Posted by: jeanne | March 19, 2017

our last day in iceland

sigh. we have to leave. but here’s a small (well, huge) miracle. my headache is gone. for the first time in a week. i’ve never had a headache for that long, and i was going crazy with the low-level pain. but it went away overnight, once i was back in a place where my soul felt safe, i could relax. perhaps the energy of the place i was in was too much, or maybe i was being too delicate. or, to be less woowoo, maybe the infection i picked up in venice wasn’t completely gone, and when i got to the winds and cold of iceland, it came roaring back full force. to be sure, i’ve still got a chest infection and snot, and at this point i can taste the yellow gunk in my lungs, so i’m not by any means well. but i don’t have a headache. unfortunately, connor has it now. and siggi and runa are getting it. on the other hand, jim is well. how’s that for irony; jim is the one i always worry about, but he’s just fine.

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runa had a doctor’s appointment at 10, and siggi had something about the same time. and runa had coordinated with ragnhildur about going out to their new house in hvalfjordur to see them. and they had to be leaving to go back to town by 12. so we were very tight. and of course running behind, as happens here.

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instead of going thru the tunnel, we took a left right before, and went up the side of the fjord. runa didn’t know exactly where to go, and siggi was a little irritated that the way was indistinct, but runa was going on ragnhildur’s instructions (basically go straight, plus two houses a little up the hill). but there are so few houses in the country, and they’ve been there forever, that siggi turned into the right drive without having to be told, and we were there.

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this is their new old house. it was built in stages, starting with forever ago, and the second house was formerly a barn. according to ragnhildur the house was the local phone and post office, back when there was only one phone for the whole area. there are hatches in various rooms where customers came to buy stamps and to make calls. it’s a charming house.

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it has plants growing up on the inside, but then this is the sun room, so it would have a greenhouse aspect to it. and the view is stupendous.

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the kitchen is my favorite room, but why wouldn’t it be? it’s the center of the house. they still have things to fix up, but mostly the work was done in order to sell the house. and best of all, they now have geothermal heating in the house (and the whole area) because the guy who owned the house had been working to get the council to install a pipe for years. so now ragnhildur has a little hot stream running past her house (when they need to release pressure they discharge a little water).

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of course the boys were outside talking while the girls (and connor) took the tour. jim actually was on the tour (five minutes only) and went outside first while we chatted as much as we could before they had to get in the car and leave. we delayed them ten minutes. i will go back when i’m next here.

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this is the view of the mountain in back of their house. there is a troll woman up there, and lots of elves. i hope to meet them. i asked ragnhildur the question that we’d been talking about – are trolls truly bad or are they just misunderstood? her answer is that they’re misunderstood, but if you make them mad you’re in trouble, and all you can do is to sing to them. i’d forgotten that part.

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this is a nice scene from the ride back.

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then siggi took us up a snowy road to show me where the city gets its water. it’s pumped down from the mountains, where it’s only melted ice and snow all year round, and pure as it can be. and that was nice of him. but then we got stuck in the snow, and it took siggi several minutes of maneuvering before we got unstuck. exciting times in iceland. he said we might have to walk home, but he was only kidding.

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we went back home and i packed. siggi and runa defrosted some ground mutton (old lamb) and made lasagna. connor played on his pad. jim sat on the couch and watched everything going on around him.

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finally we loaded the car and got ready to go. after a short stop at the grocery for sandwiches, we were off. and of course the roads were clear, and of course the snow hadn’t stopped anybody. it made a beatiful adornment to the lava as we got out of town and onto the keflavik road. siggi had been watching the earthquake reports and reported that today there were earthquakes in two new areas – askja (a very dangerous volcano in the north), and under the ice cap at vatnajokull, at the highest mountain – where there hasn’t been any activity for a very long time. the whole chain is lighting up. and doesn’t it always happen that the volcanos occur only after i go home? maybe someday…

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one of the volcanos that threaten reykjavik
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on the way to the airport connor fell asleep. he never does that, so he’s sick. i tied my scarf around his forehead and anchored him to the car seat so his head wouldn’t keep bobbing forward, and he slept until we got to the airport.  runna came in to help us walk thru the process; we got jim into the wheelchair, connor lolled on his lap, and we waited for the security people to come and take us thru to the gate. then we said goodbye to siggi and runa (see you soon), and were off. security was as arduous as ever, but somehow nothing like as bad as it was in paris. people are nicer in iceland. but it didn’t stop these two harridans from complaining about the line for the water fountain (wtf???) as we waited to board. grrr rude americans.

