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How my washing machine got me to Iceland: a traveller's confession

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Culture & Entertainment

How my washing machine got me to Iceland: a traveller's confession

Okay, I need to come clean about how I have financed some of my travels. For some people, their home is their castle. It's the dwelling place of their pride and passion in life. For me, it's my backpack. Even though I don't sleep there every night, it's where my heart and soul reside. My backpack, you see, symbolizes travel, it represents my next trip. It speaks to me of new cultures, new people, new experiences. I'd gladly hock my kitchen stove if I thought it would cover the cost of a plane ticket. And on that note of household appliances, let me begin. Picture this: it's around 11 pm on a week night in early spring of 2009, and I'm surfing the internet looking for apartment-sized washers and dryers, an exercise which did little to stir my emotions. The utility room in my condo has been all prepped for months and the plumbing connections long installed. All I needed to do was order the appliance and have it delivered. Easy peasy...so you'd think. The thing is....I mean the thing is, if it's late at night and you're all alone searching the net for Maytags it's only understandable that one would get distracted, right? And it's only understandable that my thoughts - and browser - would wander off in the direction of various travel web sites I have bookmarked. So in a few quick (and innocent) clicks I go from reading about rinse cycles to Reykjavik. It's just a simple matter of how your mouse, or perhaps your soul, is programmed. I blame it on Patrick Dineen who writes the travel bargain column in The Globe and Mail's Travel Section. If he hadn't written about an amazing travel deal to Iceland (this was pre-volcanic spewing) then I'd likely be sitting at home at night basking in the warmth of my ensuite dryer. Alas, this is not so. I succumbed not just to my life-long dream of visiting Iceland, but also to the power of Mr. Dineen's finely-crafted text which announced to the world, and more pointedly to me, that a 5-day Icelandic travel package would be mine for less than the total cost of my washer-dryer. It was not fickleness, it was fate. I am only human. I am weak. By the blue glow my laptop in the dark of night, the dollars ear-marked for my washer-dryer made haste to a secure bank account in Reykjavik. And by the blue glow of my laptop in the dark of the night I danced with joy! Here are some images of my trip to one of the most breath-taking places in the world. [caption id="attachment_429" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Lava covered glaciers, outside Reykjavik, Iceland"] Lava covered glaciers, outside Reykjavik, Iceland[/caption] I spent my days riding Icelandic ponies, hiking on glaciers, eating lobster and whale, walking the breadth of the city (population of Reykjavik is approximately 125,000; the entire country hovers not much over 300,000) into the wee hours. In the month of May, the time of my visit, we were treated to two hours of dark. The people were friendly. Seafood was relatively inexpensive. The beer was not. [caption id="attachment_431" align="aligncenter" width="288" caption=" Here I am equipped with pick axe and crampons, about to head out on a trek along a glacier"]  Equipped with pick axe and spikes, we head out to trek along a glacier[/caption] Day hikes from Skaftafell bring you to Virkisjokull glacier where you strap on crampons, absorb brief but vital instruction from the guide, and spend a few hours traipsing about the ever-changing glacial mass. [caption id="attachment_432" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Surprisingly green fields appear out of nowhere, smack up against lava rock"] Surprisingly green fields appear out of nowhere, smack up against lava rock[/caption] The Icelandic landscape is full of surprises. One moment you're staring at moonscapes where nothing can grow, and the next you're at places such as Seljalandsfoss Falls, getting drenched by the mist. [caption id="attachment_433" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Bath-water warm lakes dot the countryside"] Bath-water warm lakes dot the countryside[/caption] Geothermal energy is one of Iceland's greatest assets. You'll be driving along, eyes transfixed on the barren lava-rock strewn fields, and suddenly out of nowhere you'll see steam spouting from the ground, and a wonderfully warm lagoon appears like a mirage before you. [caption id="attachment_434" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Visitors swim in geothermally-heated lagoons while cold wind blows overhead. Pure heaven."] Swimming in the naturally-heated pools while the cold wind whips around us. Pure heaven.[/caption] A visit to the Blue Lagoon spa is a must and only minutes from the airport. You'll float in bathing and swimming pools whose waters are 37 - 39 degrees Celsius (98 to 102 F). It's relaxing, rejuvenating and cleansing. And to think, I got all this - for less than the price of a washer-dryer. Travel information on Iceland is only a click away. So too, for that matter, are tips for purchasing washer-dryers.
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How my washing machine got me to Iceland: a traveller's confession

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