Vikings and Elves
|Category: Wendy's Wanderings||27 April 2015|
Comments frequently thrown at us before our Iceland trip and workshops included:
“So why do you want to go there? Everyone goes there.”
Well there must be a reason why everyone goes, and the reason is:
- It was founded by vikings from Scandinavia and we like vikings
It has 20 active volcanoes with Hekla being the most active bringing
European airspace to its knees in 2000 and its due to blow again….
Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap which covers 3% of the Island.
It is bigger than ALL European glaciers combined
- The population has the longest life expectancy
- It delivered the worlds 1st female elected President in 1980
- 33% of the land is volcanic lava covered with moss that takes 100 years to grow (so best not to step on it then)
- It has extremes of weather, over our 3 week stay there we experienced 3 hurricanes
- The locals drink more Coca Cola than any other place in the world (ok by me; I hate the stuff!)
- They are the only land I know that has what they call ‘Window weather’……?
On arrival our first night in the Hotel, set the scene with a snippet of the ‘rawness’ of the land and an animal rug beside our bed - the size of a pizza tray! That’s the thing with Iceland, it teases, it bewitches, it beguiles, it swallows you whole then spits you out. But even after all that it leaves you feeling incredibly ALIVE. I describe it as the land of seduction with claws like ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
I love the waterfalls covered with ice formations that begin to take on shapes of faces and mythical creatures. I became entranced by one where the angle of the light picked up the landscape beside me and mirrored it on the iceforming an Ice Queen.
The snow appears one day, it is up to our thighs, overnight it rains and the snow is gone, after that it snows again! The temperature is -8 deg-C but with the wind chill it is more like -15 deg-C. We visited giant icebergs sitting on a beach which were taken there by Jökulsárlón lagoon, they drew me in to touch them, to gaze inside to view the dust, rock, bubbles which have travelled for many thousand’s of years from the glacier above only to be diluted and melt in the ocean upon the rising tide. Iceland, one minute the beauty is there, the next it is gone.
This year was the first that we had the added delight of entering the Ice cave, last year it had melted. Our group were silenced by its tone’s, shape and patterns. Like Canada’s lakes it reflects all the colours of the spectrum except blue, which it swallows. I never knew there were so many blues. I watch as our intrepid group of photographers take time to reach out, to touch to wonder at the journey the ice has taken to get here. There is enough ice for a lifetime of G & Ts!
I had never spent so much time around ice, I read somewhere that Ice is enchanting, a song from the star’s where it started life riding on the back of a comet. A romantic notion that happens to be true…..I can identify with a quote by Karol Ann Marling…Ice is one of the few things that make’s the body sense its own edges, strengths & frailties….
We head out, David & I on a week of adventure between workshops. We get hotel trapped due to another hurricane. Later we spend time by a church reduced to a dot in the vast landscape covered in new snow. We befriend the most beautiful collie dog on an isolated farm next to Iceland’s oldest wooden church. Later I chat amiably to Mrs Laundry in the village back at our Hotel. The shop sells outdoor wear, diapers, toys and hardware, oh and it does laundry… it's a quiet morning and she is keen to chat.
She has a curious accent, she tells me on the day of the hurricane “This is window weather” I thought I misheard her, so sounding like the Queen, I ask “I’m sorry”. “Window weather,” she shouts (as if I am stupid). “What’s that?” I reply (she looks at me now knowing I clearly am stupid) “That’s what we call staying in weather watching the land looking out of the window”. “Oh,” I smile. So that is why when Iceland’s locals are washing their dishes in the kitchen sink they stop to stare at this vast & beautiful landscape and begin to see shapes emerge, like faces, mythical figures & little people. In Iceland they call them elves or even trolls, 80% of Icelandar’s believe in them; perhaps I should try some of that Coke!!!