday, September 22, 2014

Iceland: Part 4


So now where were we...? Oooo.... Okay, right after Skeftafell we chose to spend a night in Hofn since the next destination was still hours away from us. Surprisingly, the room that we booked in Hofn was actually a small cabin with two cozy bunk beds, a kitchen, equipped with a heater and an ensuite bathroom and toilet for a price of €70 per night so it cost us around RM 70. The reception counter was inside a restaurant and I remember the waiters and waitresses were very friendly and cheerful and each of them greeted us with a broad grin.

The next morning we head to The Golden Circle route and started with Gullfoss. The scenery on the way there was utterly stunning. Similar to our journey in the southeast,  the landscape keeps on changing over this side of the country too. The difference is just that there are more greenery, and we crossed some gorge and at times the land become so barren with only black rocks and sand surrounding us.

When we reached the parking lot, it was full with tourist buses but still the area is huge enough that it didn't look crowded at all. It was so windy and we fought our way towards the lookout for a better view of the mighty waterfall. The force is so incredible that you can feel water spray from all directions. Gullfoss is the largest waterfall that I've ever seen so far.

In the past, it was once threatened when some party wanted to turn it into a power plant to generate hydro electrical power. But then it was saved by a woman who had fought against it. So thanks to this woman that we are still able to witness this nature wonder to this day :)

I still remember the very friendly boy who worked at the cashier that afternoon at the gift shop. He must be around 14 or 15 and worked there for the summer. He thought I was chinese because the shop was actually crammed with tourists from China at that time and they didn't speak a word of English. So when it was my turn to pay and he heard me speak English he said,

"Phew! Finally a Chinese who speaks English.."
"But I'm not a Chinese... I'm a Malaysian..."
And we had a short conversation at the counter. He said he never met a Malaysian before and have mistaken me for a Chinese..

After Gullfoss, we drove towards Geysir to see the famous geysers. Unfortunately, the great Geysir has been inactive and have not sprayed water for quite some time.. So we waited for Strokkur to be in action. The area was actually chained to a few metres from the spring to ensure that visitors are at safe distance when the water shoot into the air because the temperature could be markedly high.

Strokkur from the parking lot when we arrive

Geyser is considered a rare phenomenon and can only be found in certain areas with volcanic activity. The spring actually extend to a few hundred or thousand metres below the ground where the water become in contact with hot rocks. And when the highly pressurized water reaches the boiling point, it causes the geyser effect and the water and steam shoots into the air

What I called 'Short Swell'

According to the signage there, Strokkur is supposed to produce a spray every 8-10 minutes but sometimes the eruption could be small and unsatisfactory hahaha when we arrived at the parking lot, Strokkur was producing a very high spray but we were too far to record it. And 10 minutes after that Strokkur only produce a short swell and and didn't produce a spray (^^") So I continue to hold my camera faithfully so that I could capture the best of this rare phenomenon. And when the water start to swell and rise I heard whispers saying "Cmon... Cmon.." and when the water spouts upward, everybody cheered and that includes us! \(^^)/ like some football team just scored a winning gooooaaaalll!!!!! We waited some more until Strokkur produce two more sprays before leaving to Thingvellir.

We were in a hurry because we need to return the rental car by 5 pm and we are still far from Reykjavik. If I ever have the chance to go to Iceland again, I most likely go to Thingvellir first because it is such a beautiful place and we only spend so little time there. It is another place in Iceland with a magical vibe where the surrounding look so.. hurm.. nothing on earth... I was driving so I didn't took pictures of the surrounding.. But really it was so different..

We stopped to walk on the trail up to one of the waterfall. The path was built in between huge boulders so I felt as if I was walking in some enchanted kingdom belonging to the.. hurm trolls perhaps hahaha

Anyway, we didn't spend much time at all.. Macam touch and go.. And to think of it, I really really going to go there first if I ever go to Iceland again. Actually, that evening, we ran out of gas and was slightly bewildered when the GPS showed that the next gas station was quite far from the park. We rolled down the windows and drove slowly towards the gas station.. Syukor lah cukop minyak itu \\(",)

We returned the car that evening and walked to a seafood restaurant whose owner is married to a Philipino. We enjoyed our time at the restaurant because the owner is so bubbly and he even explained to us how to eat each of the dishes on the buffet; like in which sauce to dip them in etc.

We spent the rest of the evening walking around Reykjavik before leaving the next morning.

Our visit to Iceland is so memorable because there are just too many things that we saw there and have not yet seen in any other places that we went to. We learned a lot about geology for sure hahaha

So for the coming post, I might just combine Netherlands and Brussels in one post because it was really a short visit..

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Iceland: Part 3


To be honest it is really hard to precisely recollect everything that occured during our trip which is now dated more than a year ago.... But I will try my best to write everything during my break from travelling... Pastilah annual leave aku suda habis kan..

