Friday 16th March 2001

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The Nutters

Who are the Nutters? Friends that have a technology bent - so are classified as mad by most people. I think we all accept the apparently derogatory classification as an affirmation of our superior technology skill sets. (This excludes Jack, who just likes Beanies.)

The idea for a trip to Iceland came from a pub conversation on 1st Jan after The Jennys' Party. We hadn't seen an aurora - let's find one.

The Party:

  • Andy - Mr Linux who loves Electricity Pylons
  • Bernie - Driven by the quest for ever more efficient light bulbs to play with 
  • Dave - Excited by anything that drives four wheels
  • Jack - Likes being a 12 year old
  • Jennifer - Loves anything that's out of the ordinary, and I mean anything
  • Jenny - Fingers into most things
  • Nick - Your Webmaster
  • Rick - Passionate about Modern Art   

Five of the above Nutters invaded Lundy in 2000.

The Travelogue

We arrive at Heathrow, Terminal 1, desk D2 to be precise, at 19:30. Time for a pint before boarding at 20:20, and the plane's on its way at 20:50.

As we approach Iceland we see a faint green glow on the horizon - an aurora! That's it! Mission accomplished! We ask the pilot to head back to Heathrow.

We head on to Keflavik international airport. There is no time zone change! No jet lag!

The flight is a mere two hours: this is luxury compared to the numerous seven hour flights I made to Charlotte last year. 

In the arrivals hall we are greeted by Mr Alp's representative who has 2 gleaming motor cars for us. We snatch the keys from his hands and tear off to Reykjavik.

That last bit is a lie. The cars are left hand drive with manual gear change. I drive, not being phased by driving "on the wrong side of the road". But I had never driven a manual gear change operated by my right hand - so I was driving like a learner, looking at the gear stick, weaving and cursing lots. My passengers were amused - but soon my driving was back to its usual dull style. (How crude, matching road speed, and engine revs with a manual clutch...)

The air is very clean and fresh. Each light in distant Reykjavik is amazingly sharp and clear.

We drive into Reykjavik and find the Hotel Cabin easily enough.

Here we experience the major headache of the holiday: the travel agent had failed to book and confirm the room reservations. Check out the ongoing correspondence! 

SaraThere's a conference in Reykjavik this weekend and they don't have any spare rooms. So they make the effort to find some. 

A non-arrival gets a room for the Jenny, Jennifer and Jack. I get a basement room. The others share two rooms with no door keys.

We have no complaints at all with the Hotel Cabin. The staff were really fun and obliging, the rooms are compact, any smaller would be ridiculous. All simple clean and functional. 

Sara makes us very welcome. She showed us all to our rooms.

After that drama Jenny and Jack retired. The rest re-emerged and re-grouped in the bar, we needed to relax.

Relaxing involves drinking Tuborg lager at 5 per 600ml glass. They have no concept of closing the bar: It's Friday night and we're in Iceland!

Gudrun shows Bernie a mapGudrunGudrun shows Bernie where to find the North of Iceland on the map. (It's at the top.)

She also teaches us a Icelandic word. 

We are to use it when we think of Bernie.

I won't print it here until it's been verified and sanitised. I don't think it's a very nice word. 

Jennifer's boyJennifer meets a muscular sailor called Emil.

He's on strike, demanding more money from the overlords, and government, and yes he would like another pint, thank you. 

"You need to go to the north of the island to see the Northern Lights: They're so much, much better there than here."

I end up taking to a bunch of managers from the largest exporter of Icelandic dried fish. 

"Have you heard of our company?"

"No." I replied chewing on one of their samples. 

They then showed me how to eat dried fish - the secret is to peel off the skin.

"What did I think to 'Hoof and Mouth Disease' ?"

I gave a politically balanced Radio 4 answer, mentioning the inhumane practise of transporting animal ridiculous distances from farm to abattoir just to get an extra few pounds.

"What did I think to Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease ?"

I guessed there was media confusion going on. Iceland is clear of both diseases. 

I replied that I was going to be vegetarian, and would you like to buy me some more beer?

I grab a packet of dried fish, and return to the Nutters table, saying good bye to Emil and Gudrun.

The tour journal now stops in a drunken blur...

We were in the bar from 2:00 to 5:00 - was this going to set the pace for the rest of the weekend?

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