Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Summer in town!

Gosh, being in Holland is good for your tan!
Time to think of other things then Iceland for a sec :)
Been bouldering in Rotterdam today and had great fun and sore fingertips in the end!
Dennis and me went to "Blok op Zuid" an artificial bloc that looks quite real. There is a whole topo and design idea with the bloc.

Blok op Zuid Bouldering from Marianne van der Steen on Vimeo.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weird: Back in Holland

Strange to be here again. Back in Holland.
From harsh winter weather in Seydisfjordur to mild Spring/Summer weather in Holland today. From being in Icelandic culture, talking Icelandic, eating Icelandic to Dutch again. It's strange, a pity, weird, good, all at the same time, to leave behind what I've been working on for 2,5 years...

I drove straight from my arrival in Esjberg (Denmark) back to Holland. On the way I had two very nice hitchhikers which I dropped at Hannover (thanks for the pie!)

After all the twisting and slipping on the road to Seydisfjeordur, my car was trembly and I was worried that my tyre would fall off or something. But 865km to Muiden and it was all fine. It probably just had to be balanced again or something.

It, means my van. I've been thinking of a name. Þorkell sounds funny, as nobody in mainland Europe can pronounce the name. Or Stjáni blái, the Icelandic name for Popeye. As my car is blue (blái) big and strong, I thought it would fit.

The trip on the ferry is extremely boring, as expected. I was happy having my cycle tour in the Faraoe Islands and the possibility of fitness and swimming on the ferry.

On the way home I got only stopped once. The police had to figure my numberplate and couldn't place it.
I was very jokey and told them it was probably a hard game figuring the origin of my numberplate.
I forgot to write on my car:

Bankroet ehf (efh=Icelandic for the Dutch 'bv') (bankroet=bankrupt, but roet=ash)
Waarde(loos) transport (value 'less' transport)

I'm thinking of making a big sticker for on the window. Nobody will get the joke though, only when they recognise the numberplate.

Now I'll have to start building up my things again here in Holland. Finding myself a place to live, friends to climb with, finish my studies, find a job...

This is my tick-list for now:
- change car into official campervan
- get the tyres balanced again
- get through Dutch MOT.
- get Dutch numberplates
- start paying Dutch car tax/insurance
- write/finish my studies (takes more then a month I guess)
- get fit in climbing again (train 5x a week)
- get myself a job (IRATA)
- have enough money to go to Iceland for a visit
- go to Berdorf, Ettringen, Freyr, Frankenura...and go to the Alps this Summer!
- learn to dance Salsa
- clean up the mess in my room (sorry mum, I'll really clean it up...)
- become rich ;)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Yesterday at 9 Faraoe-time (8 Icelandic time) I left Iceland.
Scary, funny, exciting, weird, sad, good, double...
I stared at the cliffs until they disappeared in the darkness. All that was left was a big sea with big waves.

And now, after a 17 hour sailing (no sails on this boat though) I arrived in the Faraoe Islands (=part of Denmark) I didn't get seasick but it's weird to do fitness on a boat, to eat yogurt (half went on my trousers) and to sleep like you're in a big hammock.

With around a 1000 people in once we invaded the little town of Tørshavn, Thórshafn, or Tórshavn, still not sure of the right spelling...

And soon I'll get on my bike and cycle around the island (really, it's so tiny that I can cycle around)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Het altijd gezellige...Seydisfjordur

Monday evening I arrived in Seydisfjordur after a very interesting slippery drive.

Yesterday I spent the whole day doing...nothing... It's surprising how little a town can offer. One supermarket, two wool shops and some shop that said it sells medicines but actually sells make-up. No horseriding (I planned to go horseback riding), no cinema, no museum, no...nothing.

So I went for a long walk and spotted amazing cliffs and ice. Perfect short dry/mixed routes and longer ice lines. I know I'm not the first to climb here (if I would have find any belaybitch), Gummi and his friend have been here before (see their report on climbing.is)

I asked all around town if they knew any iceclimbers. Went to the fire brigade, rescue services, supermarket, school, youth hostel, some restaurants (only open in weekends...), asked some fishermen. But no, no iceclimbers in this town. Skiing then, horseback riding, walking, no....nothing.

It was very tempting just to take my axes and go somewhere on my own, but, knowing that there are no iceclimbers here I guessed nobody would know how to save me if anything would happen...

So I went cycling instead, bought some wool to knit a pair of socks and had as a mission to get free internet out of my car (here it is:)

Today same crappy weather, even worse (more snow) and nothing to do.

Any suggestions? (Yes, already been reading, writing, knitting, sleeping, cleaning, calling, chatting)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trip to Seydisfjordur

