Boereseun

My 15 Years in Canada

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Boereseun

Day 12 of 13

Today was the big day. It was ceremony time. I collected my robe and sash - ready for it. I must admit that the whole thing was superbly organized. We started on time with walking into the hall behind a man playing the bagpipes. You read that right - playing the bagpipes. There is something about bagpipes that just makes things special. It somehow puts a lump in your throat and you don't even have to be Scottish. We heard some speeches and I walked up proudly to receive my degree. It was truly fantastic. I can see why Universities put a lot of emphasis on these types of events. It brings a sense of pride and elation - fitting end for the hard work you commit to when completing a degree. I never had this opportunity in South Africa. My new adopted country has given me so much and to add this wonderful experience was truly amazing to me.

Day 13 of 13

On our last day it was pretty much a leisurely morning and making our way to the airport. The airport is smaller than you think with only 2 gates. It serves the purpose though and you can actually buy live lobster to take with you on the flight. Doesn't get any fresher than that. This is a trip I will never forget. I makes you realize that Canada is truly a beautiful country and to coop yourselves up in your little hovel makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Expand your horizons, expand your mind and experience something new. That after all, it the purpose of life - isn't it?

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Guest

Congratulations on your graduation Clive. Canada has been a most rewarding 15 year experience for the wife and you.

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Boereseun

The anatomy of a bathroom renovation.
Let me get this straight for everyone….if you want to test your marriage, your determination, your patience and your pocket the I would highly recommend that you get a bathroom renovation done. You will test all these things as well as your resistance to want to wrap your hands around someone’s throat. We had completed a kitchen renovation 3 years ago and figured it was time to tackle the bathroom. After careful though and some back and forth discussion, we decided that we wanted to remove the tub and install a shower. Knowing what you want is half the battle. We then scoured bathroom stores, taking prices and trying to gauge what the material costs will be. From there it was trying to find a contractor that will not try to rip us off and still do a decent job for a reasonable price. The bathroom itself is quite small – only 5’ by 9’. We had 8 quotes in total and all of them in the same ballpark. $15,000 to $17,000. It does seem quite ridiculous. I kinda figured it would come in around $10,000. Boy was I wrong. I will even admit in front of a jury that I was very wrong. One guy even said “I usually don’t take on jobs that are this small. Normally I do bathrooms that are $40,000 and up.” Holy Moly. Where do these people get that kind of money for a bloody bathroom? We settled on a company called the home improvement people. These were the only people that did not include all the cosmetics with their quote. The guy was super professional and said “We’ll do the work and you choose what you’d like installed. Taste will vary as well as price, so we leave that in your hands”. This makes perfect sense to me. They also had a preferred supplier that would give us a deep discount.

Fortunately my outlaws were going away on a cruise, so we could move the cats and live at their place for the next 2 weeks while the renovation is being completed. When dealing with any renovation, you have to come to terms with the fact that many things will go wrong. Luckily for us, there were no structural issues, but the supplier and materials were hell to deal with. On delivery day, they delivered the wrong vanity and shower assembly. Did the guy even read the work order? Then on day 1 of construction, the contractor and I started opening boxes. Not having a sense of humour and also being Russian must have given the contractor the best formula for telling you how it is. He said “This toilet is sh*t” Really now? Do you have any idea how funny and ironic that is? We had to get another toilet. Then we also realized that the shower base was running in the wrong direction. That needed to be replaced too. It honestly was starting to feel like we were sending almost every item back to the supplier to be exchanged. Of course, the shower niche was wrong to thus we needed a new one of those too. It just keeps getting better and better.
In the meanwhile, life at my in-laws kept ticking along. It’s always sucks when you don’t know where anything is. You get so used to living a certain way and doing things a certain way that it’s almost irritating when you change that routine. That said, my in-laws live in a wonderful neighborhood where everything is walking distance. I was really enjoying my evening walks and it really was convenient having the grocery store close by. We went home every evening to look at the progress. The wife took one look at the vanity and said “This is the wrong color” Really? Are you friggin kidding me? Back and forth with the supplier again and now having an extra delivery charge added to the bill. Bloody hell. I was slowly flowing into the dredges of insanity. This is why people go crazy. Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Right?
The contractor did a superb job with installation. Everything was installed to absolute perfection. Then we turned on the shower and the water was leaking out the bottom. Apparently it’s a design flaw. This was not the contractors fault, but the supplier. The contractor put a plastic diversion piece at the bottom to help temporarily, but the supplier has to come and correct the issue. So, no. We are not done yet, because I’m dealing with the supplier now. I swear I’m going grey from this.

