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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Walkabout: Vik and Iceland’s South Coast - Page 3

Written by William Carne
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Today is a more relaxed day. There are no tours to catch, no sunsets to run to. Only me and Vik with a little time to try and figure out exactly what it means to be on my own. With my first Inuksuk standing proudly on the beach, I take a walk around town. I see the church with obligatory cemetery; the peaceful streets, nearly devoid of people; and the occasional car or cyclist passing through on the ring road. I decide to tackle one of the nearby cliffs to see what this place looks like from the high ground. With my iPod set to Sigur Ros, I climb the steep winding path to the top. The cliff is a nesting area for seagulls and there are dozens of them, flying circles in the air. Sometimes they approach me curiously. By the time I reach the top the wind has picked up so much that the birds flying into it are struggling just to hold their ground. I watch one, flapping its wings with determination, yet going nowhere. It finally turns to accept defeat and is gone in an instant.

I wonder what makes us climb. I’m at the top of the tallest cliff in the region, and before me lies a large plateau. But on this raised surface there are a few groups of boulders that add another five or six meters to the cliff’s height. They sit there, taunting me, like reaching the observation deck on a skyscraper and thinking if you could just figure out a way to climb the antenna. I can’t help but wonder what I could see with just a few more meters to work with.

As I stare at those boulders, thinking about independence and being alone, I realize it’s not just the moments of time that define us. I think it’s more what we choose to accomplish in those moments. In my case, I know I won’t be satisfied until I’m looking at this country from its peak.

So I do what anyone would do: I find a foothold, and a handhold, and then another foothold. The wind wrenches at my jacket, testing me. It’s only a few meters to the plateau but the ground is rough and rocky. One slip and it may as well be a mile. The wind charges at me again but I defy it. The seagulls fly above with heads cocked and one eye on that climbing speck of a man in the distance.

I hoist myself up over the last boulder and stand triumphant on the top of the world. And I realize with pride, I defined myself just a little bit better: The time I climbed the cliff in Iceland.

©William Carne

www.onwalkabout.net

Logistics:

Flight: Iceland Air offers many flights from Eastern Canada and all over the US to popular Western Europe destinations like Amsterdam, Glasgow, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and others. They are a comfortable and affordable airline and will let you arrange a free stopover in Reykjavic. I found a good deal booking through Expedia.

Land Transportation: The best option, if you’re in good shape, is to take a bike around Iceland’s ring road. I met plenty of travelers doing just that and I would have been one of them if I had found a little more time. Alternatively there is good bus service for the road and if you buy a full circle pass you can do the full circuit, hopping on and off whenever you feel like.

Accommodations: Vik only has a few places to stay as it is a town of only about 350 people.

Hotel Edda with 55 rooms is the biggest place to stay. There are a few B&B’s that are much more authentic options but they are hard to track down. If you’re not coming in the busy season, just show up and ask around town. You’ll find a nice room.

Entertainment: In Vik you make your own entertainment through hiking, cycling, swimming, etc. Don’t expect nightlife unless you happen upon someone’s party at the community center. If that’s the case though, invite yourself in and you’re bound to have a fantastic time. Tours of nearby glaciers and volcanoes can also be found with relative ease.

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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