In Akureyri once more

I completely forgot to write on my blog the last weeks, but nothing special happened really..

Well.. my one-year long project in Sólheimar came to an end 2 weeks ago, so that means I am almost going back to Belgium.
It was a really nice time, I enjoyed living in Sólheimar for one year, and I made a lot of friends, but I am also looking forward to going back home and seeing my friends and family again.

But first I had to go to Akureyri one last time to spend some time on the farm :) I am here for one week now, milking cows again and enjoying it very much :)
I will stay here untill the end of februari, since my flight back to Belgium is on the 28th of februari. And after that, I don’t know how long it will take me to come back to Iceland.
Maybe one year, maybe five years… I am not thinking about it yet, I am more focussing on finding a decent job and making a live in the next years :)

So this will probably be one of my last posts on this blog.. I guess I will write at least one more post when I go home, and after that.. I will see what the future brings me.. :)

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A New year again

I am sorry that once again I took so long to write a new blog post :) But I found some time now!

So, first of all;

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Time goes so fast, doesn’t it?

My best wishes to all of you, I hope you all celebrated it and had fun and made lots of New Year’s resolutions (that you won’t fulfill anyway, as usual) :).

I myself celebrated the New Year in Reykjavik, and I have never seen so much fireworks in one night! In Belgium we just have the city’s fireworks for like 10 minutes at 12 o’ clock. But here in Iceland, in stead of having one organised firework show, everyone just fires whatever they want. And I mean EVERYONE!! we were watching them at Hallgrimskirkja, which is a bit on a hill and gives you a nice view of part of the city, and it looked like all houses had fireworks over them. And lots of people just brough full boxes with them to the church to fire there (which I think is maybe a tiny bit dangerous, I don’t like people firing stuff 3 meters from where I’m standing). I couldn’t take nice pictures, but just imagine a city with a blanket of fireworks over it. And not just for 10 minutes… It started at 11 o’clock and kept going at full force untill 1am. then it slowed down a bit but still there were fireworks the whole night… It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen…

Before New Years there was of course Christmas. We celebrated it in Sólheimar with some nice gifts and traditional diner etc… It was nice and cosy but I missed the good food from home… Still, we had something like 3 or 4 christmas dinners so I can’t complain! We were also supposed to eat the smelly fish on the 23th of december, but apparently it was so smelly that they didn’t want to make in Solheimar’s kitchen, so we didn’t try it after all. No regrets there. It was my birthday so I was glad I could just stay at home and eat nice stuff instead!

We had almost 2 weeks off (from the 23th till the 1st of januari) and I’m thinking now what I did in those 2 weeks… Not much really, and nothing special :) But it was nice to have holidays nevertheless! I did start knitting again last weekend! I needed a break after knitting my last sweater and hats and stuff like that. But when I was in Reykjavik for New Years I visited the Handknitting Association and suddenly I got an epiphany about my next sweater :) In my mind I could see this lovely brown warm cardigan… So now I’m trying to make that :) We’ll see how it goes, I expect to finish it in 2 weeks or so cause it’s with really thick wool (meaning, it knits really fast! yay).

And last, I should also mention that my stay in Iceland is slowly coming to an end… I will stay in Sólheimar for 3 more weeks, and then I’ll go to Akureyri again for one month to visit my favorite Icelandic farm one more time :) But I will fly back home the last day of february. I only have two months left in this amazing country. I am a bit sad about it, because I know I will miss the peace and quiet, and the amazing sunsets every day. However, I start to miss Belgium and I’m ready for something new, even if it’s just going home and start looking for a job :) I’m ready for that now.

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2nd Intern trip

Every once in a while we have what’s called an ‘intern trip’, Which is basically for interns, but since we are only EVS-volunteers now it’s more of an EVS-trip :)
Usually it’s just the Golden Circle tour, but I tried to convince them to change it, because we have so many opportunities to do the Golden circle anyway, and I already did it with the last intern trip. It’s really close to Sólheimar and I’ve been to Geysir probably 6 or 7 times by now.. And it does get a bit boring after a while.

So this time (last Wednesday actually), instead of doing the Golden Circle, we went to a geothermal power plant, ice-cream factory and milk factory. I managed to convince them by saying milk and ice-cream is really a big part of Icelandic culture, so we should be educated on it :p

First we went to the Hellisheiðarvirkjun power plant near Hveragerdi, which produces 50% of the hot water of Reykjavik and electricity for some aluminium melters, and it is probably the biggest geothermal power plant in Iceland. It was really interesting, they show some educational movies and there’s also an exhibition on geothermal energy, and you can see the turbines etc. And visiting a geothermal power plant has been on my bucket list for a long time! (yes, I indeed managed to subject all the volunteers in Sólheimar to this visit just so that I could cross it from my bucket list :) )
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So after that we went to Kjöríss, the biggest ice-cream factory in Iceland (it’s also in Hveragerdi). We couldn’t see the production line because of hygiene regulation, but we did get a coffee break with all you can eat ice-cream :) Fresh from production – it was SOOO good!!!! And then we also got a schnapps, although I don’t really see the connection with ice-cream there :)

So much Icecream...

