Return Flight Back Home: From Iceland to America
We felt a bit like Leif Ericsson who had made the first historic voyage from Iceland to the New World in 999 AD as we boarded our WOW Airlines aircraft for our return flight home. Thankfully, our flight was unaffected by whatever weather conditions were going on in the eastern United States. We went through travel formalities and I had the unique distinction, after 35 years of flying, of being the first person to enter a waiting aircraft! Another travel first for me! These simple pleasures often delight me during my travels.
The flight was very pleasant and uneventful. We thought the service was superb. Below us (I had a window seat), the landscape changed magically. Two hours after leaving Iceland, the thickly snow-covered expanses of Greenland appeared before us. We passed by mountains, rivers and lakes that appeared like a frozen moon surface below us. Just as we were leaving the coast, we saw the beautiful fjords of the country. Although we hadn’t landed in Greenland, we saw a great deal of it from a bird’s eye perspective. Incredible! A little later, we were flying over the northern reaches of Canada—another icy Tundra region.
By 5. 15 pm, we were descending into Newark airport but not before we were offered spectacular views of the island of Manhattan that had been newly cleaned by a nor'easter. We caught the slanting rays of the setting sun over New York City's skyscrapers as, at 5.25pm, we landed at Newark Airport and discovered that clocks had sprung forward in America. We adjusted our watches and stepped out into the airport, cleared immigration in seconds (as we have Global Network clearance), found a shuttle to take us to Grand Central Station and then took the Metro-North train home. My brother Roger was waiting to receive us in his car at Southport station from where he dropped us home in less than five minutes.
Visiting Incredible Iceland in the winter is an experience we will contemplate for a very long time to come. In a land that is known for extreme cold, we had the distinction of driving through a blinding snowstorm and living to tell the tale. The heavens obligingly lit up for us and we saw the Northern Lights—the very reason for our trip. We were drenched under waterfalls, including mysterious hidden ones, that offered sheer exhilaration. We left our footsteps on millennia-old glaciers during energetic hikes. We penetrated the interior of hidden caves that were composed of and draped entirely in crystal-like transparent ice. We dunked ourselves in the jade-green waters of the Blue Lagoon where the sulphur-rich vapors of a geo-thermal hot pot relaxed us completely. We saw tall spouting geysers, blue-hued glaciers, black sand beaches, natural rock formations, frozen lakes and mile upon mile of wintry wasteland upon which no human being dwelled. We took in the feats of amazing architecture created by human hands in Modernist Scandinavian style—from towering church steeples to jewel-like concert halls, from pearl-shaped domes that disguised humble water tanks to traditional wooden houses and basalt Parliament buildings. In terms of wild life, we saw native horses, Arctic terns, plovers and seagulls. We tasted local delicacies such as grilled lamb and local hot dogs, Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), ice-cream and local chocolate bars. We chatted with Icelanders in bars, restaurants and in farms and fields when we asked for directions. We found them to be welcoming and extremely helpful.
In all our travels, there are a few images that stand out and which we recall every time we think of that country. Iceland offered us so many that it is impossible to choose the main one.
Thanks, as always, for reading my journal and for following my blog posts. If I can inspire you to undertake such adventures, my main objective would have been fully vindicated.
May the road reach out to greet you always….