Sunday, October 13, 2013

First step, Iceland.




Finally, the time had come. It was a pleasant 10 degrees as I stepped onto a plane in Hobart to start the very long trip to Greenland.
The first leg was from Hobart to Melbourne, a mere hop, skip and jump compared to the long haul flights that were to follow.
A few hours in Melbourne then I boarded an Etihad Airways plane for the flight to Abu Dhabi. Now, most travellers that have travelled internationally are aware that the excitement of flying on long haul flights lasts about one hour into the very first flight. Then it becomes a case of "are we there yet?" Fortunately, Etihad is one of the best airlines available, even in Economy class, and they do their utmost to make the flight as pleasurable as possible. Nevertheless, it was a relief to step out of the plane 14 hours later into the slightly warmer clime of Abu Dhabi. 39 degrees!!
The message came through that my next flight from Abu Dhabi to Heathrow had been delayed by 1 and a half hours......
This was of some concern to me as I only had 3 hours to get from Terminal 1 in Heathrow to Terminal 4 to organise my flight to Iceland. This included collecting my baggage and making the not inconsiderable trip between terminals. My 3 hours had just been reduced to one and a half hours......
So, I quickly fired off a couple of emails, one to my accomodation in Reykjavik, Iceland and another to Chris Frizelle of Outdoors Grub who I had organised to meet at Heathrow with my food for the trip,  just to warn them that things may not go to plan.
Once I had landed in Heathrow I rang Icelandair to let them know I was on the ground and would get there as soon as I could.
I gathered my baggage as quickly as I could then raced down to a taxi rank. £20 pounds later, I was deposited outside Terminal 4. It didn't take long to find the Icelandair Check In desk and Chris. The airline had kept someone back to meet me and issue a boarding pass. I thanked Chris for his superb service, collected my bag of food and boarded the Icelandair flight to Reykjavik.
I boarded the plane 20 minutes before take-off. 3 hours later I was in Keflavik, Iceland. It had taken almost 41 hours of travelling to get here!. A one hour bus trip into Reykjavik and I walked into the Downtown Hostel in Reykjavik at 1am in the morning, a little tired but glad to have arrived.
Surprisingly, I was awake 6 hours later feeling pretty fresh. I walked into the heart of Reykjavik (more a town than a city) and found my way to Ellingsen's Outdoor shop where I was to buy the high powered solid slugs for the shotgun I would have in Greenland. I had previously obtained permission from the Iceland Police Force to purchase the ammunition, supplying Passport and Firearms License details to them.



Hallgrimskirkjar Cathedral
View of Reykjavik from Hallgrimskirkjar Cathedral
Reykjavik Street Art



Hallsgrimskirkjar Cathedral at night

On the 29th August I moved my ever growing mountain of gear out to Reykjavik Domestic Airport for the flight with Air Iceland to Kulusuk, Greenland. By this time I had a large carry on pack, a backpack, a cargo bag, another cargo bag, a paddle bag, and a camera bag with 2 lens pouches. About 57 kgs altogether!
It's a relatively short flight to Greenland, just 2 hours and 740 kms so in no time at all I was looking down on the colourful but tiny settlement of Kulusuk with anticipation and excitement. It was a great feeling being back in Greenland.


Kulusuk