ICELANDIC ANTIPASTI

 

IMG_0271Once I’d heard The Calling, answered it, and set the intention of being so overjoyed with the experience of a four-day dogsled trip in Green-land that I would do it again in a heart-beat, the fear of my eyeballs freezing in their sockets while I slept disintegrated into a spray of silver confetti. The sparkling flecks floated westward to the tune of “Dust In The Wind”  while I traveled east humming “Best Day Of My Life”.

data=RfCSdfNZ0LFPrHSm0ublXdzhdrDFhtmHhN1u-gM,Cmj1EyGsj-XnrMPcvTLLTX1sJU_yJRRtuDDbU9IFKp3APvAuRjSAciCDCGJRTjJIrO_7ZrY_XhteqgBSYLp8gHBHJErH3TATcPQLDtttBUptILzugjfWvLpfo37zjKuwFQhbbLhcfmTVoEk1TfZfWeCSLR0jX-eCP42IzxgrO9cRj4vo4d9OmAN8qJh5a7xx-7loH-O15OVtaIttoqqortoormiit is a long way from California – 4,007 miles as the crow flies. For the rest of us, the distance is increased by having to rely on machines to get us there. As for the amount of time it might take for a crow to flap, float, and soar his way safely to the top of the world, I haven’t a clue. That would depend on the weather, his physical condition, and the amount of time he’d take to rest, refuel, and revel in the sights.

Ittoqqortoormiit from the sky

 

For me, it took 3 days, 6 hours, and 23 minutes including a 48-hour stopover to reach this remote village located about 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

 

For my longtime friend and organizer of the trip, Oona, and the then six strangers joining me on this 10 day journey of discovery, the travel time was less.

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First, we gathered in Iceland – a remarkable destination in its own right. The island nation is the antipasti, the first course on my arctic menu of sorts: the follow-up to last week’s Amuse Bouche. This geothermal wonder is the home to the most active volcanos on the planet, as well as the largest glaciers. It’s common for sulfuric steam to rise from bubbling puddles at the edges of pristine lakes – or, as our guide Helgi pointed out, for the occasional nincompoop to stick his fingers in them. Ouch! Bad idea!

boiling lake 4 Collage

Especially since it’s not unusual to find bricks of rye bread baking in the lava sands.

lava bread

Seriously! It’s genius! CHECK IT OUT HERE!

“Geysers are almost as commonplace as trees.” Helgi chuckles. “If you ever get lost in an Icelandic forest, all you need do is stand up.” Then he harrumpfs and gets about as serious as he’s able to. “Strokkur Geysir shoots 98 feet into the air every few minutes, so there’s no need to hurry.”

Joining the crowd of onlookers, I’m pretty sure that no one’s ever been tempted to poke around in this hole…

Geyser Collage

While traversing a mossy-moonscape

DSC00277

on the way to Gullfoss and a secret ‘Helgi’ waterfall

DSC00266

we stopped at the Thingvellir National Park where, for hundreds of centuries, once a year Icelanders would gather in summer to find wives, do business, and settle disputes. And lo the poor women who were deemed loose! ‘Twas the drowning pool for them – a place where tourists cross the river over a footbridge today.

The valley is also where you’ll find two of our fair planet’s tectonic plates pulling apart at a rate of roughly two inches per year. I opted to straddle the fault indoors at a gas station/grocery store where they covered a stretch of the rift exposed by a recent earthquake under the souvenir shop with glass. With one foot in North America and the other in Eurasia, I felt like Rhea, Queen of the Titans.

rift straddle

As magical as Iceland is from a geological standpoint, it is not without a mystical side, too. Only after much prodding did Helgi admit that many Icelanders believe they share the country with a significant population of elves, trolls, and faeries. “The huldufólk rarely reveal themselves,” he said. “But they will show their scorn when their homes are threatened – as in the case of a bulldozer constantly breaking down when it came near to a certain boulder being cleared to make way for a golf course. Once apologies were made and the road rerouted, the project moved forward without further issue.” Helgi would not admit to believing in the wee folk himself, but he also wouldn’t say outright that he didn’t.

” (#*$^^$^@&@%#$^%#^$)!(&$%$%@@) !!!!! “

What’s that Helgi? The plane is ready? Everyone’s on board? They’re not going to wait?

Sjáumst síðar IcelandSjáumst síðar Iceland!

goodbye Iceland  See you again in eight days…

 

 

 

 

About Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

I am an adventure seeking ponderer of the mysteries of the universe, writer of children's books (represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), and lover of anything involving armor, archery, or swashbuckling.
This entry was posted in ADVENTURES, ANCIENT WISDOM and TEACHINGS, ROAD TRIP, TRAVEL/PHOTO Themes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to ICELANDIC ANTIPASTI

  1. Lyn says:

    Sounds like you’re in for a wonderful and exciting time, Donna. Wish I could join you. LOL I’d take a detour to Finland, just a hop, step and jump away…sort of 😀

    Like

  2. Susanne says:

    Are you there now or home remembering? Regardless, what an adventure!

    Like

  3. Don Royster says:

    I have a suggestion for a novel that begins in Iceland. “Every Blade of Grass” by Thomas Wharton. Think you would enjoy it. Here’s a link to Consumed by Ink (https://consumedbyink.ca/2015/10/22/every-blade-of-grass-by-thomas-wharton/). Naomi is an awesome book reviewer and I think you will enjoy her blog. I know I do.

    Like

  4. Wow….what a great start to the adventure! Keep writing!

    Like

  5. pjonesnill says:

    Beautiful photos! How was that bread, it sounds fantastic.

    Like

  6. Carmel says:

    WOW!! Really amazing. What an adventure!

    Like

  7. rogersphd says:

    Being a doglover, and born in Buffalo, this is perhaps THE ideal travel adventure. GREAT photos as well, not sure where you snag the time. Marvelous writing

    Like

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