So much Icecream…

In the end went to the MS factory in Selfoss. MS is by far the biggest milk/cheese/yoghurt/skyr/butter producer in Iceland, and their factory in Iceland is BIG. they took us trough the whole production and packaging line, and since I for some reason really like packaging machines it was a lot of fun  :) They don’t make cheese in Selfoss, but I think we saw about every other product they make… I still didn’t find out how exactly they make skyr though… :( I’ll have to secretly infiltrate in the company for that. I also couldn’t take any pictures of the production line. Another reason to infiltrate…

Anyway, it was a super interesting day! And in the evening we also had our Sólheimar christmas dinner (yes, strange to do it on the 4th of december, isn’t it?). It was in Geysir, and they managed to give us the biggest meat buffet I have ever seen in my life. I think there were like 20 different meat preparations… omnomnom. That’s when I started to regret eating all that ice-cream at lunch… :)

Categories: Bucket list, food, Sólheimar | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

A short recap of what happened lately

I haven’t had much time for blogging the last weeks because I was so busy with travelling, working, knitting and all that. But I’ll try to make up for it by telling about everything that happened lately :) Let’s see…

1. I went hiking! I havent been hiking a lot this summer because of the incredibly bad weather, but in october we had a couple of nice weeks (read: blue skies but really cold). So I finally had a chance to hike Ingólfsfjall, which is a mountain near Selfoss. It was on my to-do list since I arrived, because you can see the mountain from Sólheimar. So now I think I hiked all mountains you can see from here! Trust me, the mountain is higher than it looks on te picture :) But it was still an easy hike and we had a nice view over Selfoss.

Ingólfsfjall as seen from Hestfjall (another mountain nearby)

Ingólfsfjall as seen from Hestfjall (another mountain nearby)

2. Halloween. I don’t usually celebrate it (it’s not that popular in Europe) but we had an American student group here and they organised a Halloween party. It was mainly us foreigners and the disabled people but it was fun, and  some of the costumes were really good! I went as a mummy, but looked more like someone who walked out of the hospital.

3. I went to the Iceland Airwaves festival (again). Like last year, I didn’t buy a ticket because there are lots of free shows during the day. And I only went for one afternoon because I didn’t want to take days off for it, and I already saw some of the same bands last year. But it was still nice because we met practically all other EVS volunteers in Reykjavik. And we went to Valdimar, which is seriously one of the most talented musicians in Iceland.

Valdimar

Valdimar

4. I went to Akureyri!!! It was time again for a visit to my favorite town in Iceland. I was there last in September, but still it felt like a long time :) I went for one week to help a bit at the farm and enjoyed it a LOT! Marianna, who I was working with last year, was there as well for a visit so it was like we had never left the farm. And the dog had super cute puppies! And we also went for a visit to myvatn and dettifoss, which is incredibly beautiful in winter with all the ice! I’m sure I will go to Akureyri again before I leave Iceland..

puppies!!

puppies!!

The path next to dettifoss...

The path next to dettifoss…

Godafoss in winter

Godafoss in winter

5. There was some kind of convention about Europe last friday, where all European organisations and projects came together to celebrate the end of a 20year long program. And we went there as well to tell people about European Voluntary Service and Sólheimar. We had made this really nice stand with a lot of cakes from our bakery and stuff from the art workshops and plants and fresh made tea and a movie and all that. It took us some time to organise it but I think it was a success :)

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6. After the convention we stayed in Reykjavik for the night and rented a car on saturday to go all the way to Jökulsárlón (which is an almost 400km drive). And of course we had to stop at Seljalandfoss, Skógafoss and Vík on the way, so it was already getting dark by the time we go to the lake (sunset is around 4pm now). But the weather was beautiful and we saw an amazing sunrise and sunset and had fun. We drove back to Vík afterwards and on sunday we went to a cave near Hveragerdi.

Sunrise at 10am

Sunrise at 10am

Skogafoss

Skogafoss

Vík

Vík

Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

The cave near Hveragerdi

The cave near Hveragerdi

The cave near Hveragerdi

Those are the most important things I did last months (or at least the things I remember and have pictures of…). These days I’m spending my evenings knitting and talking. It’s getting really dark now and I don’t really feel like going out at all, so we just all stay inside. We are preparing Sólheimar for Christmass already. All the houses have lights, we have some christmas trees in the village and we even have one in our house, and all those little lights really help to survive winter :) I’m looking forward to christmas because it will be a really nice atmosphere in our house.

