Category: Travel reports

Fit for the island

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…Gran Canaria
Although not the largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is probably the most diverse of all the islands that jut out of the Atlantic Ocean off the African continent and are of volcanic origin.
To the north of the main massif, thick clouds hang over time and again, bringing a lot of moisture to the rugged mountains, where all kinds of crops are grown in the countless but very fertile fields. Thanks to the fertile soil, many settlements, villages and small towns have also sprung up. Leaving the northern side, it immediately becomes drier and more barren. The huge crops on the eastern side are all irrigated far up. The western side is barren and a wild mountain landscape is repeatedly interrupted by long valleys where, thanks to intensive irrigation, many agricultural products are also grown.
In the far south are the big tourist highlights, i.e. the huge holiday resorts and holiday flats, where travellers seeking relaxation are offered everything imaginable or even impossible.
At the very top of the mountains, which reach over 1900m, one finds countless nature parks with their breathtaking hiking and traffic routes. Whole forests are being reforested at great expense and the many small villages complete the peaceful picture in the interior of Gran Canaria. Read More

Corona exile…

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…or; down south, following the sun!

Towards the end of November, the Corona variant Omikron spilled over from southern Africa to Europe and the governments became increasingly nervous in view of the upcoming festive season at the end of December. Restrictions of varying severity were imposed and Austria went into lockdown for a week. There were no negative headlines from south-western Europe and, in addition to high vaccination coverage, the current case numbers were very low. Read More

Transfer

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…via England back to Switzerland
As soon as we left Seyđisfjöđur/Iceland and the bay of the same name, the captain announced a somewhat rough sea for the crossing to Denmark. What was probably more of a light breeze for the sailors, we felt more like a storm and we soon feared great seasickness with all its side effects. Read More

Iceland…

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…a few numbers
Km travelled:                                 8’675 Km
Fuel (diesel):                                 1’210 litres
Consumption Ø:                            13,95 L/100Km
Approximate cost fuel:                  290’400 ISK = approx. sFr. 2’032.-
Altitude difference (ascent):            100’207 m (…ditto descent) Read More

At the mercy of the elements…

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….back to eastern Iceland
Iceland’s location in the middle of the Atlantic has a great influence on the weather. When the sun is shining, a storm can blow up within a few minutes and amounts of water can fall from the sky that others can only dream of. Snow can fall at any time. But the opposite can also be the case; after heavy rain, the sun can peek out from behind some peak as if nothing had happened. If a weather alarm is issued, you notice it immediately; no Icelander goes out of the house unless it is absolutely necessary; …unless the tourists are still cruising around the country! Read More

The “golden donkey”…

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…on the road in southwestern Iceland.
The south-western corner of Iceland is where most of the country’s inhabitants live, and it is probably also where the majority of visitors travel through the country. The trump card of this part of the country is almost obvious: here you can see almost everything that makes Iceland so special. Besides active volcanoes, there are glaciers, an almost uncountable number of waterfalls and landscapes as if the earth had been created a few hours ago. The Icelanders understand the golden business of tourism: everything is a bit more expensive here than in the other parts of the country and there is some kind of fee for a lot of things. But there are information boards in different languages everywhere and nothing is left to chance. It’s actually amazing what so few inhabitants do and organise for their guests. Read More

Solitude…

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….against the highlands and in the northwest (Westfjords) of Iceland.
The north coast and the Westfjords are very sparsely populated areas. Sheep and horse breeding is practised on the coastal strips and in the long valleys, and a few dairy farmers complete the picture. In the few towns on the coast, everything revolves around fishing, or what is left of all fishing. Fishing must be in deep crisis here, and a huge transformation process is leaving deep scars in the rural coastal villages. But the farmers are also feeling the effects of the drop in prices for their products and the cost gap is widening more and more to the disadvantage of the producers. In addition to many former fishing businesses, countless farms are disintegrating or about to be abandoned.
In a chance conversation with a farmer who breeds horses – Icelanders eat their horses too – he estimated that the price of his products has fallen by 40% in the last 10 years; and at the same time, expenses have risen dramatically. Many give up because of this, the next generation no longer wants to work in agriculture and migrates.
If you drive a few kilometres inland, the human settlements become fewer and fewer. The many sheep grazing somewhere in the meadows enjoy their independent summer life and are herded in by the farmers before autumn, or the first snowfall; otherwise there is – apart from a lot of nature – nothing far and wide! Read More

Fire and ice…

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…hurray, we are in Iceland

In terms of geological history, Iceland is a fairly young island, and human traces have only been found there for just over 1500 years. Today, around 350,000 inhabitants live on this island, which is about 2½ times the size of Switzerland, with most of them living in the south-western corner. Therefore, Iceland is also one of the most sparsely populated areas on earth and there are huge stretches of land where there really is not a soul to be found. The various volcanic activities, but also the drifting apart of the European and American continental plates, make us humans amazed again and again at what is going on here directly under the earth and has already caused a few surprises. Read More

Going to Iceland

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It was a bit annoying when a stomach flu put me (Tom) to bed one day before our departure. Although everything was ready, there are usually many little things that have to be done before departure that can hardly be done beforehand or have been forgotten. So in the end Chantal had to lug the heavy luggage to the jeep and stow it in it, while I lay hunched in bed hoping for a quick recovery. Since we had opted for the motorail train for the trip to Hamburg, another departure day was not possible and so we – Chantal with her lifeless husband – went on a short farewell tour. The jeep was quickly up on the transport wagon in the Lörrach goods station and I (Tom) was even more quickly horizontal in the sleeper compartment. Read More