Saturday, July 1, 2017

A day with the girls



The sun is shining off and on today and the wind is mild, so it’s quite pleasant. As I return from my weekly shopping trip to Bónus on my bike, I see Michelle and Matta enjoying coffee on the porch, so I join them for a chat. 

After a thorough comparison of our footwear, we decide there are better things to do with such a nice day, like show the visiting college student that Matta is hosting some of the sights. The four Ms (all our names begin with M) head up the steep road to Bolafjall, which just opened for the summer a few days ago, and proper as we are, it’s age before beauty in the car with the old folks up front and the pretty kitties in the rear. I’ll leave the details up to your imagination.  

Bolafell (638 m/2093 ft) is the mountain that towers above Bolungarvík. On top of it sits a former NATO radar station, looking much like an alien communications tower. It took up operations in 1992 but has since been closed. There’s still a bit of snow on top the mountain, which offers a spectacular view ­ ­- some claim you can even see Greenland on a clear day, but I am content with seeing Hornstrandir in all its glory.
 
We meander back down the mountain to the other side of the pass at Skálavík. This is always a nice place to be when the sun is shining, and a few other people who are swimming in the river obviously feel the same. We spend a lot of time taking silly pictures, scavenging the beach for interesting items and just soaking up the sun.

But now it’s time for ice cream at Hamraborg after a day in the sun, and I always get the same thing – a cup of soft serve vanilla topped with licorice bits.








Friday, June 30, 2017

Dyrafjarðardagar


Dyrafjörður fjord



There is lots going on again in the Westfjords this weekend and it‘s impossible to see it all. This is “market weekend” (Markaðshelgin) in Bolungarvík, which is a fun family festival held the first weekend in July. In addition to the various market stands, there is drama, music and games for young and old. But I’m going to miss it this time. I’m also missing the accordion festival this weekend, which started yesterday. There are all kinds of people in town for this, mostly of the older generation with their campers. There’s music every night and dancing and I’m sure it’s loads of fun. 

On the beach
Accordion festival
Instead, Helga is taking me to Þingeyri tonight. We both like to swim on Fridays, and it’s great to combine it with the town festival, Dyrafjarðardagar. Not having a car, I’ve missed this festival every year so far. We have time for a quick swim before the pool closes and after a hot dog and hot chocolate at the gas station, Helga heads off to Haukadalur to listen to a talk on “Sex in the sagas”, given by Icelandic psychiatrist Óttar Guðmundsson, but I’m certain my Icelandic isn’t good enough to follow it so I stay behind in Þingeyri. 

Beach volleyball
Emmsje Gauti
After a walk on the beach to take some pictures, I check out the activities. First on the list, a beach volleyball tournament. I’ve always wondered when they use the beach volleyball pitches next to the swimming pool. It’s fun to watch the games bit, with the spectators wrapped in down jackets and the players barefoot. 

Then I check out the community center (félagsheimili) to watch a bit of Emmsje Gauti. Emmsje is the Icelandic spelling of MC, or emcee, so hip-hop is the name of the game. It’s already been going on awhile and people are coming and going, so I just walk in and watch a few numbers. The kids really seem to love it, and all the smallest ones are invited on stage and the little place is hopping. 

By now it’s already 9:15 pm and I’m getting tired, so I head over to Simbahöllin café to wind down with a Belgian waffle, a cup of hot tea and a good book until Helga returns for the ride home. The ride is very pretty, with sun out over the ocean, sparkling on the water, and clouds hanging low in the valleys. We’re both too tired for pictures though.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sun-Day!


Airport selfie, bye guys!

I haven’t seen the sun in about 10 days. It’s been a fairly cold June, with strong winds, temps never cracking the 10°C (50°F) mark and lots of rain. But the weather is kind today so I will make the most of it. 


After bringing Erik and Lei to the airport, I can still use the car a bit so I drive out to Önnundarfjörður to see Angela and the rabbits. 40 bunnies big and small run around the yard, also enjoying the sun after being wet and miserable for so long. I pick two of the gentler males to hold and pet. After being bitten by the wild little Mósa some time ago, I am well aware that my fingers probably look like carrots to the younger, more inexperienced fur-balls.

We enjoy a short walk around the yard and along the coast at low tide. There’s a kayaker paddling in the calm waters and the lush grass is dotted will a variety of wild flowers. There’s plenty to look at and explore. As we relax on the deck in the sun with homemade rhubarb ice cream and coffee, the chickens run around in the tall grass, clucking to one another.

Later in the day, I drive to Bolungarvík for a swim with the intention of sunbathing the rest of my body so it might someday match the color of my face and forearms. The pool is quite full with kids on a Sunday afternoon, but the sunbathing mission is accomplished well. 

After a quick dinner back at home, I head out into the mountains for an evening walk. I am looking for a spot to pick arctic thyme to dry as an herb or tea. A strong tea made from it is said to cure hangovers and constipation, but I can’t say I’ve ever tried it for that purpose. Anyway I do this every year and need to replenish my supply soon. But no luck this thyme. I’ll have to take my bike out into the mountains a bit further where it grows in dry, rocky areas. 
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Saturday, June 24, 2017

The foxtrott





It’s a very cold and windy Saturday morning, but we can use the car and go to the Melrakkasetur (Arctic Fox Center) in Súðavík. It’s always nice to just sit there and have a hot drink in their nice little café surrounded by books and information on the foxes. After warming up a bit and making sure Lei gets the t-shirt he’s been dreaming about (I admit that I am quite tickled with the apron, although I don’t get one), we spend quite a bit of time taking pictures of the caged foxes outside. 

Then we head to the Kaupfélagið, which is the local grocery store with a nice little book nook café, for some more hot chocolate. There’s just nothing much else to do on such a cold day.

But the weather improves a bit as the day progresses, so we take a nice walk along Óshlið. This is always one of my favorite spots. It‘s so pretty. After the walk and photo session, we've earned some ice cream. It's never too cold for soft ice with licorice bits.

 In the evening we attend the concerts of the 4th annual LÚR festival. This arts festival was created by the young people of the community and they organize and run everything and do a fantastic job. There’s a lot of potential among the creative and ambitious kids here in town, and it's good fun to hear the free music. 

There are a lot of activities to choose from this weekend. The summers in the Westfjords are full of music, sport, arts and festivities. Flateyri is having a street fest today and there’s a soccer tournament too, but even with never-ending daylight, there’s just not enough time for everything.