Wednesday, October 29, 2003

So life here goes it´s merry way ... and I try to hang on for the ride as usual... don´t have a clue as to where the bus is going but am looking forward to the trip, enjoying the ride and ignoring the destination issue.

For the past two days I have lain in bed, feeling utterly sorry for myself (I´m getting quite adept at that ;-) with high fever and a runny nose, before that i returned home from a week long escape to Edinburgh.... both events leave me with rather little to say seeing as when started this blog vowed to not whine online nor to reveal intimate information as to my love life... ;-) Hence I am left without any news at all..... ;Þ

Fido Dido read my thoughts ??? Can he read yours as well?

Icelanders just can´t seem to stay out of the news, if it isn´t Björk or whaling then it´s the way in which we hunt sharks...go figure ... The English newspapers even ponder upon the Gs decline in health after taking over the management of the Stoke city soccer team .....

So tourist flock here and Icelanders flock away....funnily enough they always seem to come back..and that goes for both groups..? There are quite a number of things that seem odd to the typical tourist once in Iceland.. ;-) The signs being in Icelandic doesn´t help, but going by the pictures normally helps ;-)

As one car rental exclaims;

"Icelanders have a cavalier attitude to driving in conditions that most other people would baulk at – they have to, or would probably never get behind the wheel – and take dirt tracks and frozen twisting mountain roads very much in their stride, barely slowing for any hazards.
Native drivers also tend to gravitate towards the road's centre and don't slow down much or move over for oncoming traffic, which can be very disconcerting at first. Two roadsigns you'll soon become familiar with out in the country – even if you stick to the Ringroad – are "Einbreið bru", indicating a single-lane bridge sometimes also marked by flashing yellow beacons; and "Malbik endar", marking the end of a surfaced road.
Along the southeast coast, the northeast and some interior roads, sandstorms can be a serious hazard and have been known to overturn vehicles and strip the paint off cars; stretches of the Ringroad where these might occur are marked with orange warning signs.Otherwise, the most common hazard is having other vehicles spray you with windscreen-cracking gravel as they pass; slow down and pull over to minimize this, especially on unsurfaced roads. When there's snow – though you'd be unlucky to come across much around the Ringroad during the summer – you'll find that the road's edges are marked by evenly spaced yellow poles; stay within their boundaries. In winter, everyone fits studded snow tyres to their cars to increase traction, so make sure any vehicle you rent has them too. Pack a good blanket or sleeping bag in case you get stuck by snow in your car, and always carry food and water."

Funny what is "normal" and "safe" to different countries.... When I lived up north I frequently had to drive through snowstorms, in my little old skoda, charging through where the snow had gathered into bulks of up to 50 cm high, being vary though of the ice collected on the gravel underneath the snow, whilst making sure the kids (one 3 year old, and one new born) were warm enough.... and that was just me getting to work :-D

I must admit to having been frightened on two occasions, once when the hospital wanted me to take Elena (then two years old) to the emergency ward up in Akureyri in a hurry.
There was a snowstorm warning out, the roads were very icy, I was in my even worse daihatsu ´88 that had no central heating and summer tires on the front and Akureyri was over two hours drive away over a mountain and a half...and she sick enough to warrant such desperate measures......

The other time was when I´d just left my kids with their grandmother (thank God) and was about to enter the main circle road. As I began to break the tires couldn´t grab, there was just this layer of ice and sleet on the road and I had absolutely no control over the cars forward momentum.

A truck coming down the main road managed to stop but I just went on, accross the main road and started the descent down an extremely steep hill on the other side that lead to one of Icelands more powerful glacier rivers.......
o.k. I was scared... luckily for me (you can imagine all the promices I´d made to God and all deceased familymembers by that time ;-) I managed to stop the car on the steep hill and (this was back when I had the skoda) very slowly the car actually managed to back up the steep slope and up unto the road......
Skodas...they always start, no matter what the weather is like, they have a mean reverse gear and they have a plate underneath so that when skidding on gravel or snow the engine is not damaged ;-)

Scary as this may sound things are actually quite good, no traffic jams except for perhas ten minute ones in Reykjavík, no car jacking or road rage. My 25 kilometer drive to work up north was not impeded by any traffic lights or actually any traffic come to think of it ;-) so.... if you checks the weather forecast and the road service before leaving the house, have warm clothes, boots and stuff in the car then your o.k. :-D

Enough said.. I am going to bed!

p.s. clicking here will let you see what the road situation is up north right now, with traffic information and stuff ;-)


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