To give you the final low down. Gut the bathroom, remove the bulkhead, cork flooring, chrome wall niche, thermostatic valve on the shower. Prices are Taxes included.

Definitely going grey. Definitely.

TUBS (Supplier)
TUBS Deposit $1,000.00
TUBS Payment $2,749.62
TUBS Toilet Upgrade $151.52
Subtotal $3,901.14

The Home Improvement People
Labor and Labor Materials $11,300.00

Purchased Items
Wall Niche $463.30
Wall Niche (destroyed) $104.19
Tiles, Grout, Metal Trim $287.90
Cork Flooring $248.69
Green Tape, Drop Cloth, Bathroom Door $344.34
Vanity Light $178.54
Bathroom Door Track $190.97
Paint $93.27
Paint $64.66
Paint $28.61
Waste Disposal $5.00
Vent Cover, Baseboard Trim $52.48
Bathroom Door Handles $57.93
Subtotal $2,119.88



Grand Total $17,321.02

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Edited by Boereseun
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MaryJane

Hah! Another enjoyable read and this time, a topic close to my heart (or pockets).

I work for a small plumbing distributor that sells to giants like Home Depot. And in all honesty, although I don't know much about all our products (elbows and pipes and what they do and what all their sizes are).....I do love to hear it when people say, "Leak!" because that's an opportunity that pays the salary right? :lol: Pity that in this case, it's a design flaw.

Hope your leak is sorted out soon. Use our products next time, if possible :P

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Guest

Nice looking renovation, thank you for sharing the details. Best return for your buck, bathroom or kitchen renovation. DIY, home renovation is big business in Canada. Screen those contractors very carefully before you allow them into your home. As with the construction industry anywhere in the world, you will always get the shysters waiting to take your hard earned dollars!

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Boereseun

Even wonder if things that are changed, modernized for the better….are really better? Remember fridges? Yes, they were big, clunky and as heavy sumo wrestler on a fried chicken diet. But and here’s the big but…they lasted forever. 20 or 30 years just chugging away. Yes, you had to defrost the freezer once in a while but that thing kept your beers cold and your ice cubes frozen.

 

The same thing applies to razors. Yes, that Gillette Fusion or Schick with now 5 or 6 blades promising the best shave ever. And yes, they do give a man a great shave, but oooohh the cost. Gillette rub their greedy little hand together when any poor soul has to buy replacement blades. Often when you buy groceries, half of your bill will be to pay for your razor blades. But this was not an issue for me, as long as I got a great shave in record quick time. This does have a big down side though. Ingrown hairs and for me, skin breakouts on my neck. I have had enough of this, so I embarked on the journey of finding a better shave. The straight razor was out of the question, because it will just give my wife a weapon in the bathroom. My days of bursting in when she is showering will be at an end and I don’t really want to give up that little guilty pleasure.

 

