12 October 2009

gale force arrival

On Friday I was due to fly back to Iceland but had heard from several people that the weather was not supposed to be particularly friendly, so when I landed in Oslo I started checking the airline website. Everything was cancelled going in or out of the domestic airport, but as far as I could determine there was no disruption whatsoever in the international arrivals.

So off we went and just before landing the pilots said that there were "strong easterly winds" so things might be just a bit bumpy. That's how the Icelandic pilots describe the gale force winds that were sweeping over most of the country, strongest in the south (where the airport is so conveniently located). Oddly, the landing was almost totally normal- a bit bumpy but none of the stomach-dropping quick descents, and the only chaos from passengers was the drunken Norwegians in the bag getting squiffy.

All well and good until the drive from the airport. The road is notoriously exposed, winding along the sea through completely treeless moors, at the mercy of both the howling winds from the highlands (in excellent form that day) and the roar from the ocean (also kicking up at times). It's also just winding enough that it's hard to keep a consistent grip on which way you're headed when there's wind.

I've never driven in weather like this- it was a constant calculation to figure out how to compensate for the roar which was hell-bent on sweeping me, the car, and everything else around me directly into the sea. In the few places where a hummock sheltered me, or when passing the many cars stopped alongside the road, the sudden letup of wind caused a momentary swerve in the opposite direction. In spite of all this I did manage to admire the effect of all this exciting weather- the mountains to the right glowered beneath a fresh coat of wet snow and low hanging clouds, and off to the left, the sea was heaped high and frosted with white that sparkled in the sun. At the juncture of the two, a massive rainbow hovered over Bessastaðir. Welcome to Iceland.


Professor Batty said...

Once again, I've managed to dodge a bullet. This is the fourth time I've been here, and the weather has been good to excellent at all times... I know I've just jinxed myself by saying that...

Alcan said...

No more McDonald's? The "crisis" continues?