Meet the only tourist in Iceland: Peter Taylor! Over to you Peter…
“Do you remember, the very first time in September? The 1st to be exact. The day I sailed into Iceland after a magnificent adventure sailing journey from Svalbard in the Arctic to Greenland then onwards to Iceland.
The 1st of September is also the day, my next destination, Hungary, closed its borders to foreigners thanks to this Covid thing that has been THE event of 2020. Being a Kiwi, this meant I was a little stuck, flightless…
So, what does one do? Well, being an IMOL, “International Man of Leisure”, and now, the only tourist in Iceland, one rents a camper van and checks the place out, as you do. For two weeks I cruised around this beautiful little country in an equally little tiny van, alone at most of the magnificent sites such as the famous Dettifoss and Gullfoss Waterfalls, alone, yes, alone, at least for 15 minutes in the Blue Lagoon, and rocking up to a whale tour in Husavík, 1 hour before it was due to depart on a perfect day, and getting a place on a boat. The list goes on. I also managed to work out that the Walter Mitty movie was not filmed in Greenland, Nuuk Airport was actually in Höfn, and there is no volcano close to where he skateboarded to safety, and there is no Karaoke bar serving beers in glass boots by a coastal helipad. That scene was also shot in Iceland at a charming fishing port called Stykkishólmur.
Back to Reykjavík having done the perimeter sortie of the country another week was spent pondering what to do next awaiting news of borders opening. Alas, border restrictions extended for another month, WTF…, and Reykjavík going into a tighter lockdown. What to do next then?
This is where Midgard came to the rescue. I was connected to Addi and Stefan who offered me the chance to stay at their Midgard Base Camp in Hvolsvöllur in Southern Iceland and take me in as a covid refugee. A couple of hours from Reykjavík and in the middle of a lot of the great spots in Iceland.
So here I am 3 weeks later. Waking up to the sight of Eyjafjallajökull every morning is a fantastic way to start one’s day, with a fresh warm cup of coffee. That’s the volcano that disrupted the world of travel back in 2011 slightly less than covid has today…
The place is fully connected, so, thanks again to Covid I have become a digital nomad at 53 years of age, as an executive for a fire safety company in London I have been able to continue my work more or less unimpeded.
Afternoons, when I tend to be a little more free I get out to endless options, be them a super jeep trip to the highlands, Þórsmörk, a 4×4 drive through lava fields to wonderful layers of colours in Landmannalaugar, along the coast to the Glacier Lagoon, fat biking along a nearby river, even having a wonderful game meal at a top rated resort that’s restaurant still happens to be open for the one or two people who decide to go there for a night, many little geothermal hot pools, the sights of the Golden Circle, glaciers, geysers shooting skywards, even fresh tomato soup from a geothermal greenhouse near Flúðir. A trip to the Westmann Islands is a stone throw away for more volcanoes and the ability to sight Beluga Whales. I have even gone snorkelling between the European and American continental plates at a place called Sifra in a tropical two degrees of fresh glacial feed water – unlike the Belugas however I required a dry suit for this Navy Seal type of escapade.
Did I mention that I also have my own outdoor sauna and spa pool at Midgard looking at the volcano, also the Northern Lights when they decide to come out to play?Midgard means “Middle Enclosure”, perfect, me thinks in a Covid world, so, in these days of never ending lockdowns, rising cases, working from home, why not take the opportunity to live life as a daily adventure at Midgard and use the facilities and hospitality that Addi and Stefan have kindly extended to me…?”