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006 – Hvítserkur, Iceland

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Such a lovely day
When we came across a troll
A petrified one.

Of all the rock formations in Iceland that are said to have been a troll at some point, Hvítserkur is my favourite. It looks like a 15-meter tall monster rising out of the sea. Pretty awesome. We visited it on an unusually sunny day which happened to be the day of the 8th anniversary of our wedding. It was high tide when we got there so we couldn’t get closer to the rock. It was a beautiful spot nonetheless. I loved it and am glad that we found it even though its locations is a bit off the beaten path.

As we were driving out of the area, we were stopped by a young farmer who explained to us in broken English that the road was closed (in actuality, it was blocked by a tractor; it was a narrow, dirt road) because they were trying to get a flock of sheep to another pasture across the road. Three people were involved in the whole ordeal. They looked so frustrated and the flock of sheep so panicky. The whole thing lasted for about 10 minutes but I don’t think we would have minded so much if it had lasted longer because it was actually rather entertaining to watch.

So, if someone asked me how many Icelandic farmers it takes to get a flock of sheep across the road, I’d confidently say: it takes three, and a tractor.

flappy2048

If you find yesterday’s Flappy48 game too easy, I’ve got just the thing for you. It’s called Flappy 2048. It’s also a cross between Flappy Bird and 2048, but just a little bit harder, more frustrating, and not as elegant as the other game. It also requires more hand-eye coordination as your score gets exponentially higher. My high score as of this posting was 18. Try to beat that! :P

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005 – Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada

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So many black flies
That’s Gatineau Park in Spring
I despise black flies.

The photo is actually from the Mackenzie King Estate but it’s within the Gatineau Park so I’m not really cheating. The other photo I have of the park is kind of boring so this one will have to do it.

William Lyons Mackenzie King is the 10th Prime Minister of Canada. This estate was his summer home. Upon his death, he left his estate to the people of Canada. I was especially interested in all the ruins that can be found all over the estate but was somewhat disappointed to learn that the ruins were more like salvaged parts of various demolished buildings and not really ruins of buildings that used to be in the estate. It was still interesting to learn where the ruins came from. I think the arch in the picture came from a now demolished bank building.

And gosh, if you are a bug magnet like me, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT visit Gatineau Park in the springtime. The black flies will eat you alive! They are such a bunch of tiny, blood-sucking, flesh-eating jerks!

flappy48

Flappy48 is, in their own words, “[t]he ultimate flapping/exponential growth crossover you haven’t been waiting for.” It’s a cross between the games 2048 and, you guessed it, Flappy Bird. I don’t think I’ve played 2048 before but I was actually pretty good at Flappy Bird. I think my highest score was like 86 or something crazy like that. Anyway, my Flappy Bird prowess did help a lot in this game. I managed to score a whopping 48 after only a few tries. Go me!

I kind of like this game. Would play again. B+.

Update: My highest score so far: 252!

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004 – Reynisfjara, Iceland

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Weathering the storm
On a lovely, black sand beach
It could have been worse.

We arrived at Reynisfjara beach in South Iceland at the same time a bus full of tourists did. We tried to rush towards the beach to get some pictures without the horde of tourists in it but, alas, they were too fast! Then the weather changed from cloudy to cloudy with some drizzles and the wind started to pick up. Soon we found ourselves standing in the middle of a storm. We saw some pretty big waves crashing against the basalt columns this beach is famous for. A bunch of tourists took cover in a shallow cave. We just made sure we were standing far enough from the water because the waves on this beach are known to be treacherous. I heard it’s due to the fact that there is nothing between this beach and the South Pole.

