One of the tricky things about Iceland is that everything in Iceland is Iceland, even global culture’s colonial intrusions into Icelandic space…
… and even so-delicious images of vulnerability and cold set against pan-Scandinavian design…
… but these distractions have a history, and you can find them in the once-busy harbour of Vopnafjörður. There, the old pier is one of the main tourist sights in town.
It’s worth the long trip, for the clarity it brings.
The hills are famous as being too many to count. The forests, well, that is another matter. And the sheep, whew. They were out the other day, waiting to be taken to the high country. Sheep everywhere!
Gunnar Gunnarson’s dream was to transform his novels about Icelandic country people into a farm employing Icelandic country people, and run it like a novel. Unfortunately, Gunnar got the idea from living for thirty years in Denmark, where he picked up this well-meaning but colonial idea. The contemporary. and up-dated version of the best of Gunnar’s idea of translating a book into life is the Icelandic love of building a forest and then holidaying within it, to return to an Iceland renewed from the degradations and desperations of its poverty, back to the beautiful, forested land in the mid-Atlantic. In other words, Gunnar was on the right track, except he forget to plant the trees!
Soooooo, the Danes mine your mountains for sulfur, to make matches, to light their cigars, do they, and pay you in tiny twists of tobacco, for way too long, do they? No problem.Just sell it back to their great grandchildren as nature at it’s purest. Canada and its mining wastelands could learn from this trick! As the old Icelandic saying goes, “everything is hay.” More on that tomorrow!