Date: 2009-04-11 14:58:00
islands of the world, part 3
Has it been a week already since my last entry in Egilsstaðir? Time flies when you're having fun!

3 April - We pushed onward toward Akureyri, there wasn't much for us to see in the northeast of the country. The road to Dettifoss (the largest waterfall in Europe) was still not cleared since the winter. We stopped near Mývatn and saw some boiling mud pots and steam vents. Drove up to Húsavik just so we could take a picture of the Icelandic Phallological Museum (sadly, it wasn't open). Stayed in Akureyri for the night, visited the local hot pools in the evening.

4 April - We awoke to a complete change in the weather, it was crisp and clear and sunny! We had noticed lights from a ski hill above Akureyri the night before so we drove up to check it out. It would have been fun to go skiing but we decided we didn't quite have the time. We both thought Akureyri was a charming little town even though we didn't get a chance to spend much time there. We pushed onwards north through Dalvik, planning to go around the peninsula, but just past Ólafsfjorður we found the road was closed (oops, forgot to check before we went that way). On the way there was a long tunnel, something like 3.6 km long, single lane with pullouts for westbound traffic every 200 m or so. Finally we made it all the way to Stykkishólmur for the night.

5 April - This was our "lazy day". All we did was climb up a small hill a few km outside of town, wander around the town (nothing was open, it was Sunday), check out the pier and lighthouse, and that's about it.

6 April - We drove all the way around the Snæfelles Peninsula, with pretty good weather. We could see the ice cap on the mountain most of the time, which was great. We tried to go snowmobiling on the glacier, but alas the place wasn't open (this was a common theme). However, the Blue Lagoon southwest of Reykjavik was open, so we went there for a swim before returning to Reykjavik for the night.

7 April - Travel day. Got up well before the crack of dawn to drive the 45 minutes or so to the airport, in time for our 7am flight to London. Got to London, dropped our stuff, and headed out to see things. Lack of planning and poor timing got us to the Tower of London at about 3:30pm, which the ticket agent helpfully informed us wasn't enough time to see much before they closed. So we walked along the north bank from Tower of London to Millennium Bridge, then crossed over and walked along the south bank to Waterloo station. It was low tide so we even went down and walked along the rubble and muck at the very bank of the Thames for a short while. While we didn't see any major attractions that day, it was nevertheless quite enjoyable just to walk around. Met up with [info]teferi for dinner.

8 April - Went to the Science Museum and saw a bit of it. We did see the Pegasus computer, which is the only surviving operational vacuum tube computer. We were fortunate enough to be there on a day when a few members of the Computer Conservation Society were there operating the computer - they do that once a fortnight. We had an interesting discussion with one of the original designers of that very machine (he had joined Ferranti a year before they started building the Pegasus). Then we went back to the Tower of London and did the pretty much the whole tour, both the hour long tour from a Yeoman Warder and also seeing the Crown Jewels.

9 April - Did a two hour walking tour of "the square mile", the part of the city that was originally a Roman fort. As our guide demonstrated, it's impossible to fit two thousand years of history into a two hour talk. However, the parts that he did talk about were interesting and entertaining. While Amy hunted down more yarn stores, I went back to the Science Museum and finished wandering through that, as well as a small part of the Natural History Museum next door. One could easily spend a couple of weeks at the museums there and still not see all of it. We then did the London Eye just before sunset, which gave us a lovely view of the city.

10 April - Travel day. Got up reasonably early (after the crack of dawn this time) to catch a flight to Frankfurt, and then on to Tokyo. Tried to sleep on the plane without a whole lot of success.

11 April - Arrived in Tokyo. With only a couple of minor missteps, we successfully took the train from Narita to our hotel (which took two hours). Exhausted, we ventured out to find something to eat for lunch. Japanese people try very hard to be helpful but it's really difficult when we can't understand what they're trying to say! Nevertheless, we did happen upon a small restaurant that was still open to serve us. Back at the hotel now, Amy has succumbed to the call of the jet lag demons (and is taking a mid-afternoon nap) while I'm trying to stick it out and am therefore writing this summary.

We have done so incredibly much in such a short time that we're both getting a bit travel weary and are looking forward to going home in a couple of days. We don't have any particular aspirations for seeing anything in Tokyo, my plan is to just be here for a couple of days and experience basic Japanese survival. And to readjust my internal clock to a time zone closer to home.
Greg Hewgill <>