Tag Archives: Snaefellsnes

Mountains in the Sky

Gunnar said there were ships in the sky, meaning clouds, but if you go to Iceland in the winter, you will find whole mountain ranges in the sky, that appear and disappear, created by the mountains out of the wind off the Atlantic.

They’re not exactly shadows and not exactly mirrors. They are amazingly alive. I suspect that the medium (the wind) does that. The image above is near Arnarstapi, on Snæfellsnes. The glacier is just around the corner: one of these clouds that stayed.

Marking the Path on Snaefellsnes

If you follow a troll, you will find more trolls. You will also be on no set path.

If you follow a cairn, you will find more cairns. This is called pathfinding.

If you follow a human figure looking at a pile of trolls, you may or may not find a path, but you won’t be alone.

If you follow a cairn among trolls …

…  or  a troll cairn among lava bits…

… you are still not on a known path. Mind you, paths might be overrated. There are also walls. If you follow walls, you will find other walls.

But here’s the trick. Once you’ve wandered off like this, you have made a path. It’s what you find along the way that will guide you into getting back. As the sun goes down, you will be glad of these troll sheep guiding you home.

It matters not if they are ‘real’ or not. They are the path.

Three Ways of Looking at Iceland

One way to look at Iceland is to visit a popular tourist site. Gerðuberg, for instance, a half-kilometre-long chain of basalt blocks.

The government sees to its popularity. The project is to keep tourists moving, and to give them a stop or two now and then to refresh. It’s a technique learned over a thousand years of sheep herding. Humans aren’t sheep, of course, but we do have physical needs. Air, for instance. Light. Spiritual purpose. That kind of thing. For that, some places are better than others. Gerðuberg is a great one: the first place you’ll stop, two hours out of Reykjavik on your one-day-long and way-too-quick way around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. You’re going to want to stretch your legs by that time. But don’t be fooled. By the time you get to Gerðuberg’s natural wonders, you’ve already passed the second way of seeing. It was on the road in.

You see, every natural wonder in Iceland is framed by a long history of human struggle. These post-war North American metal sheds are used as barns everywhere. It’s no longer the fashion, but hundreds are still in use, just as they are (for instance) on the Canadian Prairies. You can see Gerðuberg and its crater in the background. You are getting closer to Iceland now. Crater? Yes.

The Third way of seeing. Well, you passed it, too, probably wondering where you could stop to take a photo.


This is Eldborg, or Fire Mountain. There are numerous Eldborgs in Iceland. This is a fine one.

The answer is: off a little side road, and then along a 2.5 km trail across private land. Other than that, no-one has made a spot for you to stop, except for Gerðuberg. But there’s a trick to this third way. You will probably be lulled by Gerðuberg. You might just miss Eldborg, because you’re looking the other way. And that’s the secret to the third way of seeing in Iceland: turn around.

The Spirit of Water and Air

The beach at Hellissandur showed her spirit this morning.

As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of light, or, better, the light goes inward rather than out. So is it with the long, low angles of the sun on Christmas Day. Look at the water erupt from the sand and say its name in this light.

It is a day on which the whole Earth is alive. We found that around this mountain at Midsummer.

And now, this force is just as strong. What welcome energy!

What life! This time, it’s not just the Earth that is alive. Look at the sun going down over Melariff at 2:30 in the afternoon!

The view is from the 1100-year old Viking Farm at Saxhóll. A few minutes later, the sky revealed a dragon.

And just after that, many stories all at once, enough to meditate on for a year.

As the sun left and rain fell across it in the West, the energy lingered, not in the sky but in my self that was the sky.

And so we carry ourselves, just as the Earth, the Water and the Sky carry us. It is we who are spirits of Earth, Water and Sky.

The Secret Origin of Icelandic Horses Revealed at Last

Icelandic horses are very beautiful, especially in a winter gale. Icelanders will tell you that their ancestors brought them over from Norway by ship. Sure, guys.

Let me take you behind the curtains of that little deception. It might look easy to be an Icelandic horse…

… but like being an Icelander …

… it can be a little rough. Really tough on the hair, for one.

Not only that, but tense, like.

Makes a horse a little crazed, you might think.

Watch out for your ears.

Yeah, but that is all because horses didn’t come over on boats from Norway and continue on to create America out of a lump of clay…


…just as Icelanders aren’t vikings but the descendants of Norwegian farmers and their Irish slaves, who came here for the good hotdogs.

As for the horses, they live near waterfalls. It’s a thing.

Svodufoss

Note the horses being born above. You can just make them out below, too.

The paddock is nearby, where humans can keep an eye on the miracle.

Hólmskelsárfoss

Miracle? Yes. Here’s a foal just about to be born in the stream coming down from the falls.
Hólmskelsá

That’s how it works in a magical country. That the resulting horses look like the horses you might meet elsewhere, well…

… that’s part of the magic, too.

Now you know.

The Circle of Life in Arnarstapi

Arnarstapi is marketed as a quaint fishing village. What that means is tour busses from Reykjavik dropping off crowds, who line up at the fish and chips shop, not that fish and chips is anything other than a British dish, but what the heck.

Here’s the fishing fleet in the harbour. In the depleted seas, it survives by catching fish for the fish and chips shop.

The Dragons of Rauðhóll

On Midsummer Eve Day, we climbed Rauðhóll (Red Hill.)  I was enchanted by all the dragons still coming to live in this new tephra cone. Here’s the first one that caught my eye. Many dozens followed. I was surrounded!

I was fascinated by how each leg or wing of the dragon was a dragon of its own. That’s some very deep, persistent dragon-ness! It’s a beautiful volcanic site, too.