Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Jaeja! Iceland!

I went to Iceland! It was an amazing trip. I had a great time from beginning to end.

The trip was led by quilter Gudrun Erla Gisladottir. Originally from Iceland, she now resides in Minnesota. This is her second Gudrun-led tour into Iceland; her first was last year, 2016, and she has another one going later in August 2017. If you get a chance to join her future tours, I suggest you sign up and go!

I'm still ruminating on all that we did. The names are hard to recall, because at first when looking at any words in Icelandic language, it's hard for this English-native-speaker to even recognize what is being described. The only Icelandic word I recognized was Reykjavik. And it took me a long time to learn how to spell that without relying on spell-check.

So, it's still hard to tell you where we were, but suffice it to say, we saw a lot and had a great time. The landscape there is so interesting. I felt like I was at a primeval birth of a planet. Iceland is an island of active volcanoes, and all the landscape is lava rock (basalt). Some spots are covered with large lava rocks and boulders, others are more meadow-like with grasses growing, and there are also mountains, waterfalls, lakes, natural hot water ponds, geysers, and a marked absence of trees. Fascinating!

The population of Iceland is 330,000. Two-thirds of that population lives in Reykjavik. The second-biggest city is Aukureyri which I learned to pronounce in Icelandic. Just ask me next time you see me. I love to say it. The other inhabitants mostly live in tiny towns or on farms, plopped here and there, seemingly randomly, sometimes in the middle of.. I hate to say nowhere, but they are definitely isolated.

Almost all the island uses natural, geothermal heat which is right underfoot. They just dig down, and there it is: hot water for heating homes, and water power creates electricity. Because of this natural source of heat and electricity, the country is clean and unpolluted. They are very happy and content. They are proud to be Icelanders and are strong family and community-oriented people. They were the first country in the world to have a democratically-elected female president, and the first to have an openly gay female prime minister. They are accepting and unpretentious. It's a lovely place to be.

(1)Photo is by a FB friend who happened to be in Reykjavik for one day and got a better picture of this church than I did.
(2)me getting a panoramic view of Reykjavik
(3)view from first night's hotel in Borgarnes
(4)I ate arctic char (and over the next days also ate lobster, shrimp, crab, cod, raw scallop pulled fresh out of the ocean, and fermented shark).

(1&2) Icelandic quilter (Sigrid?)shows us two bags she made and a quilt. We're standing in front of a sauna.
(3) a quilt by Gudrun
(4-6) me showing a tiny quilt (no room in suitcase for anything larger)
(7) Sue from ND showing her pretty quilt whose background she ice dyed

(1-2) along a beautiful hike we took at Arnarstapi on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

(1-2)Arctic Terns nesting on rocks (see the babies?) and a Puffin whose nest is in the hole behind it
(3)Boat captain called this an abandoned summer home and that people are no longer allowed to live on this island. When I got home and uploaded this photo, I saw that there is laundry hanging on the front porch, and there are two people wandering around in other photos of this same spot. Hmmm.
(4)very cool volcanic rock formations
(5-8)they dragged a net and collected a big pile of scallops and other sea life. The scallops were eaten raw, about two minutes out of the ocean. Yes, I had one. It was good! The other sea life was returned to the ocean.

a visit to the Textile Museum in tiny town of Blonduos (population 800).. woman who knitted those dresses lived to be 108 years old. Beth tries carding and spinning yarn on hand spindle. I teased her that she made "rope" but then I did not give it a try to see whether I was any better.

This post is getting very long, so I will post an Iceland Part Two in another couple of days. Til then, tata.

1 comment:

Kim said...

What a wonderful adventure you had! A beautiful place, and who better to guide the tour? :)