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...

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