Did it start when I couldn’t resist creeping nearer to the erupting Mount Merape volcano in Java ignoring the sign saying HALT. We heard it first before we saw it; great cracking, thunderous bangs as it hurled out glowing lava the size of an average council house that cooled as it crashed down the cinder fields. Or was it the plopping, steaming mud pools in Costa Rica? No, it goes further back than that. It was the charity hike from hell through the Alaskan Wilderness 20+ years ago. Flying home over Greenland I flagged down the airhostess.
“I wonder…could you ask the pilot if I can watch the Northern Lights from the cockpit if there’s a showing on this flight?”
“Hey, great idea” she said. It was before 9/11.
Three times during the flight she woke me up and we walked the path of the privileged (I dream of one day turning left on a plane) to enter the holy grail of first class then the cockpit.
“There you are m’am see that?”said the pilot. It looked like someone had gone ‘bouf’ with a tub of green talcum powder into the sky. No curtains or ribbons or reds, but enough of a thrill to log into my brain that one day I’d go to Iceland and see more.
There’s no guarantee. It might be overcast all week, and a week it will be because Iceland is scarily expensive. My dentist’s receptionist was thrilled by her weekend break there but said a pizza and two beers cost them £70. However the more I learn about what we can see there it’ll be a bonus if we do see the lights. I have an alert app on my phone and fingers and toes are crossed.
David from Rickshaw Travel sends us a list of extras we can do. (We already have whale watching and Northern Lights boat trips, Glacier cave adventure, and Secret Lagoon trips planned.) I read we could also see the statue of the last Great Auk (extinct because, being flightless, they were easy to catch, and both they and their eggs rather tasty.) There are museums and so on but we could also see the place where someone was beheaded, a crashed American plane on a black sand beach and the place where a lighthouse was demolished…it’s all very Icelandi noir don’t you think?
I don’t like to travel somewhere without being able to, at the very least, say hello, goodbye and thank you in their language. One Minute Icelandic on YouTube is tells me to say godan dag (pronounced go than dach) for hello but gets complicated when you could also say Saell to a man but Sael to a woman (pronounced cycle and sile). At least I’ll remember how to say goodbye: Bless!