Skip to main content

The Iceland Report, Part One: Thank you, internet!

I'm back!  My trip was RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME ALL CAPS KIND OF FABULOUS!  Thus, it's going to take a few posts to cover just how great it all was.  But to start, I have some thanking to do.  In my last post I made a quiet, desperate plea for any potential connection with a local.  And I got one!  Granted, I met many fine people who were part of the tourism industry throughout my stay, but I was so pleased to have a conversation with someone who has a life outside hotels and tour buses (not that there's anything wrong with a life inside such things, and really, if you're going to work in tourism, what an incredible place to do so).  But man am I glad my friend Ryan was kind enough to drop me a line with an email for a friend he'd met long ago who happened to be from Reykjavík.  

This is one of those "this is how the internet can be so great" kind of stories.  See, I know Ryan from Princeton Theological Seminary.  Ryan is an amazing person with the most electric sense of humor and quick, huge smile that you might ever meet.  My memories of our mutual gaggle of friends entails much laughter over otherwise mundane things; riding the train into Manhattan, iron skillet meals at truck stop diners, and this coat we called The Beast.  

Kim, the owner of the Beast, with Ryan bedecked in Beast


Ryan with The Beast

Northeast Corridor line with Kim, Ryan and Heather
Ryan met Guðmundur through Trinity Lutheran while apparently we all simultaneously lived in Princeton, though it was another decade until I would meet Guðmundur.  Fast forward that decade and sadly I would have lost all contact with Ryan were it not for Facebook (and no, I don't love Facebook, but it has its distinct advantages for those of us who want to know how everyone they've ever known is doing, but don't want to pick up the phone.  One of my favorite features of Facebook is being able to see photos of my friends who've gone on to make a beautiful life for themselves. It makes me happy.)  

Anyway, Ryan was kind enough to send me Guðmundur's email, and Guðmundur was kind enough to meet me at Cafe Paris in Reykjavík city center for a cup of coffee and a hearty chat about what life was like there.  He taught me many things, including that the mayor of Reykjavík is a stand up comedian!  I already found the place charming, but this made it even more endearing.  He also tipped me off to some lovely places to eat, and a tour not to be missed (I was resistant because tours are so cheezy in the states.  Not the case in Iceland: they are so well done and allow you to see places you would never get to see if say, you were too nervous to rent a car in the middle of winter in Iceland because you never did learn how to drive on snow and ice when you lived in New Jersey a decade ago.  I'm so glad he talked me into it!  Pictures forthcoming in another post).  

Guðmundur in Cafe Paris which is not in Paris but is actually in Reykjavík


We had a delightful conversation about politics, the challenges of the economic situation in Iceland, and books.  It was a distinct highlight in an already mind-bogglingly cool trip.  

Thank you Ryan and Guðmundur!!

More to come soon, including more photos of the surreally beautiful landscape, like these:





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her.
It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments.
People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness.
I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom.



Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I want. Which means I can also mis-remem…

The 2018 Iceland Report: Part Last

The exciting (or at least the inevitable) conclusion of Part One and Part Two of Icelandic awesomeness....


Day Six: Ekra Cottage/ Lagarfljótsvirkjun to Höfn
This day was all about epic scenery. Kilometer after kilometer of stunning beauty. The ever-shifting sweeping views afforded us herds of wild reindeer, giant snowy fjords, a mossy valley, snow blowing across the road like dry ice, lava rock, waterfalls. It was a total feast.













Our halfway point was Djúpivogur which houses a collection of giant roadside marble eggs, each one fashioned after a particular type of bird's egg.



We arrived in Höfn and checked out the harbor and the free museum (a welcome respite from the windy harbor) before checking into our guesthouse. Which we had all to ourselves. We made one last meal of fusilli and bell pepper (fusilli meal #4 for the trip for those keeping track - I'll be taking a good long break from fusilli now) and read. I found a left-behind copy of The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurðar…

The Quarterly Reading Report

It's been waaaaaay too long since I posted a Quarterly Reading Report. I'm about to amend that situation. I have lucked on some pretty spectacular reading in 2018 so far--some recent publications but most not--and I'd be a bad friend if I didn't share these titles with you.

In the excellent crime detective/thriller department, we have Yrsa Sigurðardóttir's THE SILENCE OF THE SEA, which I've already posted about. It was the perfect book for atmospheric Iceland. I also loved Tana French's THE TRESPASSER. Set in Dublin, Ireland (I think 80% of what I love best about a crime detective/thriller is that it is placed in an incredibly interesting setting), the protagonist is a difficult (and therefore interesting) woman in a man's world working the hardest case of her life. The writing is super in this engrossing page-turner.

I got to fill in some sad gaps in my consumption of books written in the 80s and 90s and early Oughts. Also a thriller, Peter Hoeg's