Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Green Witch's Report: Iceland, Day Two

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that, before reaching Akureyri, we did cross over into the Arctic Circle, officially making us "blue noses." Of course, we were sound asleep, but, well, there it is. :) We had a delightful day exploring Dimmuborgum, often described as a "weird, tumbled mass of indescribably contorted lava formations."  Icelanders say that trolls and hidden folk inhabit the rocks there and, if the sunlight hits them, they turn to stone.  Many Icelanders still believe in the hidden folk, or at least don't deny their existence.  This makes sense to me, as they are such a part of their ancient past.  The picture on the right is known as the kissing trolls.  :). Also, Gryla (pronounced "Greelah") is a troll witch who supposedly lives with her troll husband and sons in these lava mountains.  She was a witch with a palate for children and, come Christmas, would snatch away the naughty ones to be made into a tasty stew.  Yikes!  "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm tellin' you why"...cause Gryla will get ya!

You may think me mad, but our guide told us that hidden folk often will follow some people home.  I believe one followed me back to our cabin for, after this particular visit, strange things began to happen, such as our television turning on to a static station in the wee hours. This happened for days, despite the ship's people checking it out and finding nothing. I woke up once and both my palms were itching (I've since read that this is not unusual for empaths). Other strange things continued to occur until we were leaving Iceland and headed to Scotland. Perhaps he intended to get off at Djupivogur (pronounced "Joop-vee-gore") but, because of the fog we were unable to get to that port.  I invited him to come to my home but told him how hot it was and that he would be better off in Scotland.  After we docked in Scotland, all things returned to normal.  Seriously.
Anyhoo, we had a delightful lunch at Salmon River...see the turf roof?  So cool.  And yes, I had to try an Icelandic beer, mine being organic and light.  Our fare was mushroom soup, freshly caught trout served with fresh greens and herbed cold potatoes.  Yum. That's butter you see there off to the right, served on a slab of wood.

And we were off again, headed to Isafjordur (pronounced "Eesa-fyor-der") in the Westfjords, rarely visited by tourists because it is outside of the Golden Circle.  My kind of place. The picture on the right is where we were docked.  What a lovely view to wake up to!  That tiny red fishing boat on mirror-clear water caught my heart in the immensity of the mountains there!

Our excursion wasn't until noon, so we went in early to check the tiny settlement out.  Hello, Isafjordur!  The Icelanders promote art everywhere (I love that).  There is such a sense of freedom.  It is a place that has no police...only the Coast Guard.  The installation artist I wrote about in the previous post is one of the founding members of a contemporary art museum which has been created from an historical herring factory.  Yes, they love their art there.  Lori B., check out the crow art...or perhaps I should call it raven art.  The ravens are HUGE there! The size of buzzards!

And the charm of this tiny Icelandic village was communicated through its colorful houses and gardens...Are those whale bones I see among the ferns?

Quiet streets...we stopped in for a bit of tasty pastry and a strong coffee, and then headed to the knitting shop, where we were able to purchase our sought-after Lopi yarn.  :):):). And of course, there were Icelandic poppies growing in the backstreets...

The views along the coastal front were so tranquil...

Our quiet moment nestled in Iceland's beauty came to an end, as we headed out on another excursion, starting with tasting the water from a fresh spring.  It's the purest water I will ever drink in my life.

 Then off to a mariner's museum, where we were invited to partake of dried fish and "hakak" (not too sure of that spelling), fermented shark that had cured in the ground.  You see, their sharks don't have a urinary tract, so if you were to eat the meat it would be poisonous.  But somewhere along the way, the Vikings discovered that if they buried it in the ground for a time and then dried it, it would be edible. I politely declined (and glad I did because it takes hours to get the taste out of your mouth).  I did try their Black Death...seriously hardcore alcohol.  Just a tiny shot, mind you.  ;) The pic on the right was dear to me, as it is an antique Icelandic spinning wheel, winder, wool, and bobbins.  I'm quite sure that's Lopi yarn on the winder and in the basket.

Then off we took to a fishing "village" from the early 1900s.  It is so hard to believe that people actually lived in this way.  Life was incredibly hard and they suffered terribly.  Sixteen people lived in one of these huts...the other huts for drying salt and fish.  The pic on the right is sharkskin...see the spikes?  They used these for boots, smooth on the inside but the spikes great for gripping the ice and snow....amazingly resourceful people.

And we were off again to a tiny church, where a beautiful young girl sang several songs (a lovely treat), one of which was an Icelandic lullaby from the early 1700s, the words of which were quite harsh...but then, life there was harsh...

Next we were to visit a geothermal plant.  Geothermal energy provides all of their heat and electricity!  With so many geothermal pools, the Icelanders have harnessed that energy to work for them.  Awesome.

Off again to enjoy a fine lunch of soup, salmon, rice and fresh greens!  I like the way these Icelanders eat...yes, I do!  And I love their handwork...too bad I live in a place where I would rarely get to wear such beauty...The pic on the right is the HUGE waterfall, Gullfoss.  I like this picture because it shows the immensity with all the people walking along.  Click on the pic for a better view!

That's it for Day Two in Iceland...I'll leave you with this beautiful picture of the mountains, the rivers, the ocean, and lava fields, which stretch for miles...

© 2017 Nancy Duncan

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