Two days on the road with only bad internet connections. So no new post the last days.
The trips has been more and more scary. Not only because of the idea that I'll leave Iceland, but also because of the slippery roads.
All started well with a good road to Myvatn from Akureyri. When I arrived in Akureyri it was -8 in the sun and freezing cold in the night.
For breakfast I had frozen bread with frozen butter and frozen banana. The gas hardly worked because of the cold, so I drank frozen water (impossible...).
And I went for a swim! In the natural hot spring in Myvatn (yes, the secret one, I'm not going to tell you where to find it)
Yesterday I drove on to Egilsstadir and later also to Seydisfjordur.
I thought, I could still make my decision of staying in Iceland when I would arrive in Seydisfjordur, but...the road down was so bad that I really think I can't get back to Egilsstadir for the next days!
On the highlands to Egilsstadir to Myvatn (180km) I slipped and almost went off the road! Just because the wind grabbed the car on the icy road. The road to Seydisfjordur was 10 times worse: 10-15% steep hills, bends, wind and a road that looked more like an ice-skating rink then a real road.
So I slipped again, almost went off the road a couple times, and at the fourth time almost going off, I gave up driving... I stopped some Icelanders who were on the same road down and asked what I could do. One of the men offered to drive the car down. I didn't trust it for a bit, but took the chance. He also slipped a couple times, twisted two times a couple circles and got the car down in Seydisfjordur.
So tip number 1 for when you get to Iceland in winter times (which is now) : get nailed
(I mean...get nailed tyres on your car..)
Now in Seydisfjordur, I'm extremely bored and hope to get something to do soon. Something like knitting (been reading all day already).
To make it all a bit worse: loads of amazing ice here. Really, perfect conditions and...nobody to climb with! I don't get it: a country full of ice and hardly any iceclimbers.
The pictures I took on the way...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More changes

OK. After breaking up with Valdimar, loads of things changed.

Last night, after Örvar's birthday (Beautiful black hair Örvar!) party, I decided I should get on...

The main thing is, that I'm now driving up North and will try to catch the boat. I'm still doubting if I really should get out of Iceland now or not. Should I suddenly leave behind all these things I'd been working for for years?
It feels weird but every hour and day I'm getting more 'relieve' and energy again to move on an make a plan of what I'm going to do next.

One of the main things playing in my head, is my studies. I really think now I should finish what I'm doing, more then ever I'm motivated to lock myself up in a box and write what I have to write for my studies.

But now first getting further up North into the cold.
Hopefully I find somebody to climb with, preferably ice! But rock or boulders are ok as well :)
And then see tomorrow if I can catch the boat or not!

It's scary and lonely to drive all the way (more then 800km) on my own through no-mans-land, but it's also beautiful to see the country again...

These pictures I took today on the way to Akureyri.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cold in volcano country

I've had calls, texts, e-mails and more about "how's Iceland?" these days...
Well, I have to say: loads of stuck tourists in Reykjavik and for the rest nothing special.
I can't even get close to the eruption area, so no need of driving there to take pictures. In Reykjavik you read about the whole thing in the papers, listen the radio and watch tv (if you have one). The picture above I took this morning. The direction is the direction of the erupting volcano...as you see...nothing special in the sky.
But it feels like 'there is an big flood in Southern France and all Americans thing the Dutch will need first aid as well'.

Though, there is a serious chance of the bigger volcano going off as well, Katla (Myrdalsjokull) and Eyjafjallajokull are connected underground.
And if something happens there, there won't be any fights going on for a longer time then just a couple days and if the wind direction changes we'd also ge
t serious ash in Reykjavik. (Don's send us ash, we asked for ca$h!)

Meanwhile I'm being homeless and sleep in my van.
Last night it was quite cold, -8 I measured on my watch. In the morning in the sun my watched measured only 3 degrees...inside the van...

But crazy Icelandic culture I'm taking over; I ate an ice cream with hot caramel sauce.
Even when it's minus 20 (degrees Celcius) the Icelanders keep on eating their ice cream. Sometimes in the evenings there are big rows outside of the shops. When they have their ice cream they sit in
cars with running engines and eat their 'gamla is i boxi med luxus dyfu' or whatever.

By the way, it's: ey-jah-fjat-lah-joe-kul (in Dutch)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day three in Iceland

As you see, I'm a bit bored. I have so much time, that I can make whole video's about Iceland and write this message.
I'd like to go out climbing but there's simply no Icelander fun enough got get climbing with me today/tomorrow/sunday/monday...
So here I am in a country with a volcanic eruption of which I don't know how it's going to end, no work and no real climbing.
So...I made another little movie about my views on Iceland.
This time a bit about cars and roads.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Great view!

Gosh, loads of things going on these days.

I'm back in Iceland and just got to hear that I can't even get back to Holland now, as they stopped flying due to the big eruption on Eyjafjallajokull (see Morgunbladid in Engish)...

Meanwhile I broke up with my boyfriend (yes I did...) and try to get some climbing here.

Yes, after four years I broke up with Valdi. No idea what more to say about it. It's hard, feels weird, but also good...in a way.

Now up for the rest of things in life (just don't want to talk about the boyfriend issue)
Facebook has a nice button for that: "it's complicated".

I walked to the top of Esja (mountain near Reykjavik) and realised what I feel: not so much...(just like the view on the top of the mountain)

Loneley though, being suddenly on your own, stuck on an island.

I inmediately started to do something about it. By making little movies about my view on Iceland an it's culture.

Here part 1. The Supermarket

Monday, April 12, 2010

Panoord Zombies

After two weeks of IRATA I was forced to do other things, and say goodbye to Dennis. I drove to the forest near Oosterhout, fell into some body bag and became part of a zombie movie. With real zombies, yes, really, true, real zombies...
Here an impression of the Panoord kids making the movie.
Next week I'll be in Iceland again, hopefully no zombies there ;)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

IRATA 1. at Orange Access

Finally finished my IRATA course!
Two amazing weeks. I met so many people and learned so many things.
Thanks dudes!