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8 Good Reasons to Visit Iceland in Mid- to Late May

If you’re considering a road trip around Iceland, please take me with you I’m going to try to convince you into doing it in mid- to late May instead of any other time. Why? Because I think we picked the perfect time to go! We had such a great time seeing the country at this particular time of year and I’d like you to experience the same. :-)

Before we continue, I should probably let you know the kind of travellers we are. We are budget travellers for sure but we are not the backpacking or even the camping type. Our backs prefer not to carry anything heavy for prolonged amount of time and we like to lay our backs on a soft, warm bed at the end of the day. We’re getting old! We also enjoy a good amount of privacy during our travels. That said, on with the list!
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4-Tea-C: My Own Tea-based B&W Film Developer Recipe

I’ve seen a rising interest on my tea developer post lately and realized that I never did post my recipe here. It has been a while since I actually developed a roll of film with it but this recipe worked when I did use it. Your mileage may vary.

Ingredients (to make 500ml):

  • 2 tea bags of each Red Rose orange pekoe, Tetley’s pure green tea, Tetley’s pure peppermint tea, and Tetley’s pomegranate green tea (8 tea bags in total)
  • 2 teaspoons of washing soda (I used ARM & HAMMER® Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster)
  • 1000mg vitamin C (I used “King of Spice” brand Ascorbic Acid from Bulk Barn)
  • water

Mixing:

  • Put 300ml of water in a saucepan, throw in all the tea bags, bring to boil.
  • Once boiling, turn off the stove and let steep for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer to a measuring cup to see how much tea solution you got. I got 200ml after squeezing every drop from the tea bags.
  • Mix the vitamin C with the tea mixture. (In retrospect, mixing it with the washing soda solution would probably be a better idea since mixing it with the tea mixture creates a lot of froth.)
  • Mix washing soda with water to create 300ml solution or adjust according to the amount of tea solution you got in order to have a total of 500ml.
  • Mix the tea-c and washing soda solutions together.
  • As for the temperature, I didn’t check but pretty sure it was room temperature, i.e. 20 degrees. (I know. Very scientific indeed. *sarcasm*)


Developing:

I read somewhere that developing with tea takes longer than with coffee but I wasn’t exactly sure how long I should do the development for, so I decided to do a semi-stand development for 2 hours, just to be safe.

Basically what I did was, I poured the developer into the tank with the film in it, did 10x inversion, put it on the kitchen counter and then went grocery shopping. Got home an hour later, did another 10x inversions, and then another one before I poured the developer out of the tank at the end of the two hours.

Wash, fix with your favourite fixer (don’t skip this!), wash, hang to dry!

Hope that makes sense! Would love to see the results if you decided to try it out.

fisgard

020 – Fisgard Lighthouse, British Columbia, Canada

Of all the lighthouses I’ve ever visited, Fisgard Lighthouse in British Columbia is my most favourite one to date. When I think of a lighthouse I would like to live in, an image of this lighthouse would appear in my mind. There is something very appealing and, dare I say, very romantic about it.

Historically, Fisgard Lighthouse is the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. It was built in 1860 on Fisgard Island out of materials shipped from Britain. In 1950-51, a causeway was built out to Fisgard Island from the shore of Vancouver Island at Fort Rodd Hill by the Canadian Army.

We saw a deer at the parking lot of Fort Rodd Hill! You have to walk through the fortress to get to the lighthouse. The fortress was also pretty interesting. We learned a bit more about Canadian history there. It was a lovely spot that seemed to be under-appreciated, but maybe it was only because we were there on a week day.

Stormy weather in West Iceland.

Iceland Road Conditions and Weather Information

So you have a road trip around Iceland coming up but you’re not quite sure what the road conditions and the weather will be like (the weather part will also determine whether you need to pack your winter coat or not). The following websites are your friends and they will show you just what you need to know. We found them very useful during our visit.

Road Conditions

For road conditions, make sure you bookmark Vegagerdin (Icelandic Department of Transportation) website. This clickable road condition map is essential. Don’t hit the road before consulting it first. If that’s not enough and you need to know what road conditions are like in (almost) real-time, there are road web cams, ready for your perusal.

Weather

For weather forecast, Vedur (Icelandic Met Office) website is the one to bookmark. It has a clickable map of Iceland with a 6-day forecast. It even has a map with weather for areas around popular tourist attractions. Very handy! Tip: For something different, scroll down the page and play the sound file of an Icelandic person reading the weather forecast in English. Icelandic accent is adorable. :-)

Another website you might want to bookmark is Live from Iceland. It has live streaming webcams from various attractions in South Iceland, including Reykjavik. My husband loves watching the one of Geysir (I’d recommend waiting a bit until you see the one geyser called Strokkur erupt — it won’t be long). I love the Jökulsárlón one. Anyway, you can see what the weather’s like at those places in real time and even can arrange to have someone at home watch you have a blast through the webcams!