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i always know where to find jim – talking to the pretty girls

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connor was now running a fever. so i whipped out the baby aspirin; the security person went and got him some blankets to wrap in, and he lay down on two seats and slept while the waiting room filled up. they’ve expanded this part of the airport recently, and tho there’s huge amounts of room now, it still gets very crowded waiting to board. they told us to wait to board, and a security guy would be there to help us, and put us on a special shuttle bus to take us out to the plane, so while everybody else loaded onto the regular shuttle bus, we got to go onto one with a lift. it rose us up about 10 feet, and we took seats, and we drove out to the plane. and then the whole thing lifted up another 20 feet until it was level with the door, and we got in just as the first of the passengers were boarding.

right now we’re in the air; jim and connor have had their half sandwiches and are asleep, and i’m hanging out writing more than i should for a blog post, just because i have nothing else to do. we’re over water, not yet over greenland. i hope we have clear skies when we do cross greenland, because i love seeing what’s happening to the ice sheet, melting faster and faster (because global warming is a hoax, of course).

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oh, there it is. white mountains looking like fluffy clouds. with sharp edges. time to take photos. and so i did. the mountains aren’t covered with snow, but only lightly dusted. there’s loads of ice coming down the glacial streams, lots of crevasse fields.

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the ice looks like melted ice cream, all smooth and glistening. it has to have been melting and refreezing to look like that. once we reached the ice cap, i could see melting areas, where the ice was translucent instead of harsh white. and then the clouds blocked the western side. so now we’re back over water, and i will wait to have a look at canada.

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sea ice, breaking away from the coast and floating away as icebergs

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this way cool circular lake off in the distance in way north canada.  i wonder if it was a meteor?

so canada has very little snow left, tho the rivers are still frozen. but maybe we’re in southern canada now because think i’m seeing fields. ah yes, and roads. cool. we’re close to maine and new england, then. well, not. we were actually way north of the saint lawrence seaway. now that we’re south of that, the farms are plentiful and regular. and still the snow only covers the fields, and the st lawrence has ice floes all down its length. i watched a ship go right thru one line of ice and head for another without slowing down.

sorry, i have to intrude with another observation about my fellow passengers, the lady next to me is reading a book called ‘effortless mastery’. of all the lies they use to sell books with. you too can be a success without doing anything, without putting in years of hard work and practice, without loads of daunting failures. just buy this book. i ask you.

okay, enough. i’ve got my u.s. sim card back in the phone. the customs form is filled out. we’re bringing in $107 worth of scarves, and about $20 of glass objects, (i forgot to include the masks) and that’s it. we ate most of what we spent.

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connor has started sweating, and his fever completely disappeared, but then came back again, so i have him sleeping under a blanket, hoping his fever breaks for good. i was quite worried for a few moments, when he coughed up more liquid than i thought a small pair of lungs could hold. but he’s out of danger now. a few hours ago jim and i traded places, so that he could sleep in my lap, and jim could watch greenland go by. and now we have about 2 hours of flying left, and we’ll be heading to my brother mikie’s. i hope we don’t get the whole family sick, but i’m still thinking it’s only a horrible head/chest cold and not a virus. and jim’s still fine.

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by the end of the trip, connor was feeling much better and his fever had abated.  yay

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our delightful wheelchair person who got us thru the nasty long lines for passport control, baggage claim, and customs.  thanks, dear, and best of luck in your career

in baggage claim they put half the luggage on the wrong carousel, and then blamed the passengers for not noticing.  connor went up to the customs guy and told him to throw his gun away so he wouldn’t have to shoot anybody.  so when we went thru customs and got the same guy, he asked if we had food (we had sandwiches) or alcohol (menta fernet), and then noticed connor, and waved us thru with high fives.

and then the ordeal of getting the amtrak to union station (i left connor’s backpack on the train), and the metro to reston (with a stop to consult the station manager in case the backpack was on the subway).  and then mikie picked us up and connor played with the kids’ toys while we had something nice to eat (sandwich) and then went to bed.

 

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