However, christmass also means I will be leaving soon and that’s something I don’t want to think about yet!

Categories: Hiking & Other adventures, Other things, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Autumn & northern lights

After a busy summer full of travels, I am now getting used again to the silent and slow life in Sólheimar. Nothing really happened since I came back from Belgium… But we did have really nice weather the last week (weeks?). It’s quite cold and we had some snow already, but we often have blue skies and almost no wind! I really like this weather, cause you can almost taste the fresh air, and the sun makes everything so beautiful. Autumn has arrived (and is almost finished I guess) and the colors are amazing! We have a lot of trees and bushes in and around Sólheimar (this is quite rare in Iceland :p) so it’s the perfect place to enjoy autumn :)

I can feel winter is coming though, since it’s getting dark sooner every evening. Sunset is around 6.30pm now… But in a way that’s a good thing, cause combined with the clear skies and high sun activity that means we are in for some amazing northern lights! Really, I’ve seen some nice northerlights last winter, but it’s nothing compared to what I saw in the last weeks! Sometimes the sky is just on fire (green fire that is :p), and they are dancing and changing colors and getting brighter and fading away again. It’s amazing to watch.

And what am I doing besides watching northern lights? Not too much really :p I am in a knitting frenzy, and will soon start to knit a new Icelandic sweater for my brother (I finished mine some time ago, but always forget to upload a picture, sorry!). And I am watching way to many TV series… Cause you have to do something whilst knitting, right? :p

And my work is just the regular office work, doing some projects and stuff. Although yesterday was a nice change, cause we went outside to plant tulips all around the village. Now let’s hope they will survive winter and flower next spring (last spring we didn’t have that many tulips I remember, so something must have gone wrong…). I won’t be here next spring to see the results (which made me realise again that my time in Sólheimar is slowly coming to an end), but I’m sure it will look lovely!

Amazing northern lights over our house. This picture was taken by another volunteer here who is really good with cameras :)

Amazing northern lights over our house. This picture was taken by another volunteer here who is really good with cameras :)

Lovely colors combined with thawing frost  :)

Lovely colors combined with thawing frost :)

Autumn comes and goes...

Autumn comes and goes…

Blue skies! It hasn't been this nice since april or so...

Blue skies! It hasn’t been this nice since april or so…

Categories: Sólheimar | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Fjadrargljufur Canyon

Last month I traveled around Iceland with my parents, and I managed to see some of the things that were still on my bucket list.

This is the Fjadrargljufur Canyon, near Kirkjubaejarklaustur in South Iceland. I had seen some amazing pictures of it but in reality it’s even more stunning. And there are almost no tourists there (which is always a big plus for me).

The canyon is not that long, maybe 2km or so, and you can walk right next to it (or even in it if you don’t mind getting wet feet).

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Categories: Bucket list, Travel | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Beautiful day in Laugarvatn

Last saturday felt like summer was back! And it was probably the last nice day before winter… There was no wind and lots of sun. I went to Laugarvatn for a small walk (it’s not so far from Sólheimar). And it was amazing, with all the colors of autumn and the reflections on the lake….

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I finally went to… Westman Islands!

The Westman Islands have been on my bucket list for a long time now, because it’s one of the only ‘tourist attractions’ I hadn’t been to yet. And because it’s supposed to be really beautiful theren and also because it’s a volcano. We were talking about going for some time now, and we were basically just waiting for some good weather. I kind of feared that we wouldn’t have any nice weather anymore before winter, BUT this week hasn’t been too bad :)

So we left on wednesday afternoon because they predicted 2 days of blue skies – and for once the forecast was right! We had amazing weather, probably the best days of this summer!

We hitchhiked to the ferry – it left at exactly 4 o’clock so I was a bit stressed about missing it – but we made it with time to spare and were soon on our way to the Heimaey, Westman Islands!

We stayed until thursday afternoon and tried to do as many things as possible in the short time. But to be honest, one day is enough to see everything on Heimaey :)
We first went to Eldfjell, the volcano that erupted in the 70’s and destroyed half of the town. And surprisingly, the earth on the top is still warm! I actually burned my hand a bit picking up some rocks!

We also made a walk over the new lava field that was created (the island grew with 2m² during the eruption) and saw pictures of the houses that were buried up to 40 meters underneath that lava. But sadly the ‘Pompei of the north’ where you can see some of the houses was closed because they are making it into a ‘nice’ tourist attraction.

And we climbed another hill that offered an amazing view over the islands.. I was hoping to see some puffins on the hill/cliffs (the westman islands are the biggest breading grounds for puffins) but they all had left already. So sadly I didn’t see ANY puffins in Iceland this year! 