I hope someone will find this post useful. Have fun in Iceland!

niagara

019 – Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Rebecca and I had been online friends for, like, ever. As in more than 10 years. Maybe 13 years? She lives in Australia. She went to Canada several years ago but was in the wrong part of the country so we didn’t get to meet. She was finally in the right part of the country last year in October so I made a point to meet up with her. Even booked a hotel room so we could spend as much time as we could.

It was dark out when we finally met, but I would recognize her anywhere, what with her blue hair and all. When I saw her, she was taking pictures of the falls. I tapped her back and an awkward moment ensued. But then we hugged, had our picture taken by my husband, and it wasn’t so awkward anymore. We had dinner together that night.

The next day, first thing in the morning, the four us (Rebecca, her friend Grace, my husband, and I) headed down to the Niagara River to take a voyage under the falls on the Maid of the Mist. The Maid of the Mist boat tour was one of the items on my bucket list so I was super excited about being able to finally scratch it off the list, and even more so when I learned that we would be on one of the last voyages of the iconic Maid of the Mist from the Canadian side. They’re replacing it with a modern catamaran-type boat this year and you’ll only be able to take the Maid of the Mist from the American side.

The boat tour was just as amazing as I’d imagined it to be. I was expecting it to be a little bit scary, but it wasn’t at all. But even with a raincoat on, I still got soaked from the mist. I was a little worried that the mist would kill my camera because I just couldn’t stop taking pictures and videos of the falls, but surprisingly it survived! The picture above was taken from the boat. I have many other, better pictures of the falls but I just had to post this one just for the fact that it was taken from the Maid of the Mist. It was such a great experience and I’m so glad that I got to scratch something off my bucket list with my old pal Rebecca!

Picks of the Web for May 13, 2014

seljalandfoss

018 – Seljalandfoss, Iceland

We went to Seljalandfoss before taking a ferry to Heimaey in the Westman Islands/Vestmannaeyjar in the morning. We got there before tour buses from Reykjavik started to arrive, which was a plus because we had the falls all to ourselves. The minus was we couldn’t spend a lot of time there because we had a ferry to catch. I also didn’t want my clothes to be all wet and my boots all muddy on the ferry ride so I didn’t do the walk behind the falls. My husband did, though. But then again, he’s always been more adventurous than me. Seljalandfoss is lovely and all but it’s not really one of my favourites in Iceland.

I was unable to take pictures of so many Icelandic attractions in all their glory due to the lack of wide-angle lens (the widest I could get with my micro 4/3 camera was around 40mm) and it was quite frustrating for me at times. For those going to Iceland, if you own a wide-angle lens, don’t forget to pack it. If you don’t own one, buy or borrow one from someone! You won’t regret it. The next time we go there, I am so taking my DSLR with an ultra-wide angle lens. Sure it would be heavier to carry but it’s not like we’ll have to go on a long hike or anything. Most Iceland attractions are located right by the side of the road! Just one of the reasons I love Iceland, being a wimpy hiker and all. :-)

Metric – Calculation Theme

I couldn’t decide which music video to post today because there are so many songs I love that I would like to share, it’s so hard to choose from, so I made this rule: when in doubt, post something by a Canadian artist. Metric it is then!

“Calculation Theme” is probably our most favourite song by Metric. It’s from their first full album, “Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?” (2003). There’s something haunting about this song, and not just because of the ghosts.

“Tonight, your ghost will ask my ghost, who put these bodies between us?”

Picks of the Web for May 12, 2014

stlunaire

017 – St. Lunaire-Griquet, Newfoundland, Canada

St. Lunaire-Griquet is a town near the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. I took a picture of this little iceberg when we were on our way up to L’Anse aux Meadows, an ancient Viking settlement. Though it might seem little, you’ll never know how big it is actualy underneath. Such is the thing with icebergs. This iceberg was not the only iceberg we saw while we were in Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. There were at least half a dozen more in different shapes and sizes. The Northern Peninsula is part of the so-called Iceberg Alley. It’s more fun than a tornado alley for sure.

On our way back from L’Anse aux Meadows, we went to have lunch here at the Daily Catch restaurant. They served the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. I could tell that the fish was fresh. St. Lunaire-Griquet is an old fishing community after all. The lady who served us brought us our drinks and mentioned that it was not just ice in our drinks but pieces of iceberg. We thought she was joking so we laughed, but then she went back to the kitchen and came back with a plastic bag containing a big chunk of iceberg for us to take a look. She said her husband just brought it back from the sea this morning. So it wasn’t a joke.

When I put a tiny piece of iceberg in my mouth to melt, it didn’t melt very quickly. I’m guessing it was because iceberg is much denser than regular ice. Come to think of it, I might have had some microbes from hundreds of years ago in my body, thanks to those pieces of iceberg in my iced tea!

Picks of the Web for May 9, 2014