Archive for July, 2008

Globat is hell

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

NEVER, EVER sign-up with Globat.

- they have a fucking insane “automatic upgrade program”, meaning they automatically provide you with “useful” upgrades. And charge your credit card for it. Automatically. You are given an option to opt-out if you click on some link in some email they send to you some days before the automatic update. I don’t understand how this can be legal. This is even worse than spam.

- they claim to be virus-free, but my website just got hacked! As a result, all pages from CoderCorner are now marked as potentially dangerous on Google. This is so fucking painful. I cleaned the files and requested a new review, but WTF, like I don’t have anything else to do!

- the spam on this blog is so freaking insane, it drives me mad. Yeah, yeah, maybe it’s not their fault, but still, it makes me happy to pretend it is, just to blame them a little more. I just added a “captcha“, as suggested by a smart reader, and removed the previous moderation options. It should hopefully help.

- unfortunately I lost some comments in the process. (Sorry Geyser, in particular). No clue how it happened, but… yes… I’ll blame Globat for that as well.

NEVER, EVER sign-up with Globat.

Iceland 2008 - Part 8 - Heaven

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Iceland has hell, but Iceland also has heaven. If there is a paradise on earth, it might very well be the famous Blue Lagoon.

Once again, those simple 2-dimensional collections of lifeless pixels won’t really be able to convey the full force of the Blue Lagoon experience. It’s not just the marvellous, striking blue colors.

It’s everything you don’t see on the pictures. It’s the context, the mindblowing power plant lost in the middle of a huge lava field.

It’s the impossibly fresh air. It’s the temperature difference between the warm water and the cool air. It’s the relaxing warmth, the torpor that captures you there and makes you all sleepy, never wanting to leave.

And somewhere, never far away, it’s the light smell of sulphur reminding you that however paradisiac it may looks, this is Devil’s Beauty. You are still in Iceland.

So now, dear readers, fellow workers, I just hope you finally start to understand why I’ve been a huge fan of this country for years. No, it has nothing to do with Björk. It is just an amazing country where anybody can take postcard-perfect pictures with any cheap, automatic digital camera.

Iceland rules!

Iceland 2008 - Part 7 - Hell

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Finally, we reached one of the most impressive places I’ve seen in Iceland: the bubbling mud pots of Namafjall Hverir. This place is hell. If pictures can’t properly convey the beauty of Iceland, they can at least gives you some ideas. However there’s something they completely miss: the smell. For those mud pots, believe me, it’s a good thing. Two words: rotten eggs. To the power of ten.

Mind your steps here. If you walk past the safe areas, your foot might very well break the crust and land in one of those high temperature cauldrons.

Nonetheless, even in the middle of this mess, the surrounding landscapes are still gorgeous.

The earth is boiling, melting, cracking, smelling, hot steam continuously escapes from those emerging chimneys… This is the work of Vulcan.

Iceland 2008 - Part 6 - Lake Myvatn & Kröflustöd

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

The next day we took a small plane to the north of Iceland, and landed in Akureyri. From there we drove to lake Myvatn. This was a really beautiful day to visit this beautiful place.

We continued to Dimmuborgir, and to the Krafla Geothermal Power Station, a.k.a. Kröflustöd. On the way we saw this impressive ridge, cracking the earth open. Jules Vernes wrote that the journey to the center of the earth begins in the Snaefells, but I’d say that huge crevasse makes a good runner up!

Iceland 2008 - Part 5 - Snowmobile on the Langjökull

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Time for some action! Nearby the Golden Circle there’s a glacier called Langjökull. It is possible to drive a snowmobile there, and, well, that’s what we did.

On the way to the glacier, the landscapes are desolated, dramatic, a mixture of lava fields and rocky mountains. We went there while listening to Björk all the way :)

We had our shares of surprises with the snowmobile experience. Bad luck or Murphy’s Law, our machine broke while we were in the middle of the glacier. So we made a part of the ride along with the Activity Group guys, and let’s just say they drove a lot faster than us. Then, on the way back, we inherited one of their snowmobiles, which was a much much more powerful toy than the ones they usually let between tourists’ hands………… :)

A few kids joined for the ride. This one was eager to start a snowball fight on the glacier, but he was really alone for this one…

Iceland 2008 - Part 4 - The Golden Circle

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

The “Golden Circle” is the classic tour that you make when you arrive in Iceland. It has 3 main components:

  • Thingvellir
  • Geysir
  • Gullfoss

Thingvellir has many nice features, including some exceptionally clear water. This clear water is what makes the Silfra fissure, located nearby, such an interesting site for divers.

This is the classic view from Gullfoss.

Geysir is so famous I don’t think I need to talk much about it. Just enjoy the pictures from the two small ponds nearby, named Blesi. The first one is completely opaque like the Blue Lagoon, and the second one is extremely transparent - even though the two ponds are connected to eachother underneath the ground.

Geysir, the geyser that gave its name to all others, is not active anymore. The big active geyser here is actually another one, Strokkur, located just nearby.

The big game for photographers here is to capture the bubble just before it bursts…

Iceland 2008 - Part 3 - Jökulsárlón

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

The Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon located to the south-east of the Vatnajökull. This is a beautiful, amazing place, very quiet, full of serenity. The floating ice has extraordinary colors and shades of blue. The pictures below may look good. But it’s a lot better in real.

It is possible to take a “boat” to cruise on the lagoon. Those boats are actually recycled army vehicles that can both drive on the ground and in water.

Iceland 2008 - Part 2 - The South Coast

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

For many people, the South Coast has Iceland’s best features and sites. I don’t know if I fully agree with this, but it’s certainly worth the trip!

The Skogafoss waterfall. This was the first “big” waterfall we saw, and I made a stupid mistake here: I went nearby. I ended up completely wet, as if the weather had suddenly turned to hell.

The beach nearby the small town of Vik is famous for its black sand. I gathered some of it in a bottle and took it back as a souvenir. Much better than what they sell in the numerous tourist traps nearby :)

The amazing Seljalandsfoss, probably my favorite in Iceland. I don’t like the big waterfalls like Dettifoss / Gullfoss, they all look the same to me. This one however, has its own identity. You can walk behind it if you don’t fear getting wet. The rainbow seems to be permanently there, as it appears on numerous postcards and pictures from Seljalandsfoss.

Iceland 2008 - Part 1 - Reykjavik & Landmannalaugar

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I was in Iceland for a week, and it was bloody fantastic. Before I left, some clueless people asked me why the hell I would want to spend my holiday in a place called Iceland, since I’m living in a “far better place to begin with” - i.e. Barcelona.

Uh… Sigh.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so let me share with you a small subset of the (let me check…) 1170 pictures I took out there.

In July, there is no night in Iceland. It is always bright, looking like a late european afternoon. The sun is very low on the horizon, creating dramatic shadows.

The following pictures were taken in Reykjavik, around 11 PM. This is my girlfriend Jasmina, enjoying the midnight sun.

The sky was on fire this day, with amazing shades of orange and blue. The picture below was taken from the shore, nearby the hotel.

Further away along the shore, one can see the “Solfar” sculpture from Jon Gunar Arnason. I already mentioned it in my previous report from Iceland.

For the first excursion out of the city we went walking in the Landmannalaugar. Words fail to describe the “emotional landscapes” that Björk sang about a while back. You just have to be there to believe it.

Spam hell

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I go away one week, and then I get 485 comments to moderate. All spam, save for 2 of them. I should just ban comments alltogether, would make my life a lot simpler :( cialis