Iceland 2006

August 16, 2006

Why, oh why, am I going to Iceland? Mostly because Tom wanted to, but after I agreed to go (on the condition we go to France in April) I started researching the island and am utterly intrigued by what I’ve read. I can’t wait to get this trip started. We depart at noon today flying on Icelandic Air which, by the way, allows carry-on luggage so my laptop separation anxiety has waned. An apocryphal tale to get the trip started…An Icelandic magistrate discovered that the Arctic Circle ran right through his house. He decided that it not only bisected his bedroom, it bisected his bed: the magistrate slept on one side of the Arctic Circle, his wife on the other and rarely did either cross the great divide.

onthe road.jpg

August 20, 2006

Late for the bus! I guess 9:00 a.m. really means 8:30 in Icelandic. I delayed sixty people on a crazy tour bus while Tom toweled off. Call it my way of making friends and influencing people. Anyway, after all the hard stares the tour got underway. We took the “Golden Circle” tour.
Without boring you with the details, suffice it to say we toured for ten hours and saw many of the notable sights outside the Reykjavik area: the rift valley between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates where the first parliament in all of Europe took place; THE GEYSIR from which the word geyser is derived; the largest waterfall in all of Europe, which was saved singled-handedly from destruction by the efforts of a young farm girl, Sigridur Tomasdottir; the infamous and ominous Hekla, the quintessential and scary destructive volcano. After all that we stopped at the Blue Lagoon, a thermal sea water hot spring with healing properties. It was other-worldly.


August 23, 2006,  much later

Later that evening…I didn’t think we’d top yesterday but, well, we did. The sea was as smooth as glass. The sun was brilliant. Porpoises swam in the wake of the boat. The glacial headlands fell behind us like some receding Faerieland. It took over three hours to go a mere twenty-four miles. We sat on the upper deck, open to the arctic sun. They said there had not been a day like this in a decade. After we disembarked we found the one road on the island and set out to conquer the Circle. Oh, we conquered it! We hiked beyond the Circle to the edge of the island and sat atop a grassy down that fell off into a sheer cliff three hundred feet to the ocean. There were thousands of birds singing and circling as we picniced on the grassy precipice. Tom was sweating worse than he was in the half-marathon. Oh, it was warm! Then back to the tiny grocery for water and to the bakery where we got our certificates attesting to having bested the Arctic Circle. An exclusive club has two new members.