Looking back to the time before Covid, it’s amazing to think about how casually we made decisions and plans and then flew off to the far corners of the Earth.
One day in 2013 a few friends were having a few beers at Swamphead Brewery, and somehow the talk turned to places we haven’t been and always wanted to go.
And the next thing you know about a dozen of us were in Iceland for New Year’s Eve.
Quite amazing, really.
They take their snow very seriously in Iceland.
But that’s about the only thing they take seriously.
Oh, they take their statues quite seriously as well.
Grim and foreboding images indeed.
As though possessed by the very soul of unremitting winters in a land where the sun never shines for very long.
Which is not to say that there are not exceptions.
Reykjavik is a lovely provincial seaport.
A quirky mixture of Gothic and frivolity.
With some surprisingly contemporary architecture thrown in.
In Iceland the Blue Lagoon is not a movie about lost teenagers on a tropical island. Rather it is a hedonistic dip in a volcano-heated reservoir where one goes to sip wine and slather mud on one’s face.
Indeed, one can hardly walk around this land of ice and fire without having to sidestep vents of steam escaping from the ground.
Or raging torrents of water.
Or frozen blue glaciers.
It is an unstable land of grinding plates and erupting earth.
And remote, desolate landscapes.
That require monster trucks to get the tourists from here to there and back again.
They will take you to see tiny horses. Who were brought here by the Vikings….after they stole them from the Mongols.
Or tiny fishing villages where they will teach you to repair nets.
They are very proud of their Viking heritage.
They also take their fireworks seriously.
Very seriously indeed.
As seriously as their New Year’s Eve bonfires.
Quite an amazing land in the middle of nowhere North Atlantic Ocean.
This land of hospitality.
This land of ice.