I opted for the old safety razor. I bought the German made Merkur for $35, a shaving soap – proraso sandalwood, a badger tail brush and a stainless steel mixing bowl (all on amazon). The next task is the blades. I initially bought a mixed pack and tried about 15 different blades. So, here’s my blade advice. If you have a thick, tough beard then you’ll need a sharper blade. The sharpest is called Feather. I looked like a watermelon sliced by a 5 year old with a hacksaw when I used those. I have a medium beard (a woman’s inner thighs might disagree) and settled on Astra blades. The cost….wait for it…..$15 for 100 blades. Yep, you read that right. $15 for 100 (in case you didn’t get it the first time). Remember now, when shaving this way there are a few things you should know. Your days of shaving in 3 minutes are over. You’ll always shave after a shower or after having a hot wet towel on your face. You’ll need to mix a nice thick foam in your bowl. Shaving will take some getting used to because you have to be patient and get the angle right and let the weight of the razor do the work. But your skin will thank you. Think of it like this. When you drag your fusion blade down your face 3 times, you are scraping 15 blades (5 x 3) of steel down your face. Now you will be doing it only 3 times with a single blade. How many shaves out of a blade? I say 3-5 max. The blades are dirt cheap. And use aveeno men. Yes, aveeno on your face after shaving.

 

Shaving has become a ritual for me. I have made it enjoyable, a little time for me. My skin is better. My wallet is lighter and recently I treated myself to a butterfly open clamp razor by Weishi.

 

Some things are done better the old way.

 

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Guest

I hear you and kind of have the same sort of approach although as you know from the last time we saw you, I now have a full grown beard....its the best thing and costs me $0 to shave, skin feels better and I use an electric trimmer to keep it manageable.

If I do shave I use this shave cream after a shower and gave up on the badger brush and use my hands. The badger hair brush tends to fall apart after a while - not my favourite thing to deal with. I do still use the Gillette Fusion blades but because I shave so infrequently it works out really cheap when I buy them in bulk at Costco. 

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19 hours ago, Boereseun said:

 

Some things are done better the old way.

Agree Boereseun. Never forget my old barber in South Africa; used the old cut throat razor to trim around the ears, sideburns and neck area. Always sat very still during the process. That razor was super sharp.

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Boereseun

***Just a quick note to those wondering. I am no longer married and didn't want to give the wrong impression. When I referred to "we" it is the new person in my life. I would also prefer to keep the details private and thank you for your understanding***

 

So, recently I have gone through a bit of an epiphany. I guess everyone’s epiphany would be a little different. For some it would be to consume as much alcohol as humanly possible before acquiring alcohol poisoning. Others like to test their will, patience and tolerance by taking public transit in Africa. Well….mine came about on a slightly different note. I know what you’re thinking, but I am truly not interested in joining a circus. I don’t mess with wild animals and cry when the big kitty cat scratches you. I decided to embark different wild adventure (In more ways than one).

 

I was going to hike through Algonquin.

 

Whenever I mentioned this to people, they all asked me if I was nuts. My expression carried the confused look of a gorilla playing with a rubik’s cube. Why on earth would I be nuts? A little hike seemed reasonable. What’s not to like? I also figured that I only have so many years left on this earth and while my body is strong and able and I am not rolling around on a motorized scooter, I owe it to myself to use my physical ability to do these things. Okay, so there’s a huge discussion about what you should or shouldn’t do and whether you need to put your life in harms way. But remember, I was a policeman in South Africa. If I’m not being shot at with an AK47, it’s minor.

 

The first thing you need to know about any kind of hiking and camping is that there is an initial outlay of equipment. But most of these things are a once off and will serve you for many many years. You may become poor now….but you’ll be okay later on. Kinda like buying a house. High end stuff will ruin you, so I decided to go middle of the road.

 

Item

Store

Taxes Incl.

Backpack - Osprey Aether 70

Sail

$250

Hiking Pants x 2

Hikers Haven

$100

Thermarest Prolite Sleeping Pad

Hikers Haven

$115

Iso-Butane Medium Cannister

Hikers Haven

$8

Leatherman Wave

Hikers Haven

$115

North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent

Amazon

$220

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Amazon

$50

Basecamp 250 Sleepingbag

Mountain Warehouse

$35

Headlamp

Mountain Warehouse

$12

Base Layer (Merino)

Mountain Warehouse

$40

Rain Coat

Mountain Warehouse

$28

Camping Lantern

Costco

$20

Walking Poles (Cork Handles)