Anyway this time I'll try to finish about Iceland... So on our first day we stopped at Jokulsarlon. We didn't do much since the cruise have ended for the day and decided to come again in the morning. We met a father and son of Indian descendent who flew all the way from America just to see the icebergs. That evening we drove further east to the only youth hostel in that area.

In this leg of our journey, there was only one gas station where you can refill your tank so make sure to check that the tank has enough fuel until the next stop. We stopped to have fish and chips at the gas station restaurant and was surprised by the fact that the guy at the counter knew some Malay words. He later told us he's been to Malaysia and traveled for a couple of months there in 2011 and still remember a few words.

As for the youth hostel, it was very basic however with excellent internet connection! The kitchen was neat and clean and the room was spacious enough that we had a comfortable space for prayer.

The funny thing was we had to share bathroom with the other guests and unfortunately one of us witnessed a sore sight of an unclothed old man. And we talked about it during dinner while this particular man was sitting next to me! And my friend was like,

"Gg, tadi mase aku kuar dari bilik mandi... Pakcik sebelah ko ni lap badan kat luar... tak pakai baju..."

He has no idea that we were talking about him heeeeee

So we head off to Jokulsarlon first thing in the morning to catch the earliest cruise. There were already a lot of tourists there so we queued for the ticket. There are two types of tours; one uses a smaller boat which will enable you to get closer to the icebergs and it will even take you to the glacier from where the icebergs originate. We opted the amphibian boat which on first glance reminds me of Sponge Bob's boat car. It was quite packed per tour but for the amount we paid (which was much cheaper than the small boat price), I actually enjoyed the tour very much and the tour guide did an excellent job in explaining to us about the geological process involved; from the formation of the glacier to the formation of the lagoon and facts about the icebergs itself.

The magical thing about Jokuksarlon is how the luminous blue, white and black of the whole landscape blend in perfect symphony. It took my breath away and by far one of the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life. I learnt that the blue icebergs are the older ones.  They underwent years  and years (perhaps hundreds??) of compression process that when the sun rays hit, it reflects the blue colour. The white icebergs are the younger ones and of course the guide also mentioned about how the bottom of the iceberg is actually significantly massive than what we saw afloat.

The guide also explained that at times the icebergs do flip over. But I don't remember how to tell which iceberg have just flipped over although I'm pretty sure he did point that out during the tour... (^^")

After Jokulsarlon we drove to Skaftafell National Park.. Unfortunately, the weather gotten worse and it start to drizzle. We forced ourselves to walk in the gnawing frigid air just to get a closer look at the glacier. Actually there are many walking trails in this national park; some lead to famous waterfalls and caves and you can actually hire a guide to take you for a walk on the glacier. But due to the weather and our very limited time, we took the short walk which I think is still interesting.

Along the path, there are sign boards that explain about the history and geological processes that occurred in a particular vicinity.
I remember one sign board saying that we were standing on a spot where the glacier used to extend 40 years ago. The glacier had somehow shrunk due to global warming. And at one point, there were so many rocks with cracks on them

I later learn that the cracks are actually caused by water moisture that are trapped within the fine pores of these rocks. The water alternately froze and thawed and during this continuous cycle, the expansion of frozen water caused the rock to crack.. Okay that's how I understand it.. I don't know how to correctly describe it though..

And then we went over to see the pool and walked on the charcoal colour volcanic sand and stones to see the glacier. It was my first time ever to see a glacier before my eyes so I was completely blown away. We didn't get to see any glacier in France nor Swiss so I was quite excited. Even from afar, the vibrant blue colour of the glacier was vivid to the naked eyes and we could also see streaks of black soot in contrast which are the result from volcanic eruption debris...

Okay... Wow! That's a lot of geological thingy, isn't it?

This is what travelling is to me.. Travelling, in my definion, is not just walking nonchalantly in a foreign land.. Not just having another background in a selfie.. Not just another fridge magnet on the fridge door..

It's about connecting ourselves with the unfamiliar; meeting new people, witnessing other cultures and seeking knowledge of the formations and phenomenon that are unprecedented in my own land..

It's a humbling experience, you know... Because every time I buckle up my seat belt on an airplane bound to the place I call home, I would inhale deeply and tilt my head back and start thinking how I'm just an insignificant speck in this world and how vast the knowledge of the Almighty...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Apa itu Gokyo Ri?


Gokyo ri itu adalah peak yang baru jak aku complete!!!!

Well, I'm currently in Lukla, Nepal. A small town and the main access to the Everest region. We're gonna spend a night here before our flight back to Kathmandu tomorrow morning...

This is my ultimate hike ever.. 11 days altogether and yes I haven't had a proper shower since we depart from Kathmandu.

Hutang kesah travel semakin menggunung..
Apa2 pon ini gambar2 aku masa summit Gokyo Ri

5360m yaw!

I'll be on a looooooong travel hiatus....
Am gonna stay put like a good girl do...
So hopefully I could slowly write on everything...
Like everything from last year heeee...

Ok mau caj tab..
Ntah berapa rupee la ini...