Luckily the weather changed back to the way it was earlier after 5-10 minutes of stormy weather and the tourists took the opportunity to go back to the bus, except for this one guy who was busy taking close-up pictures of the rocks. I figured he must have thought we were part of the bus tour and the fact that we were still sticking around meant he was good. Just to let him know that we weren’t part of the tour, I asked my husband a little loudly (just loud enough for the tourist to overhear me) where we’re planning to drive to after this and where we’re going to have lunch. Well, dude got the hint and he started running towards the bus. Good thing the bus hadn’t left without him. Finally, we had the lovely beach all to ourselves. Win!

nerugame

The main objective of Nerugame is to stay alive for as long as you can by deciding whether to sleep or to stay awake given the circumstances. Keep in mind that it’s a Japanese game so it’s bound to be a little twisted. I made it to level 12/day 34, and then I drowned to death. Fun! How long can you stay alive?

Update: My husband and I did the game together and made it to level 26/day 50 when we died in a battlefield. Heh.

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003 – Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland, Canada

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Used to be a fjord
Now it’s just a long, long pond
But more like a lake.

We took a boat tour here and the walk to where the boat tour started was like 3 km long through a swampy land. Being a whiny hiker, I was not impressed, especially since it was a sunny day. I always get grumpy on sunny days. Fortunately, the boat tour was worth the long walk. Like I mentioned in the haiku, this “pond” used to be a fjord connected to the sea before all the glaciers melted many, many years ago. The rock walls surrounding the “pond” are about 600 m high. The waterfalls on the right-hand side of the picture is called the Pissing Mare Falls (I kid you not). It is supposed to be one of the highest waterfalls in eastern North America at 350 m. All through the boat tour, I was crossing my fingers that no boulders would break off into the “pond” because the last time it happened in the early 20th century, it caused a 30 m tsunami!

I love Newfoundland. It’s kind of like Iceland but with more trees and moose and less volcanic activities. Will definitely go back there at some point.

This song always reminds me of our trip out west seven years ago. It got played a lot on the radio at the time. The title might imply a mellow song but it’s actually a pretty upbeat and catchy tune. The chorus will become your new earworm, guaranteed. :-) Even after all these years, it’s still one of my favourite roadtrip songs.

Jeremy Fisher, who is Canadian, had a show here in town last week. Unfortunately, the show was at a fancy restaurant and we didn’t really feel like blowing even more money after my birthday extravaganza at Niagara Falls so we had to give it a miss. Maybe next time.

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002 – Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada

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Bear Lake, Peyto Lake,
Call it whatever you want;
I almost died there.

So I exaggerated a bit there. It’s just that I was tired and I’ve never been a strong hiker to start with. The information board said it was an easy walk to the lookout so I thought I’d do it. Except it wasn’t really an easy walk. It was a bit of a climb. I wasn’t prepared for it so I was grumpy and I felt like dying halfway through the walk. The people coming from the other way, seeing how close I was to dying, cheered me on and told me that the view was worth the climb. I guess it was enough to keep me going. I made it to the lookout and live to tell you the story and show you one of the pictures I took.

We will be back in the proximity of the lake in a little over a month. Kind of tempted to go back there just to see if I’ve become a less whiny hiker now than I was then, seven years ago. Somehow I doubt it.

I thought being in this highly specialized museum would feel super awkward, but it wasn’t really. At least not until a group of ladies started to (over)share their first sexual experiences for everyone to hear. Of course they had to congregate right by the only human penis specimen in this museum, which unfortunately looked really sad and shriveled.

The video is a trailer for a documentary about the, uh, phallologist’s search for a human penis for the museum collection (likely that sad specimen we saw). I think the museum shown in the video is the one at the old location in Husavik, which is now home to The Exploration Museum. The current location is in Reykjavik, in the less busy part of Reykjavik’s busiest and most touristy street, Laugavegur.

You should consider a visit to the museum if you ever find yourself in Reykjavik. If anything, it makes for a good travel story. While you’re there, be sure to check out the elf’s penis (magically invisible), merman’s penis (kind of looks like a badly-painted piece of styrofoam) and the ghost penis (surprisingly big and visible). The whale penis collection is pretty interesting, too.