Monday, June 22, 2015

Fog, dog and various reflections

Fog. The mountains are invisible, flights are delayed. The fog starts to burn off around noon, it stays low and up high there’s a blue sky. After work, I just sit in the sun on the porch drinking coffee, chatting with the neighbors. Their students from the USA are arriving today for a 2-week course at the university – they host students every summer. I volunteered to host one as well, but they didn’t want me. Only Icelandic families. Well, no hard feelings, I understand. 

Later I go for a bike ride out into Hnífsdalur valley. I pick that spot because the evening sun shines there nicely. It’s just a bit windy, but I find a secluded spot in the grass to eat my dinner. I listen to nature. It’s loud, even sounds like highway noise that I hear in the big city sometimes. But it’s just the mountains. The wind roars like a lion and the flowing water from mountain streams and waterfalls crash and bang. What a racket. Somewhere behind all that noise, a sheep bleats and a bird squawks. As I’m daydreaming a dog runs up to me and snatches my sandwich out of my hand! His owners are out for a walk up on the path, I thought my spot was secluded but obviously not for a dog with a good nose. 

I hurry back home for low tide. I love walking on the beach. The ocean is so blue today, it hurts my eyes. Reflection from the sky? There are no half dead creatures today though. I notice that the beach directly in front of the house is quite rocky this year, full of pebbles. Last summer it was real sandy. I wonder what the cause of that is.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Just settling in

I sleep about 10 hours and the sun wakes me at 5am, but I lie in bed a bit longer. At 7 I hear the cat scratching at the door, so it’s time to get up. I hurry to take a shower so I can drink my morning coffee outside in the sun. The thermometer says 20°C (68°F). But by the time I make myself presentable, clouds have rolled in and the temps drop to 8°C (46°F). 

First job, pimp my bike for the summer. I pump up the tires, oil the chain and it’s looking good. Take a short spin around town and later a longer ride to Bonus for groceries. I also hike around outside for about 3 hours today. Check out the progress on the avalanche wall. Inspect the progress of flowers and herbs. I wanted to pick arctic thyme but it’s a bit too early. The long winter has left nature a bit behind schedule this year.
At lunchtime I make waffles for the first time in my life using a recipe from an old friend. Although you can buy all kinds of waffle mix here, I prefer to make it from scratch. I top with plain skyr and fresh blueberries and blueberry syrup. Well, freshly imported from Spain, purchased at Bonus. It’s too early for blueberries here. Later I discover that it also tastes quite good with homemade rhubarb jam. Dinner is river trout (bleikja) and salad.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Back home in the icefjord

I sleep soundly until about 5 but just doze until 7, when I finally get up. I have an early flight to catch. The taxi driver to the domestic airport is a friendly guy and we chat in Icelandic, I’m overtired and haven’t spoken it in nearly 6 months, so it’s quite rusty, but it still generates a compliment from him. No matter how poorly one speaks the language, it’s worthy of compliments. The locals appreciate the effort made to speak it and understand the difficulty learning it.   

I check in just fine, ask for a window seat, and for the hundredth time, I get a seat right next to the wheels with very little view. I think it’s obvious if I specifically ask for a window seat, then I’m interested in actually looking out the window and might appreciate a seat with a better view. Granted, the plane is so small, it doesn’t matter where you sit – you will always have a large piece of wing or engine in your view. There are about 30 passengers travelling to ISF today, there are plenty of empty seats on the plane.
At the tiny ISF airport, I collect my bag and bump into my friend Angela’s husband, Peter who is here picking up some guests. He has room in the station wagon so I can ride along. The weather is simply beautiful and welcomes me home with inviting arms. I unpack, buy some groceries, and visit the neighbors for coffee. The cat has gotten a bit pudgy and she’s more calm and cuddly now the older she gets. 
I don’t do real much all day, I’m really tired and take two naps. I make a fine early dinner of lamb and carrots and buy a waffle iron, ready to try my first waffle experiment soon. Later I walk on the beach and discover a purple starfish. I am torn between putting it back into the water and trying to save it, and taking it home to let it dry out and garnish my window sill. It’s still very soft and squishy but seems to be dead. I push it back in the water after a photo session.
There are also two cruise ships here today. The tourists are friendly and considerate and no one seems to mind them a bit. The car tourists are another story. In the evening a German camper van parks in our parking lot and I can see the people having dinner. That’s ok but when I wake up in the morning, they are still there. A public campsite is just 100 meters down the road. I don’t like that one bit.