After the openings ceremony, all the busses had to be loaded and leave to the specific expedition center all over the country. A hell of a logistic operation that, wonder well, went ok. There was a lot of shouting involved to get everybody at the right moment to the right busses, but in the end everybody had there place and could leave for 4 days to the expedition centers. As an IST I was assigned to the shouting part. Nice! We had some help from a Scottish guy that must have an iron throat... But he imitated London underground announcements, what was hilarious!
My expedition center was Akranes. We left Laugardalshöll in Reykjavik with 8 busses, about a 400 persons, a lot of luggage and food for about 4 days. Even without some experience, you can already say, that doesn't fit! But hey, þetta reddast! (see part 1) We had to leave some luggage behind and a lot of the food. And one bus... because the engine had some problems. But the Icelandic organisation fixed the bus and arranged a lorry for all the stuff that didn't got there way to Akranes. So in the end, everybody was in Akranes with there luggage and food. Let the fun begin!
The idea of an expedition center is having a couple of days together with a completely mixed group within people you don't know and from a completely different culture. So what could possible go wrong? Actually, nothing! It can be very intense and intimidating at first, but it's actually one of the best part's of the Moot! The participants are grouped in patrols. They live, cook, eat and do the activities all together. The IST is also grouped as one big patrol, but they have to do there jobs as they are assigned to. And so you see, there are actually not that many differences between people! People can work, live and have fun together, without borders!
This was the first time we had time to talk to Icelandic people. A couple of local scouts had made this expedition center possible and organised all the activities with þetta reddast as there main topic. The prejudices where true. They speak with a very monotonous voice, even when they are enthusiastic. But they are very friendly, always trying to help and very open minded. And because everybody can speak english on a very high level, there is almost no language barrier.
The place for Icelandic people to relax (and warm up) is the swimming pool. Some of them go to the swimming pool every day after work, or sometimes before. Specially for the Moot, every scout was allowed to go to the pool for free. Normally it will cost you about six euro. Going to a pool in Iceland is a little bit different as we used to. They have a very specific way of having a shower before going into the swimming pool, as you can see in the movie below. And there is a very good reason for this behavior. If you make sure, your body is clean before you enter, you need less chloride in the swimming pool. And honestly, I have never smelled any chloride in Iceland!
As an IST, if you were off duty, we were allowed to go with the participants to do activities. So I climbed Berjadalur, the mountain next to the campsite which had a great view. It's about a day walking there and back again, with lunch on the top. That day, it was a clear blue sky. Beautiful!
Other activities that the participants could do were for example climbing, waterfall walk, sea kayaking, sightseeing tour, town tour, swimming, bird watching and community services. The next video gives you an impression of all the activities and the camp life on all the different expedition centers.
Apart from the activities, there is also life on the campsite. And that's completely different than an ordinary public campsite. It't more like a community living in tents. You get people walking around and having a talk. Some having a campfire and are shouting and singing around it. Others are still doing the dishes or cleaning up the patrols tent. One thing you will find on every campsite, is something that has to do with your own country flag. In the center of this campsite, there was a monument of two persons standing together, the perfect spot to put your country flag on view!
And of course I got a lot of questions about the sun that doesn't sink under the horizon. That's actually not true. They have a sunset and a sunrise, but it's not that long. The time we were in Akranes, it was away for a couple of hours, but because the sun was only just below the horizon, the whole night, the light it was like during the sunset. The next video I made on the shore, during a sunset. And that's the darkest you will get at night.
Three activity days is a short time. The last day we got a surprise from the local soccer club. They organised a burger BBQ party for us at the stadium. Really cool and delicious too! It was also the perfect spot for a big group picture. (I don't have it, but I will look this one up) But it was really the end of the first part of the Moot. Tomorrow the busses will be there (not sure how, but hey, þetta reddast) and we will be transported to the main site in Úlfljótsvatn.