And then we went to the swimming pool, because I’d heard a lot of nice things about it. And truly, it’s the best swimming pool in Iceland I’ve been to so far. They have a big swimming pool with sea water, and of course some hot tubs, but also a super fun waterside :) We were only there for 50 minutes because we had to take the ferry back in time, but if I ever go back to the Westman Islands, I will visit the swimming pool again!

We took the ferry back on thursday at 5.30 pm and were once again very lucky with our hitchhiking. It’s normally quite difficult to find a ride for 3 people but apparently, when the sun shines people are nicer :) We got a ride all the way to Selfoss from a ‘Reykjavik Excursions’ tourist bus – usually you have to pay a LOT of money for their tours but we could go on for free!

So all in all, It were 2 amazing days with awesome weather and great company and lots of fun!

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The Westman Islands – view from the ferry

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One of the smaller islands, with just one house on it. I heard it’s a hunting lodge to hunt… Puffins. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t find any :(

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Heimaey, the only town on the islands

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Sunset from on the top of Eldfell

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Doing some hiking

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What once was a building

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Iceland in the background.. I’m guessing the big glacier is Eyjafjallajökull

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The south of the island, this looks a bik like the Faroe islands..

Categories: Bucket list, Travel | 7 Comments

Travels travels, and then some more travels!

I finally have some time to write again!

It’s been a busy time for me lately, with all the travelling and other stuff :) (I am knitting an Icelandic sweater/dress, reading Game of Thrones and that’s a looooong book, playing music, learning french and watching way to many movies) So that’s why I can’t find time to write. Just to be clear on this – it’s not because the weather is so amazing that I’m outside the whole time. It is not. And I’m afraid our summer is over now before it ever started. It’s getting dark again at night and some days go we already saw some amazing northern lights again. Winter is coming… (And yes I am reading too much Game of Thrones :) )

But I will try to write a very quick post today – Cause I’m sure you are all very interested in my life! Right?

I will save the big ‘going around Iceland with the parents’ pictures for later, BUT I will tell something about the my brother’s visit :) He came here last weekend for only 2 days so I tried to show him as much as possible in this short time. (Since it is of course impossible to show all the wonders of Iceland in 2 days he already promised to come back another time!)

I of course had to show him the golden circle. The weather was quite bad (as it has been for I can’t remember how long) but I think he liked it anyway. I won’t write anything more about the golden circle though, read my previous post about it :p (yes I am that lazy). I have done the golden circles 5 times now, and I must admit.. it’s getting a little bit boring. It is always nice to see the geysir and all that, but I know now that there are so many more beautiful places in Iceland, the golden circle is only the tip of the iceberg. And it is soo FILLED with tourists!

The second day we did the south coast between Selfoss and Vík, so that means Seljalandsfoss, skógafoss and some black beaches :) 

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

And now I will tell you all a secret. If you ever go to Seljalandsfoss (it’s the waterfall you can walk behind) try following the path towards the camping. After 10 minutes you will walk past a cave. In that cave is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Iceland! And I don’t think many tourist know about this, since the cave is usually empty. :)

Hidden waterfall

Hidden waterfall

Hidden waterfall

Hidden waterfall

We also managed to go swimming twice in two days. The first day we went to a geothermal pool in Flúðir, a small village close to Sólheimar. Usually there’s a lot of people there but now it was empty :) (probably because of the rain!)

hot spring at Fludir - we brought the candles :)

hot spring at Fludir – we brought some candles :) (and yeah some beer too..)

And the second day we went Seljavellir, the oldest swimming pool in iceland. It’s close to Skogafoss, somewhere in a small valley near the ringroad. It’s only cleaned once a year (which explaines the mess in the changing rooms) and the water is not superwarm, and you have to cross a river to get to it. But you have amazing surroundings so it’s worth it!

Seljavellir swimming pool

Seljavellir swimming pool

that’s all I can write for now. I might go to the Westman Islands somewhere this week too and then to Belgium, so I don’t know when the next post will be.. :)

But for the friends and familly in Belgium; tot binnenkort!!!!!

Categories: Bucket list, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Still Alive!

No, I haven’t forgotten about my blog!!! I was just travelling :)

My parents visited me for 2 weeks and we went around Iceland. We had amazing weather, saw lots of beautiful things and I really enjoyed the time off and seeing them again! And then my brother came for 2 days too, so it’s been a busy time.

And now of course I have lots of new things to write about :) all the waterfalls, landscapes, etc..

I don’t have time to write much now though, and next week I have an EVS training with other volunteers. And then I’m going to Belgium for a week! Busy busy busy…

So for now, just know: I am still alive and having a great time :)

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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