Costco

$40

Knife with Built in Flint

Canadian Tire

$25

First Aid Kit

Canadian Tire

$15

Waterproof Matches

Sail

$12

Etekcity Ultralist Portable Stove

Amazon

$24

RioRand Portable Cookware

Amazon

$28

Camping Compass

Amazon

$12

Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Mountain Warehouse

$90

Lifestraw water Bottle

Amazon

$50

Auto Expanding pillow

Hikers Haven

$35

50 Feet rope

Hikers Haven

$20

Total

 

$1,344

 

To further my slow decline into hiking insanity, I would need to plan out a route. I selected what appeared to be a 32.5 km hike over 3 days. Doesn’t sound too bad does it? No seriously, it really doesn’t sound that bad at all. Reading all the do’s and don’ts regarding general hiking and what to do around bears seemed a little tedious but necessary. I also figured that coming across a bear is like being mugged in South Africa. You can have all these ideas in your head, but that will all go down the pooper when it happens. Oh well, you can only die once – thank goodness. Food would be the other thing to consider. Remember, every single pound of weight counts. We settled for a mix of pasta with meat sauce, some Clif bars, dried sausage, dried fruit and oatmeal.

 

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Thursday night rolled around and drove up to Windrush B&B in Huntsville (only 30 min outside the park). The plan was to have a big breakfast and start hiking Friday morning. I figured my pack weighed around 30 lbs, I thought it was manageable. We stopped at the West Gate and got all the necessary permits. It was $42 for 2 nights in the park which also includes my parking permit. Got out, put some bug cream on and started hitting the trail. I decided on doing the trail in reverse, simply because the distances worked out better. 12km on day 1, 18km on day 2 and 4km on day 3. About 5 minutes into the hike I realized why everyone thought we were nuts. June is bug season in Algonquin. Now, when you’re hiking you expect to deal with some bugs. But nothing could prepare us for this. Memories of SA car guards flooded me as we were swarmed. And everyone is out for blood.

 

Blood sucking mosquitoes swarmed by the hundreds and they brought their angrier cousins along. Blackflies. These buggers are like blue bottle flies on steroids. They take a chunk out of you and it itches 5x more. And if you thought long sleeve shirts will help…bzzzzz wrong! These bugs bite through clothing. Nobody is safe. After my arms were attacked I put on a sweater. Yes, a friggin sweater in 25C temperatures. Trust me, sweating is much better than being bitten. I also resorted to spreading bug cream on my clothes. In retrospect, I should have gone with bug spray too. Have both! Hear me now….have both everyone. Your sanity depends on it. The other thing I didn’t count on was that the rain left a lot of muddy sections. I learnt quickly to navigate on logs and playing hop scotch on rocks (with a 30lb backpack on).

 

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It turns out that a 12km hike was not quite a 12km hike. It’s bloody 12km as the crow flies. It was closer to 19km. Stopping to eat was really tedious as you firstly get swarmed and secondly you don’t have appetite. You end up eating because you have to, not because you want to – I have become everything I despise! Seeing food and not wanting to eat it is a nightmare. Water is life. Without water you are simply dead in the water (or dead out of water). There are many streams along the hike and our lifestaw bottles were doing its job. Thank goodness for those. We hiked from 10am to 3pm and reached Eu Lake. We were beat. Luckily, setting up the tent only takes around 3 minutes. There is nothing quite as aggravating as trying to set up a tent while bugs are attempting to feast on you. Tent up and grabbed my hatchet. Chopped on a dead tree and made a fire. Still….no relief from the bugs. Heated up some pasta and sauce. Still….no relief from the bugs. Hoisted our food 4 meters in the air (to keep away from bears), ran back to the tent close up, and killed 20-30 bugs that followed me inside. We were calling it a night.

