Takk Fyrir, Ísland

4:15 am. Wake up.4:43 am. Out the door. 5:16 am. Shuttle to Keflavik international airport. 8:05 am. Liftoff to the south and east and destination two: Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

There are obviously very many things we didn't do in Ísland, but what we did do certainly gave us reason enough to feel that we not only got to see the country a bit, but we also got to know it.

You might have noticed that we've uploaded a lot of pictures that you can get to over in the right column. In there are some from:

- Hiking Mt. Esja, the main ridge/range across the water that looks over Reykjavík and the surrounding area. We only made it to checkpoint four (of six) before turning around in order to catch the bus back to town, but from the very start it was apparent that hiking in Ísland is slightly different than in the States in that the trail starts and it just goes up. No signs saying how difficult it may or may not be...just up. We were hoping to go back another day (earlier) to get to the top but ran out of days. Next time!

- A trip to Þorsmörk on the south coast, a wildlife preserve that nestles into three glaciers, if my memory serves. One of these is on Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that blew last year, and one is on Hekla, which is "the one they're really worried about," due to the amunt of flooding it would cause with glacial melt. After our picnic lunch we hiked up a ridge on paths with dropoffs that made us question whether or not they were actually the continuation of the trail and at the top got confronted (well, Casey did) by a Norwegian woman who was more than eager to chat. She was also at least 75 years old. Apparently Norway has something in the water?

- A coffee shop that all others I visit will now be judged by.

- The 10:40 pm sunset that we managed to catch three nights in a row as it little up the entire sky and surronding mountains and backlit the gulls as they reached their evening feeding time. If we were here just a couple weeks from now we would've gotten to experience the 24 hr. sunlight.

We owe a big thanks to our couch surfing hosts, James and Audra, who included us on a dinner party with some friends of theirs (Kári, Helga, Gunnar, Vala and her daughter Járngerður [whose full name translates to Iron Maiden, daughter of the thunder of Thor - beat that!]), allowing us to step into local culture a little further. Audra also made one of the best cakes I've had in recent memory: pear almond.

We also owe a mini shout to Kjartan, the fisherman from the Vestmannaeyjar islands, who we met at the hostel our second night and who I can be seen "arm wrestling with", though it was him who said it doesn't matter who wins.

Location:Manchester, UK