Posted by: jeanne | June 3, 2017

back to iceland again

well, here we are again at 35,000 feet (or thereabouts). we’ve been in the air since 5:30, which is about 4 hours, and we have 3ish hours to go. it’s actually mostly dark outside, so we’re probably about the latitude of new york, maybe boston. the tops of the clouds have long since lost the sun, but are still white. i’m on the right side of the plane, so facing east, and i can see out the portside windows that the sky is still in sunset, with the prism effect on the horizon. so i think it won’t get completely dark during our trip, and should start to lighten soon enough.

for some reason the cabin lights are still on. and the captain didn’t turn off the seatbelt sign until we were almost at cruising altitude. and didn’t turn on the charging ports until well after that. so perhaps we have someone in charge who is rather new and not used to the way things are done on airlines? whatever, we’re in an airbus 330, and i believe they are all fly-by-wire, so we’re flying smoothly, tho after we left miami there was lots of turbulence for at least half an hour. oh and speak of the devil, here we are quivering in the air again.

when the seatbelt sign went off at last, we quickly switched seats, so avery and connor could sit together, with grandpa and me behind them so we could intervene when they got too loud or started fighting. right now they’re playing with toy cars and talking about arresting each other and handing out tickets. such good boys.

actually not. they are good boys when they want to be, but whenever i’m stressed out they act up. huh. they were a little evil at the airport, but then we had a 5 hour wait before our plane loaded.

we started off yesterday (the 31st) in atlanta. allen drove us to the airport at 11 and grandpa decided he didn’t need a wheelchair, which is fine, except that it left us all toting our wheely bags and backpacks thru the airport. usually we pile the backpacks on grandpa and festoon them around the wheelchair. so connor and avery tied their backpacks to their wheely bag handles, and then proceeded to let them fall over every couple of moments. which stressed me out. that’s all we need, is a broken wheely bag. or two. and they don’t have the concept of ‘you break it, you live with it’, which would feel really good as their just desserts for about five minutes, maybe less. and then i’d have to abandon my stuff in order to fit theirs into my bag. there go my art supplies. but that didn’t happen on the way out of the country, so let’s just hope nothing is broken and hiding.


oh and now they’re fighting over the candy. i knew it was a bad idea.


our flight to miami was on frontier airlines, and the particular plane they use for that run has a curious airflow feature. when they turn on the air conditioning, steam flows from the vents over the seats, and runs out into the middle of the cabin. they should put disco lights on it to diminish the impression that it’s an accident about to happen. otherwise it was an ordinary flight. i booked a cheap hotel near the airport (curiously, when i booked it the price was $113, and when i checked a couple of days ago it was $75, so i canceled and rebooked. and right after that the price went to $60, so i did it again.

we immediately went to the hotel pool. the water was hot. actually hot. when the breeze kicked up my shoulders grew chilly, so i ducked back under and it was comfortingly warm. this was a good opportunity to assess their swimming skills. while jim sat outside the swimming area and read his novel, i stood in the middle of the pool and let the boys swim out to me. avery can actually swim at this point, tho it’s the dog paddle. connor flails still, but he’s got a strong jump, and only has to swim a few feet to get to me. avery did a lap, admirably. connor can swim back to the side of the pool. he’s getting so good that the both of them ran (no running!) down to the middle of the pool and dove in, and i had to rush over to rescue connor before he realized he wasn’t going to make it and started to panic. but mostly he jumped and swam to me, and i threw him back and he swam. swallowed quite a bit of water in teh process, and tired himself out. but not enough, because they were still full of energy. we ordered delivery pizza for the boys and chinese for me and jim, and took the food back out to the pool area, and then it was 9, so we went to bed. the boys watched the tv in the room, of course. jim and i went right to sleep. but in the end my food didn’t agree with me, which is normal when i’m traveling, and after i got rid of it i slept thru to the morning.

in the morning we went down to breakfast, and could smell the bacon all the way down the hall when we got out of the elevator. everybody but me ate like horses. i ate like a bird. and then we went back out swimming. this time there were some kids, so i didn’t have to take such an active role, and actually got a lap or two in when the boys were in the shallow end around the steps. then back in the room, i sent the boys down to the arcade while i packed and moved everything down to wait for the shuttle back to the airport.


and we were there before checkin opened, and had a couple of hours of waiting around, during which the boys played tag and bothered any single male with a cellphone in sight. then we checked in, they took my overweight bag (yay), and we waited for the wheelchair. bereft of their backpacks, the boys played bumper cars with their rolly bags all the way to the gate, and then we had three or more hours to wait at the gate.

right now it’s just gone 10pm, and the sky never darkened to the west, and is not brightening on my side of the plane as well. i just saw a plane going south a couple of miles to the east, on our flight level. it’s very cloudy down there, and we’re flying into weather, so i’m not sure if we’re going to get to see greenland. and the boys acted up just now in a way both jim and i found intolerable (i believe avery pinched connor), so now jim is sleeping next to connor, and i have a sulky avery next to me, not thinking any of this was his fault and wishing he hadn’t come along on our trip. and he should be wishing that, because seeing how he hogged all the candy and wouldn’t give connor any, i’m not going to be buying any icelandic candy, and we’ll see how he likes that. i can be cruel.