 

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The next morning my shoulders were killing me. Maybe I needed to train a little with the pack to get used to carrying it (duh). Throughout the night I needed to pee. There was no ways I was going out there for that. I felt like I was hit by a bus. Grabbed a Clif bar and some dried fruit for breakfast, packed up and headed out. Now was the moment of truth. This will separate the men from the boys. Do we hike back out the park knowing the route and that it’s 19k or do we bite the bullet and go to the next camp which will likely be about 25-27k. Since I am not a sissy and can be stubborn as heck we decided to move forward. I felt a little better than the previous evening but I was still sore. If you think you are hiking on level ground meandering through the woods…..hahahaha. You are funny. It’s up and down like crazy. About an hour in we stopped at a lake where the train ended. Ugh. Hope we weren’t lost. We stopped along the portage route at Oak Lake and realized we missed the turnoff. And like the stubborn male I am, I was not going to ask for directions.

 

Backtracked a little and found the route again. The next few legs were brutal. You have to reapply bug cream every hour or they start biting again. Going through marshes were the worst. At one point I thought We were going crazy. We were actually hallucinating and thought that the constant buzzing sounds in our ears were normal. Delirium was setting in. The worst of it is that you can’t quit. You can’t just pack up and say “Hey, I’m done here. Can I go home now?”. Nope. You have to see this through to the end. And your heart just sinks every time you see a steep climb. The bugs bother you so much that you completely miss out on the scenery, because all you want to do is get to camp. To top this off I was attacked by a very angry looking pheasant (or similar bird). She was really unhappy (likely because I was close to her nest) and chased me like a cheetah running down a buck. I used my walking sticks to keep her at bay. Crazy woman.  When we crossed Mink Creek we just stopped for a second. It was gorgeous here. Hitting Maggie Lake was a solid point as I knew we were around halfway there. Smelling campfires just lifted my spirits a little.

 

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Then came another moment of awe. Steeprise Lake. It was magnificent. You’re up on an elevated trail looking down on the beautiful lake. The last leg was going to be brutal. We were already tired, sore and had about enough of the bugs. By the time we hit Maple Leaf South Lake we were close to tears. Another tent pitch, kill bugs, eat simple and hit the sack. Thank goodness tomorrow was the last day. And yes, I am fully aware that it says 4.4km on the map. Closer to 7km. After a fair nights’ sleep, my body was still sore. Shoulders were killing me and my legs ached constantly from the climbing. At 6:30am we were making our way on the final bit. Less incline and a small reprieve from the bugs. The wind had picked up and only had about a gang of 20 following instead of hundreds.

 

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This last day was downright pleasant. The scenery was awesome and it was less muddy. Now I know why this way around is the normal path taken. It inspires you on your first day, enjoying the hike and nature. Too bad the rest of your hike can become miserable, but by then it’s too late. We were truly happy that we did the hike in reverse of the predetermined route. Going against the grain can pay off or it can bite you, but it makes you original and daring. There’s always rules about everything. Do this, don’t do that. Break the rules! Not the law, but the rules. The only way anyone ever got somewhere was by breaking some of the rules. Looking back at this hike…

 

I am stronger than I thought I was. I am more determined than I ought to be. I have learnt a lot about planning and even more about rolling with the punches. And I truly believed it enriched my life a little more. I’m ready for the next adventure!

 

Edited by Boereseun
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Boereseun

I have a group of friends that go on a guys’ trip every few years. Sometimes these guys engage in some debauchery and like activities. Sometimes. The last trip we were on was Costa Rica (see my posts above). That trip ended up in a great adventure. Well, that trip only really started after 2 nights of the guys going crazy. Matt and I decided that we wanted more out of a trip than copious amounts of drinking and partying. Especially since I don’t drink. This year, the trip decided upon was to Cartagena, Columbia. Since I don’t indulge in the debaucherous behaviour (Matt and I usually end up on excursions etc.) there seemed nothing that Columbia could offer me. I’ve been to beaches and island holidays and quite frankly I’d probably find this trip boring. If I want to be bored and eat myself into oblivion, I would just go to Cuba. Logistics also seemed to get in the way in any event. The flight alone had a long stopover and would add many hours to the journey. I don’t mind the stopover if the trip is worth it. Summarily it got cancelled. Long stopovers seems more scary than the word commitment to these guys. Matt called me up on a Friday afternoon. “Hey Clive, do you want to go to Iceland?” I thought about it and said “Sure, I’m a little crazy so why not?” On Monday I booked everything and that Friday we flew out. Basically, within a week of the idea hatching. Never let it be said, that I am anything but spontaneous.

