27 May 2013

FanFest 2013: Wednesday

Um, well so much for my plan to write up Fanfest in a week... There's a lot of stuff happening in-game just now that I'll try and write about later. For now let's get on with the story of my Iceland adventure.

After waking from not enough sleep I got myself ready and fed then headed off to the Harpa conference centre. There was a bit of a shock as I went outside and discovered it was snowing. This is what I had hoped for in Iceland so I wasn't too unhappy with this turn of events. After a thirty minute walk I met with some corp mates and we all piled onto bus number one. I'll probably remember that was the bus number forever as it was repeated many, many times by the guide. After a rapidly abandoned attempt to check our tickets the bus set off.

Our first stop was to be Þingvellir, a rift-valley where the original Icelandic parliament used to meet for two weeks each summer. It is also one of only two places in the world where you can walk between two continental plates as all other such gaps are underwater. We were told that this is a lovely place to come camping in summer with temperatures reaching as high as 20-30°C but it was hard to imagine that in the snow and wind. The scenery was beautiful thought and I would love to go back there in summer with a tent and try the camping.
America to the left, Europe to the right (or is it the other way around?)

Leaving Þingvellir we got back on our bus and headed for a long drive to the Gulfoss waterfall. On the way we were told a wonderful story about the rescue of this gorgeous waterfall from being used to generate electricity - something that would have ruined the beauty of the area. Gulfoss was first saved by Tómas Tómasson and then by his daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir. His daughter even went to the extreme lengths of threatening to throw herself into the falls. Thankfully she didn't have to go that far to save this picturesque spot in Iceland. We didn't really have enough time to visit the waterfall and enjoy lunch. Choosing to visit the waterfall first left us with about four minutes to eat. Another corp mate promised to web and scram the bus to give us a bit longer.
Gulfoss waterfall

Our final stop, Geysir, was only a short hop away and as you can possibly tell from its name is where all other geysers are named for. There is something odd about walking around in the cold with patches of snow on the ground while watching boiling water bubble away naturally in holes in the ground. I previously saw a cold geyser in Germany but that was just a piddly little thing compared to these giant erupting pools of sulphurous water. There is something rather compelling to standing around waiting for hot water to fling itself into the air in a gush of water, steam, and sulphur pong. There is also something rather eerie about being in a landscape with all the steam drifting around. I think the eeriness would have been wonderfully enhanced had I not been surrounded by hundreds of other people.
Did you bring any teabags?

That night a number of us had tickets to go see the Iceland Symphony Orchestra playing songs from EVE. After grabbing some noodle soup not to far from Harpa we headed back for the performance. I was happy to find our seats were almost right at the front of a very packed theatre. It seemed to take ages before the orchestra were ready, everyone quietened down, and we waited. The big surprise for me was watching the conductor shuffle to his position whilst also playing a didgeridoo. The whole event was magical. A large screen behind the orchestra was showing footage from various EVE promo videos and the orchestra played maybe nine tunes from the game. Most of them I recognised but a couple were not so familiar. It's been a long time since I last turned the music up in EVE. Maybe I should start turning it up again when I'm doing solo stuff.

After heading off for a couple of drinks the icing on the Iceland cake came in the form of getting to take pictures of the Aurora Borealis - the Northern Lights. We just on-spec headed down a pier at the harbour to get some black sky between us and where the Aurora should appear. We were almost about to give up and head back to our hotels when a green ribbon appeared in the sky. Cue furious long-exposure photography without a tripod. I suspect there may be a couple of humerous pictures of me sprawled flat on the ground propping my camera against rocks and anything else I could find. After leaving everyone it took ages for me to get back to my hotel as the display lasted over an hour and I kept finding new places to stop and take more pictures.
Beautiful Aurora Borealis

What a magical end to the perfect day of sightseeing around Iceland.


  1. only a few weeks delayed!!

  2. Was that Fanfest 2012 or 2013 ;-)

    Gorgeous pic from the Aurora Borealis...