Sunday, May 10, 2015

Base-layers and Bikinis

I am currently preparing from my trip to Iceland. Yes, I am leaving nice warm weather to go back to cold, wet and possibly snow. (It has been snowing in Akureyri, Iceland off and on for the past few weeks.) The normal average temperature for this time of year is mid-40s to low 50s; however, it looks like it has been more around the mid-30s and low 40s.   Therefore, it has been interesting figuring out what to pack. In addition, I will have about 20 hours of daylight, twilight for 4 hours and no darkness/night. 

The guidebook and travel documents from the tour company both have a list of items to pack for all seasons in Iceland. This list includes items such as a hat, gloves, coat, raincoat, a base layer, swimsuit, quick drying towel, first aid kit, sleep mask, and good walking/hiking shoes.  Yes, you read that correctly no matter the season you should pack a hat, gloves, coat and a swimsuit.  If you are wondering, why one must take a swimsuit, it is because Iceland has a ton of geothermal pools, since it basically sits on top of a volcano.  Thus, there are a bunch of geothermal indoor and outdoor pools and spas that operate year round.  So, I will be packing my hat, gloves, coat and bikini. 

The other interesting item about this trip is we are going old school, by that I mean we will be using a paper map to navigate around the island. You read that correctly a paper map with a highlighted route, similar to the old AAA trip ticks.  While we will have GPS and a cell phone (our own and one provided by the tour company) they may route you on something that is not a road, so an actual map is important. In addition, Iceland has something called ‘F’ roads, which basically are official gravel/dirt roads that require you to have all-wheel or a four-wheel drive vehicle. We are going to have fun driving and navigating.

The final item I am struggling with is weather or not I should rent a fish eye lens. Most of the pictures are going to landscapes and geologic features.  The wildlife will be limited to birds, seals, Icelandic ponies, and possibly a fox or a whale.  My 18 -200 mm lens should handle this just fine but it might be nice to get some extra wide shots of the landscapes at 8 mm, which is pretty close to 180 degrees of view.  I did have a fisheye with me in Germany last year but I did not use it that much, I think mostly because I forgot about it.  Also, the pictures I did take with it were nice but I am not sure it was worth it.  So that is why I am torn between taking a fisheye or just working with my standard 18 – 200mm lens.

Overall, I am finding this is one of the more difficult trips to prepare for, due to the wacky weather and overall rusticness of the country.  

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