Day 11 – The Tree Surgeon and the Geo-Technologist

Today is almost drawing to a close, and the last 24 hours have been very good. Yesterday, our opinion or Langbrok grew and grew and I can saw without a doubt that it will probably be our favourite campsite from our entire Iceland trip. The owners were two ladies and a gent who were also in a folk band together, and created a very friendly atmosphere. They also practiced their songs in front of us, and gave us the opportunity to finally speak to locals and hear local folk music live. When it started to rain, they remembered that we put washing out and went over to remind us – it was that personal! The grounds itself were also kept really clean and cosy, and we never had to fight for amenities!!

We drove for around 4 hours to get to the next campsite, where we’re currently at. We’ve decided to do another 2 days here, as there are showers and the campsite looks clean. It even has a stove! It still amazes me what a slight change in surroundings can do for how you feel and how willing you are to talk to people. In this campsite and Langbrok, if someone came down to sit near me, I’d feel the urge to speak to them and I’d assume that they’d want to do the same. In Vik, I’d assume that they had no choice and would continue to ignore them. Vik was the London Underground of campsites, and where we are is more like Yorkshire. We decided to go for a swim, as swimming pools in Iceland seem to be everywhere. We’re currently in a village of no more than 1000 people, yet there’s a swimming pool. It’s been recommended to us to go swimming from the beginning and it was worth it. Not only was the pool itself clean, but it was surrounded by smaller heated pools of different degrees for your preference. You could also see a beautiful waterfall from the heated pools as well as a magnificent building that I can only assume was a church. There was no time limit to how long we could stay, and we only paid 750ISK (£5) to be there! We were the only tourists there and a few Icelandic people, but I couldn’t pluck up the courage to talk to them. If Wales had become so populated by tourists that they outweighed us at nearly 4 to 1, I would probably just want some down time with my family every now and then.

Map to Olafsvik

After we got back from swimming, we got chatting to an Austrian couple, who have said will read this, called Magdalena and Florian. I’m always struck by how easy it is to talk to nearly everyone here because of the fact that they speak English, but this pair spoke English so well, that only their accent gave them away. They were from Austria and were both studying. Florian’s masters was in something called ‘Wood Technology’. As soon as he told us, you could almost see him bracing himself for the questions he must have known were coming. And luckily he was ready to laugh at them, because I really needed to know how much like carpentry his course was, and if he’d ever made a chopping board. Neither of them took themselves seriously at all, and didn’t mind when I kept asking horrendously ignorant things, like “how similar is Austrian to German?”. Turns out Austrians speak German, so not very different at all. They had not long come back from a five day hike along a glacier, yet from the way they spoke about it, you would have thought they’d just been for a stroll. I can’t imagine doing anything so strenuous, but they shrugged off their easiness about it, saying it “wasn’t all up and down”. From the beginning, there seemed to be something very familiar about them, and I got the impression they felt the same way. When in Vik, I took a day off from walking anywhere and sat down in the communal area to write this blog. I’d pretty much decided to not talk to anyone for the entire day, and just wait for Dan to get home from his glacier walk. Except I did speak to someone at one point. I needed a wee, so I looked up from my laptop and asked the people across the table from me to watch my things whilst I went to the bathroom. They politely obliged, so to thank them I returned and continued to ignore them for the rest of the day. Turns out those people were Magdalena and Florian. I’m grateful that they thought that was funny!

Just when I started to feel ashamed for how ridiculous it was to be so anti social in one camp and so willing to talk in another, Magdalena quickly agreed that Vik took it out of her as well. When you have to fight for some sink space, people generally become threatening to you and you’re not so willing to ask how their day is going. I wish you two all the best, and good luck with becoming a tree dentist Florian!

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