Posted by: jeanne | March 13, 2017

i love iceland

yesterday morning, after sleeping soundly all night in siggi and runa’s room (which they gave to us, siggi sleeping on the couch, runa in the spare room which is not ready for anybody to sleep in – i would have been angry at their self denial if they’d given me a chance to be), we got up early.

siggi and runa are icelandic, which siggi explained to us means that they don’t go to sleep until at least midnight, and have trouble getting up in the morning.  on the other hand, we get up with the dawn and go to sleep not long after dark.

but i woke up with the beginnings of a migraine, so i got dressed and took a walk while connor was sneaking around the house looking at things silently, so as not to wake siggi.  he would have followed me out by himself, convinced that i would be easy to find, but jim and a newly wakened siggi persuaded him to have breakfast and wait.

i walked up the block and toward the hillside.  but the distances are always deceptive in iceland, so there was no way, and i turned around when i got to the big road.  the roads were wet, but clear, and the snow was piled up by the side of the road.  the temperature was in the 40s.  as i walked, it rained and snowed a little on me, but it was light rain, and i didn’t care.  i was trying to walk off my headache.  but on the way back, i slipped on some black ice, and ended up on my left knee in the road.  but it wasn’t too terribly bad, so after a few moments i continued on, and by the time i got back, it felt better.

but my head didn’t.  i had a sip or two of coffee, and then went back to bed for a few hours, while runa organized to pack.  then i got up, and siggi rubbed my shoulders a bit – he’s a masseur who uses somewhat the same technique i do.  and it felt better then.

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connor got in the way many times while runa was getting packed.  here he is wearing the rope siggi was trying to wind up.

so we went for a walk, connor and i, to get out of runa’s way, because he was bombarding her with questions.  he had to step in the tracks made by others, because he only had his regular shoes on.  we saw this troll face in the snow:

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finally, around 4pm, we were all packed and ready to go, so we all got into siggi’s 4×4 and took off.  i’m not very sure of the locations of the pictures we took, but we’re in hellnar (pronounced hettlenar) now, and started off at mossfellsbaer.   so these photos are all from the snaefellsness peninsula.

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this is right after exiting the 6km long tunnel under the water.  nobody can hold their breath that long (otherwise that’s a game we play at home.  but we don’t have these kinds of tunnels at home)

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a lava dike

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the cone in the distance is part of the light mountains.   siggi says the snow is on these mountains all year, even summer.

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the sun was going down, and it was getting harder and harder to take decent photos.  this didn’t stop me, however.

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then siggi turned off the road, and we went up to a farm where there is sparkling water that comes up out of the ground.  this pipe is only one meter into the ground, and there are bubbles coming up from the surrounding dirt.

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here’s the mineral count.  look at all that bicarbonate.

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connor has never met a dog he didn’t like.  this was a very friendly farm dog.

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it was getting dark, the sun was behind clouds and going down fast, with rain coming soon.  it had been a very contrary day, with rain forecast all day, but really nothing but dry and variably cloudy instead.  you can never trust the weather forecast here.

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finally we pulled off to look at our destination.  and for siggi to take a pee.  i couldn’t resist…

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connor immediately ran down the hill until runa called him back.  that rock of gibraltar thing in the background is our destination.  we are currently looking at the side of it, here at the house.

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as we got closer to the mountain, called stapafell, i noticed a meniscus form in the lines – a female symbol.  but when i went to take the photo, i noticed a troll face inside the meniscus.  (he’s facing to the right)  siggi has a connection to this place.  when he was a fisherman here, he used to talk to baldur all the time, the half man, half troll who lives in stapafell.  baldur would make him bring home three times the fish the old fisherman who lived there did.

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we got to the house after dark.  i recommend it.  it’s a large farmhouse kind of place, really a compound of holiday houses facing the sea, under the mountain, with fields all around.  there are three bedrooms upstairs, and a nice dining room, living room, and kitchen downstairs.  when we got here there was only one other person staying in another house.  tonight there are more people, but the compound is large and there’s lots of space.  it was being heated to 30 degrees C when we got here, and we didn’t figure that out until the next morning, when we turned everything down to a reasonable 22C.  we unpacked everything and chose bedrooms.  connor was unhappy with the kid’s room because it didn’t have a window, so we moved him into the hall, where there was a pull out bed.  and a window.  and he was happy as a clam.

the only thing that caused me any worry were the stairs, which are the same type of stairs i had at the art residency at cill rialaig, in kerry. jefferson stairs, they’re called, invented by that most inventive of presidents.  they’re notched, so you have to go up the right way, or you’ll fall.  they’re very steep.  you can easily fall or slip, and then you’ll break your neck.  you can imagine my anxiety, especially with jim trying to negotiate them half asleep first thing in the morning…

we ended up eating leftover lamb dinner that we brought with us from reykjavik, and going to bed way earlier than icelanders go to bed. donnor didn’t want food, and balked at all suggestions, so he got peanut butter and honey on bread, and some milk, and went to bed without a bedtime story because he was just that tired.  we had to open the windows upstairs, and still it was way hotter than we’re used to.  but we just threw the covers off until we cooled down, and basically played the cover up, cover off game all night.

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jim and i were up before dawn, and sat in the living room with the lights off and watched the colors come up.  it had rained lightly in the night, and there were clouds (we didn’t see any northern lights for a second night in a row).  but it was fair enough outside, so we got dressed at dawn (connor woke up so he came with us) and went for a walk.

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the half of the house to the right side of the big house is ours.  the red car is siggi’s.  connor is already halfway down the road.

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stapafell in the morning light.  elves and trolls live there.

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connor wasn’t sure what these hay rolls were, and had to run down and inspect them.  of course.

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at the old harbor, not used now because nobody is a fisherman anymore in these parts.  the tide was coming in, or going out, but was near full, and the ocean didn’t look rough, but the waves came rolling in.  it was beautiful, and you could hear the screaming sea birds from far away.

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so we went down to the harbor.  connor spent his time throwing rocks into the edge of the sea, while jim and i walked out the seawall, avoiding the waves that crashed up and over the wall.

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then we took the path part of the way up toward arnastapi, which was 2.5 km.  and it started raining, so we decided to go home and get breakfast.  siggi later told me that we don’t want to take that walk because it goes right along the cliffs, and connor would undoubtedly get into trouble going too close simply because we would warn him away from it.

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we found the remains of an old house there.  connor wanted to play, but beneath all that grass are sharp rocks, and he was getting cold.  so, no.

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see?  cold.

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but we went thru the graveyard and past the church first.

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there’s a ring, perhaps a knocker, on the door that says it dates from 1755.

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we passed a trash bin firmly tied to rocks against the wind.

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when we got back, siggi and runa still hadn’t gotten up.  but they did, and we went and had a wonderful adventure all day, 700 photos worth.  but i’ll have to write about that tomorrow.

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