Tag Archives: travel

Darkness in Iceland Signifies Warmth and Shelter

You want to stick close to it. What you want to avoid is water and ice.

Southeast

Let the sheep risk that stuff. Such is the knowledge of a people whose origins are in “settlement” and not colonization — a people for whom “land” is a “landing”, a being lifted out of the sea. You don’t forget a thing like that. The darned thing keeps coming back.

North

The Wrong Place in Iceland and You

Dyrholáey is a wonderful bird sanctuary, and you can drive up the cliff on something approximating a road and look out over the sea from the lighthouse stoop. Wondrous. But when it’s your first visit to Iceland, and you don’t know any better, you can also stop in the wrong place, with Italians and Germans dodging around you in their rented Yaris’s, and take an image of the lighthouse from the edge of the bird fields (there really is nowhere to stop, and walking on the grass and disturbing the birds is strictly forbidden), and see the Island (that is an island no more) plowing out to sea.

Being in the wrong place is best. You can find the unexpected end of the trail.

Or be plodding cold through the dawn fields, blowing on your fingers, dreaming of coffee, when suddenly it’s 20,000 years ago and you know, you just know, you can read the Earth like a book.

You can take a picture of a shop window that strikes you as incongruous, and years later realize that it’s not. It’s Iceland at heart. This is what comes of 1100 years of Irish women freezing in the cold.

Interchangeable, insulated tattoos. You just never know. That’s the thing. You walk down the street, and there it is: the Tower of Mordor!!!! With the nuclear clock at two minutes to midnight!!!

You can go to Kjarvalstaðir, the Art Gallery, to see Kjarval’s works…

… and realize that everyone else comes for the lunch! You can find a trail on the internet, then try to follow it through the, well, bog, but you get to know the mountain.

You just never know. Do it all wrong, I say, to do it right.

 

April Light on the Lagarfljót

Ice contains wisdom, of the year behind and the opening wisdom of the year to come. You can see it in the perennial sunrise and sunset colours of winter, but. April brings brighter tones, while snow storms still take the rest of the world away. It’s breathtaking. Bring your camera. Go East in April.

Leave the crowded south and its tourbusses. The great secret of Iceland is that it’s everywhere on the whole island. You don’t have to go to the crowded places. You will find there a sense of honouring and ritual. Out in the simple places, where no one else goes, you will find your self.

When you live on the beach, well, that’s nice.

But if you have a church on the beach, you build a wall. That’s nice, too.

A bit dark, though.  So it is. But not half so dark as the church!

Kind of a repetition of the motif of the cliff, really, but, heck, in this place, even the sea is a cliff wall.

Skriðnafell

The land has its way with us.