Why Iceland? Why Not! It’s Beautiful

(Icelandic money and currency. Interesting. Photo by Gene McLean)

(Our group walks toward the harbor. The wind was, er, windy, to say the least. Photo by Gene McLean)

Earlier this week, I told a few friends that I was traveling and would be out of the country for a few days. All of them, either being the curious type or simply interested, asked where I would be going.

When I told them, you could have heard a pin drop in the stall of Spectacular Bid. (That’s an old story. For the “newbies,” please go the the stories that were written after the magnificent colt’s loss in the Belmont Stakes.)

“Did you lose a bet?” asked my partner Mike Schnell, always looking to add to his list of 50 best jokes. (Editor’s Note: very few of them are really funny, but the delivery is priceless — even when you have heard them a zillion times.)

“Well that’s a little drastic, don’t you think?” asked David Welker, my long-time friend from Hopkinsville. “You don’t have to go that far to get relief from the heat, you know!”

Dave Baker, my constant friend, ally and brother, just laughed. “You will do anything for that woman (my lovely wife Leigh Ann) won’t you!” Bakes said — with more of a declaration than a question. He knows the answer. Yes.

What made matters even more interesting is that we left on Saturday. Travers Stakes Saturday, mind you. And, we had a trip of curious routing. Almost as curious as the “Curious George” hat that my great friend Greg Schell is toting on his bonnet.

We left Kentucky at 4 p.m.

Arrived in Dallas (yeah, I know. It’s in the wrong direction.) at about 7:30 p.m. — after circling the metroplex for over an hour to allow a single cloud to maneuver its’ way more towards Fort Worth.

Left Dallas at 8:30 p.m., and arrived in Iceland this morning. After a flight that took us 7 hours and 40 minutes.

If you had asked me the same questions Schnell, Welker and Baker this a.m., I may have been more aligned with you. My gosh. What a journey.

But as soon as we made our way off the plane and into the waiting van that was to transport us to our hotel, I could see why Iceland has become one of the most fancied vacation destinations of modern times.

Built on a series of volcanic rock and ash, the country is absolutely gorgeous. Water surrounds. Ships bounce on top of the surf. The hills ramble up and down the black soot that is now rock.

And, the air conditioning was working. Full bore.

Spitting ice when we arrived. Torrid winds sent the pellets through layers of jackets.

But it was cool.

Literally.

Figuratively.

Really.

We have tours set up for the next four days, and then our own personal adventures for 5 after that.

We will be back after Labor Day. With more stories to tell and revel in.

We will keep the site updated from afar. Hope you don’t mind that we may be a bit tardy from time to time. But I may have to wait while I take in these beautiful vistas, the seafood, and cold beverages, and the wondrous landscapes.

I will keep a journal. And, select some segments for your review.

Today’s comments:

Greg Schell sure loves that “Curious George” hat. It’s nearly as yellow as the man who wears it in the automated television series for children. When it took flight at the airport, the air traffic controller nearly reported it good for take-off.

Rest assured, Greg retrieved the masterpiece.

Thank goodness.

Aunt Kelly promises to not wash her air for the entire duration of the trip. Even after a trip to the Blue Lagoon, which has both heeling and mythical purposes and results — according to folk lore.

Can’t wait to give it a try. Our taxi driver this morning, who nearly killed us all, says it’s the most wonderful and relaxing hour that a person can ever spend soaking in the magical powers of water.

I’ll let you know if he is right. And, I’ll keep you posted on Aunt Kels hair. It may fall out.

Uncle Bill arrived in shorts. Spitting snow and ice. He never complained. What a damn man. I would have been shriveled. In all the wrong ways.

Lovely Leigh Ann is being lovely. Always.

Stay tuned.

See you soon.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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