My greatest wish is to live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. As of right now, we live in an apartment near the centre of Amsterdam. Every now and then I need an escape, and this time we went to a holiday island – Terschelling.

The Netherlands is a small country with more people than necessary space, and that’s before the tourists descend. It’s also a flat country. Literally. It has no mountains (although a friend of mine once had a really large zit and it got officially registered as Holland’s tallest peak at 2.3 mm). Amsterdam is obviously the worst place for a lover of nature, space, and silence. The holiday islands are exactly what they say they are – 99% of their income comes from tourism. Luckily, we went a week after the school holidays ended, which made me the youngest person around with the exception of people who live and work on Terschelling. Nobody blasted loud music. I only had to pick up other people’s litter once. It was rather fabulous…

 

Saturday

It turns out that the change from living near the centre of Amsterdam to this place is brutal. I am not used to silence. Actual, near-complete silence, interrupted only by the sounds of rain and hail, birds’ mating call, and one rather insistent duck attempting to join us inside. We don’t let the duck in. My head is super-confused. I’ve been ready to go to sleep from about 7pm (when it was still completely light outside), because the only times when I experience actual silence are when I go to bed with earplugs in.

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In the first instalment of “How to go to Iceland on a budget” I covered flights, accomodation, food, drink (as in water), timing, and Golden Circle. What else can I add?

 

Don’t assume Iceland = Reykjavík and Blue Lagoon

For our 2019 outing, assuming someone does buy my kidney on eBay soon, we’re planning to go to the surroundings of Akureyri, somewhere around October. Akureyri is the second largest town in Iceland with population of 18 thousand people. (This is not a typo.) But let’s take this a bit further. We don’t intend to actually stay in Akureyri. There are beautiful – and even cheaper – places very near the town itself. And Iceland is being, you know, Iceland everywhere. The gorgeous spots haven’t been all placed around Reykjavík. Another plus side, at least for me, is that the…density of tourists is going to be smaller.

The prices of accomodation in Akureyri are on average half of what you pay for the same length of stay during the same time of year in Reykjavík. You could, of course, go even more remote. But the plus side of Akureyri is that you can fly there from Reykjavík. The flight takes 45 minutes. And nothing stops you from going to Reykjavík for three days, doing a bus coach tour around the main Golden Circle attractions, then spending two weeks in Akureyri. Or really anywhere…

I don’t have my own photos from other parts of Iceland yet, so the one on top is from, yes, Golden Circle – lazy bird’s view on Thingvellir to be precise. Because the first time we went we, too, thought that Iceland consisted only of one place.

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I just returned from my retreat to Germany, but I wish I didn’t have to. I’ve been here a few times before, but every time I discover something new, and this trip wasn’t an exception.

Part 1 here

A nice, soothing sound

The place was never completely silent. Not just because of insects buzzing or wood cracking in the fire. For the first time, I noticed some sort of constant white noise somewhere in the background. Sea, a thought flashed in my mind. But there was no sea nearby as far as I knew. Wind? And then I went for a long walk, choosing a different direction than I have before, only to discover it was…a motorway.

The whole place is located in a nature reserve, so I was quite taken aback. In fact, I almost felt personally offended. You can’t place motorways in my private paradise! And then, as one of my friends phrased it, I realised that my glass wasn’t only half-full instead of half-empty. It was completely filled. The motorway’s soothing, constant noise…calmed me down. The thing was located just near enough to be convenient and just far enough for me to not really know it was there.

No pictures of the motorway, because I am almost certain you know what motorways look like.

 

Alone, but not lonely

I walked on. I saw cows and bulls. Horses. Dogs. More horses. In fact, during my entire stay, I’ve seen more horses than people. It’s been a long time since I felt so upset by my back injuries because there is nothing I would have loved to do more than to ride on horseback again. That desire became stronger even than my dream of returning to forging, and it also brought a realisation: I now prefer animals to people. Our apartment in Amsterdam is located on top of a bar, and our neighbours regularly arrange shouting matches, sometimes in the middle of the night. The nearest park is ten minutes away by bike. The Fairytale Garden in the middle of not-so-much-nowhere gives me everything I could possibly need.

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