The flight left at 6pm. I’m sure I’ve complained about flights before (maybe just a little). We went on WOW air which was the ultimate budget airline. Words of wisdom: Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed. And nothing is what we got. No water, no drinks, no stale peanuts. Zip. Nada. Cramped. Tight. Okay okay. I’m 6’3” and I’ve been spending some time in the gym so I top 260 lbs. They don’t make planes with me in mind but this was tight for a normal sized guy. Thankfully the flight was only 6 agonizing hours. After landing and breezing through customs we went to pick up our car. I think that car hire places are part of the big scam system. They drive the living fear into you. I ended up buying scratch and nick insurance. Ugh. Waste of money. I should have known better. We’re driving on roads full of ice, grime and dirt. There is no way they would be able to tell if there were scratches on the car. Our massive vehicle was a 1.2 liter KIA picante. Even with a corporate discount it would be $350 CAD for 5 days. It just felt like I was being fleeced.

At 6 am we headed out to our first destination, driving in blowing snow. Did I mention the roads were winding and mountainous in sections. That there are no guardrails anywhere so if you go off the road, you’re basically toast. Just a minor inconvenience in my book. Our destination was Jökulsárlón, 5 hours away. Now  hear me out. We landed at 5:50am. If we booked a hotel in Reykjavik we would only be able to check in around 3pm. What were we going to do all day? Hang around in a coffee shop? It seemed like a waste of time. So, I booked an excursion for 1pm. After about 3 hours of driving, I felt complete and utter exhaustion. My body was reminding me “Hey dummy. You’re 42 years old and you need to sleep you old fart.” So I woke Matt and we switched. The landscape was interesting. Total darkness. We only have sunlight from 11am-3pm. We stopped twice along the way, only once for gas. We had our second taste of how expensive Iceland is. Petrol is around double at $2.30 CAD per liter. I was at that point that I became thankful that we were driving a 1.2 liter micro car.

Stopped at some interesting things like these huge chunks of ice on the beach. Jökulsárlón is a bit of a tourist hub. There are these huge floating glaciers and a small café that is an absolute goldmine. A soup and sandwich ran me around $18. I booked the tour through Extreme Iceland to go check out an ice cave. The cave was only about 20min from Jökulsárlón, but you needed a specialized vehicle to get there. They gave you a quick instructional on wearing cramp-ons and supplied a helmet. Unfortunately, we had cloud cover so the cave itself was completely dark. This excursion cost $250 CAD per person and I believe value for money was not there. The vehicle was overkill as we saw people with a ford explorer make it to the cave. I really enjoy being ripped off. Seems to be a pastime when I’m on vacation. Was interesting though, knowing that there is no cave in the summer and it will reform again next winter.

We spent the night at the Hali Country Hotel (15 min away) which included breakfast for $200 CAD for 2 people. Dinner was going to be a whole other ball of wax. The specialty food of Iceland is lamb. Fortunately I love lamb so I was good to go. You can expect to pay $50 CAD for a main course here. I must admit, that the food itself was exquisite. Another interesting fact about eating out is that waiters/waitresses do not expect a tip. They are paid well and it is customary not to tip as a good salary is the norm. I thought this was quite insightful. The next morning we headed to Skaftafell only 45 min away. I booked another tour. We were going to hike on a glacier at 11am. Again, cramp-ons, ice-pick, helmet and we’re off.