they finally turned the cabin lights down, just as the sun was coming up, and now everybody’s acting sleepy, except for my boys.



i’m not sure how much of our trip north i’m going to be able to document tomorrow, so here’s the plan as it stands at the moment. siggi and runa will be picking us at keflavik airport at close to 5am. then we’ll go back to their house where siggi (and maybe i or jim) will take a nap. siggi is a professional bus driver, so he can only drive so long without a sleep break. while he’s napping, the boys will be outside playing in the little park next door to where they live. when siggi’s up, we’ll drive about a half hour to where ragnhildur has moved, and we’ll visit for coffee and a run about her new property, which has loads of elves and a troll woman i want to meet. after that, we’ll drive for 4 hours (according to runa), and stop again at akureyri, where there’s a kickass pool with a massage fountain that pours water down on your shoulders. and when we’re thru swimming, we’ll drive another hour north, and hopefully be in olafsfjordur for dinner at alice’s at 7. after which we’ll lodge siggi and runa in ida’s guesthouse for the night. i’ll let you know how much of it happens that way…


i’m writing this three days later.  the sun did actually come up somewhere near greenland.  the view out my window never got completely dark.  jim slept, and as usual connor fell asleep during the last hour of the flight and was extremely cranky when we had to wake him up to leave the plane.  so i got a wheelchair my own damn self, made grandpa get in (he wanted to walk), and piled connor on top of him.  the backpacks we strapped onto the back of the chair, and i strapped the rolly bags together and moved them all down the hall while avery guided grandpa, who paid attention in case avery rolled him into someone.  it was 5am.

siggi and runa were waiting.  the bus he borrowed was a training bus, and takes 17 passsengers, but what with our luggage and the stuff runa brought along, we completely filled it ourselves.


when we got to the house, we took a nap, and siggi, who is supposed to nap regularly, didn’t because we had all the space taken.  avery was on the couch, and jim, connor and i had their bed.  sorry siggi.  so he never got any sleep, and hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before, and that’s not fair.  i felt bad.


guess what i’m going to paint?

did i mention siggi and runa raise birds?  these are baby cockateils

our second stop was ragnhildur and and her husband’s house in hvalfjordur.  it was almost raining, so no trek up the mountain to see the troll woman.  but we sat around their table and ate and drank for several hours, enjoyed the vibes in their new house, and the artwork that had made it onto the walls.  and their dogs.  and their new chickens.  and the view.  what a great place they have.

ragnhildur is an accomplished artist, including fabric work


and then we tried to get to olafsfjordur before 7, when alice was expecting us to be there for dinner.  it was 2 before we left ragnhildur, so we only had a little bit of time to get there.


we drove and drove and drove.


runa tried to teach me how to knit, and i gave the camera to jim.  and we drove.  and hardly ever took photos, or stopped.  only when siggi needed to stop.


the bus had a governor on it, or a spy, which only allows him to drive for four hours.  also, he wasn’t familiar with the area, having only been up to that part of the country once, when he was just a teenager.


and things have changed.  and we didn’t go to akureyri and the pool, but cut up to go the back way.


and we got to the turnoff to the old road to olafsfjordur, and met a local guy when siggi had to rest for half an hour, and the local guy told us tales of rocks shaped like knives that stick all the way thru your tires, and a gravel road not maintained in the winter.


so we went thru siglufjordur and three tunnels to get to olafsfjordur about 45 minutes late for dinner.

we all sat down and ate alice’s delicious food, and ate as much as we could hold.  and then we sat around talking over tea and coffee.  and then it was after 10 when we got all our luggage into alice’s house and took siggi and runa down to ida’s joe’s guesthouse for the night, and almost midnight before the kids settled down into bed.  and it was still light.  so they didn’t want to go to bed.  but we did.

and two hours after we got to sleep, jim got up to go pee, and then looked around in the kitchen for awhile before coming back into the bedroom to announce that he had no idea how to make coffee here.  so i told him that it was only 2am, and he came back to bed.  i had the alarm set for 7:30 so we could go join siggi and runa for breakfast, and my body didn’t really want to be up.  but we had a great chat, and had a lot of fun talking with the folks at kaffi klara.  and then when siggi and runa had to get back to reykjavik, i went back to bed for several hours, and got up again to go attend the greeting of the art residents meeting, which lasted for several hours longer than i had expected, by which time both the store and the pool were closed.  so we’ll try again tomorrow.

new residents (and old ones) at listhus

it’s 10pm.  do you know where your children are?  yes, i do.  they’re out back playing ball in the broad daylight, and have no intention of ever going to sleep.

i so want to put a troll face on this rock.  i wonder if it’s an elf rock.  i’d better ask permission, not just from the town council, but the elves themselves

the view from alice’s kitchen window.  what a thing to look at while doing the dishes

so, more tomorrow or the day after.  since life is so simple here in olafsjordur, it will be a little while before things change enough to document more.  but i’m sure the kids will provide me with a lot of material.


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