Wow, been back for two days, trying to unpack, sort mail, collating pictures, making peace with the puppy dog who’s pissed that we left her behind, again, all while still waking up at 3am every night which is about 8am Iceland time.

So how was the trip? Well, I’m gonna tell you. The next week is going to be All Iceland! All the Time! This ought to cover the multitude of emails asking for all the gory, dirty details.

Let’s get to it:

A little over a year ago, Sailor Man woke me up in the middle of the night with the question: Wanna got to Iceland? I replied I did and we went back to sleep. Iceland comes to you that way, it’s out there, it’s interesting, it always seem like such a cool place to visit, but you don’t actively plan it until you just, you know, do.

And there’s tons of information out there: The Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide travel books, Iceland Air (the national airline) has an amazing website with packages and links to all sorts of information, and if you are into a certain kind of trip, there’s a lot of specialized resources out there as well.

Last time we opted for the Iceland Air packages mostly because in the winter they are cheap, they are meticulously planned, and they basically take all the thinking out of the trip if that’s what you want. Last time, we visited a national park (which was great because we were the only two on the trip and had the place to ourselves), we went horseback riding (which sucks if you have a stress fracture in your lower lumbar, which I did), and of course, The Blue Lagoon thermal spa (which rocks if you have a stress fracture in your lower lumbar), and all the museums one can fit on your plate.

That kind of trip was nice, don’t get me wrong, but upon arrival and two minutes outside of the airport we were already planning our next trip . Hence, the sequel, this trip, The Re-visitation if you will.

Since deciding to return to Iceland six weeks ago, Sailor Man and I performed a tremendous amount of research. As I have written before, Sailor Man has extensively read the Icelandic Sagas, which are are medieval literature of the Icelandic people’s settlement and early history on the island. They were passed down orally from the 9th century, written down in the 13th century after a written language form was adopted, and while not exactly accurate due to their supernatural nature, they do reflect real people, real events, in real places throughout the island. Sailor Man had it in his mind to to visit the west of Iceland were we could see both another national park and numerous saga sites as well. So we planned our trip around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, northwest of Reykjavik, the country’s capital.

Practical considerations: it’s Iceland in the winter. While our visit in January of 2007 was marked with temperatures from 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit (yeah, I know, Iceland, who knew?), you can’t count on that kind of weather all the time, this means a lot of layers, and thermal clothing. Also, Icelanders are a damn stylish people, so if you are going to be out and about in civilized society, it’s best to bring some nice clothes. Seriously, it’s February, 20 degrees outside, and Icelandic women of all ages are sporting miniskirts, tights, and boots, and looking faaaaaabulous. The color black seems to be de riguer for both men and women, and the gents certainly do enjoy their well-cut suits and tweed both in the city and out in the middle of nowhere, thus proving you don’t have to dress like a shlump to survive the climate.

A word for the ladies: let’s talk some hair. While Iceland has some of purest water in the world, it does have a high mineral content, so don’t count on your hair behaving as it normally does. Your hair will go native on you and you must be prepared. Pack all your usual instruments of destruction with the appropriate voltage adapter and converter. And even with such electrical adaptation, count on your hairdryer complaining loudly and your flat iron going on strike. Luckily, I solved the problem by using hotel hairdryers when possible and buying a cheap flat iron in country. I swear to Dog, if people on this planet are serious about world peace, they should start on the issue by getting every country on the same voltage.

As Sailor man and I currently reside in the backwater known as Erie, Pennsylvania, getting a direct flight is simply not possible. Last time drove to Buffalo, flew to Boston and then flew to Iceland, however, this required two separate airlines which is not advisable due to Boston Logan Airport being hell on earth which could mean delays and you being SOL in Bean Town. We opted for the same route through US Air which meant at least our luggage went all the way through even though we ourselves would be doing multiple visits to security.

Our flight to Iceland left at 8pm. This is the usual flight time per Iceland Air and it means you will be arriving at 6am local time. Most hotels will take you in that early, but I do advise you get some sleep on the plane. However, the night we flew out was the night of the full lunar eclipse. As we were on the right side of the plane, I witnessed my first-ever eclipse. Sailor Man and I took turns contorting ourselves into positions suitable to look out and up through the plane windows to witness the event. And though I had the worst case of whip-lash for my efforts during the rest of the trip, I can not complain.

Arriving in Iceland during a lunar eclipse had to be auspicious for all sorts of ridiculous shenanigans to be had. And it was.

Next Chapter: An American Hick in Reykjavik