We spent about 1.5 hours on the glacier and for $100 per person it was totally worth it. It’s important not to let your mind wander into what it would be like to fall into a crevice. Especially after watching some movies like vertical limit – a movie centered on falling down a crevice. Honestly, they don’t do it justice. Your chance of survival would be pretty slim in reality, especially for a guy like me. That skinny little guide is not going to drag my huge butt from the bottom of a crevice. Yep, I’d be done. After the glacier, we hopped in the car and headed to Vik for some retail therapy. The store, was Icewear. The cost. Astronomical. A sweater would run you around $200 CAD but you felt like it would be a once in a lifetime chance to buy Icelandic wool. Supposedly it was really warm. After giving them a small piece of my soul we decided on one more stop before Reykjavik. Our first waterfall visit in Iceland – Skogafloss. We must have driven past this on our way to Jökulsárlón but it was pitch dark of course. We couldn’t see jack. The waterfall was impressive for Iceland, I guess. I don’t know, once you’ve been to Niagara falls, everything else seems….well a little meh. Cool thing about this is that you can walk a staircase to the top and along the edge with no safety railings. To boot, the sun was setting and we had to hustle to the top. Obviously I took a shortcut that said “Closed, do not enter”. I went anyway and Matt hustling behind me yelling something about it being dangerous. Yep, risk your life on slippery rocks – that’s how I roll. All part of the adventure, right? We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the ocean and nobody accidentally killed themselves. Bonus.

After a good nights’ sleep in Reykjavik it was time to tackle the famous golden circle. We were going to hit 5 stops in 4 hours. We’re burning daylights here people. Hit the road around 10:30am and made the first stop at the Þingvellir National park. Making that stop made me really thankful that I was not on a tour bus. I just pictured it in my head. “Okay people, lets meet back here in an hour….(one hour later)….Hey where’s Bob. Oh he’s taking a dump. Ok, wait for diarrhea Bob on the bus.” Ugh. We spent all of 10 minutes there, took a pic and moved on. Next stop was at the Geysir. Watching hot water sprouting steam into the sky. Quite entertaining. What was even more entertaining was  watching people slip and fall all over the place. Sub-zero temperatures plus water spraying everywhere equals lots of ice. People are obviously dumb enough to ignore the “please wear cramp-ons sign” and think that walking on a massive sheets of ice is a good idea. I could have sat there all day. It was very entertaining. Young, old, kids….everyone had a turn slipping and falling. A hospital in the area would make a killing. Even a small office with a portable x-ray machine would do well. Made me think that Natural selection could be a prevailing theme in Iceland.

We made 2 more waterfall stops. Gullfoss and Faxi. Nice but still meh. Most entertaining part was doing donuts in the parking lot at Faxi. I love driving on snow and ice sometimes. Next stop was the Kerio volcano crater. Again, no safety railing and able to walk everywhere. It was awesome. Completely worthwhile stop. Pictures can’t do it justice as it was huge and walking into the base of a crater was fantastic. Matt wanted to stop at the Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal plant. I must admit that it seemed like a boring endeavour. At the end of the day, it turned out to be really cool and state of the art. They give you access to everywhere and are happy to share their technology. The girl working at reception was a trained geologist. I feel like we have a similar issue in Canada. Lots of people with degrees doing menial work because there is nothing in their field. She was looking at working in Calgary or Fort McMurray which in my opinion would be a good move. We had another expensive dinner and were a little bummed as our northern lights tour was cancelled. Not due to weather but due to no geomagnetic activity.

The second day in Iceland was consumed by exploring Reykjavik. Did the hop on hop off bus tour and just walked to most of the sights. The church, theatre, pedestrian walkway etc. The city itself was very European in style and feel. That night we got on a bus tour to see the northern lights. The bus driver took us to a very remote location and we got to see it, but not a crazy lightshow as the activity was fairly low. Still another great experience.

The last day was going to be chill at the Blue Lagoon spa and fly to Toronto after. Here are my thoughts on the Blue lagoon. Simply speaking it was overpriced for what it was. Hot sulfuric water bath for $100 per person. I would research more and find a more local place for that endeavour. All in all, Iceland was a really interesting trip and I would recommend to anyone. You don’t need much more than 5 days and it will run you around $2500 CAD per person if you do what I did.

Cross that bugger off my list of places to see.

 

I'll post some pics on Thursday.

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Jules

Thanks for sharing. Almost feels like I was there after reading this.

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