The second half of our trip. Wilder adventures, wetter weather, and definitely more isolated.
Why read in bed when there is a window seat? Kyle and I are in Akureyri, Iceland's 2nd largest town (18,000). It's small, has a Main Street that's old, and then a Old Town that's even older. After dinner and shopping, we went to #Brynja, where the tastiest ice cream in Iceland is made (they use milk, not cream). It was good, but what was equally delightful was the "Free Books" sign on the street corner. A WAGON of books. Mostly in Icelandic, yes, but hardcovers, cloth-bound, marbled pages... My top find was "Afmalisdagar" ("Birthdays"), a red leather bound book printed in 1944. One page for every day of the year, with 1 Icelandic poem/saying by a famous person. Whoever owned the book wrote in the names and birth years of the people they knew onto the pages. But the writing is different throughout, so this book must have gone through several owners. So. Cool. #books #bookstagram #amreading #iceland #akureyri
In an Icelandic turf house at the Glambær Museum. 9 buildings, all connected, from the 18th & 19th century. Here is an "askur", a personalized eating pot. Always beautifully carved, and each person was responsible for keeping their own clean. Icelanders ate in bed. Being all in the same room for all activities conserved heating fuel, and with such little timber, they used a bed board to keep their covers tucked in the side at night and as a table during the day. Neat. #history #oldtimes #iceland #MyStopover
Today was one of the best days of my life. Crossed off a item on my bucket list: Have an adventure on horseback. I participated in Iceland's most popular horse round-up, in Laufskálarétt. Yesterday was a test run with riding an Icelandic horse for the first time. They are small, sturdy, very sure footed, and have 5 gaits instead of 3. Today, I rode with 400 other riders down a long, picturesque valley and herded 800 wild horses down to a corral, where 3,000 spectators had camped out to watch our descent from the hillside. This is where the farmers sort out their stock and take them home for the winter. The landscape was vast. Riders on the other side of the valley looked like little beetles--their herding dogs, like ants. Tradition, of course, demands frequent "rest breaks", during which everyone swigs from the same bottle of schnapps and a circle of men inevitably belt out a series of folk songs. My horse, Thengir, took good care of me. He loved to canter, and I will remember his smooth, lolloping gait through grasslands for a long time to come. Thank you #HestaSport for a great experience! #Laufskálarétt2015 #iceland #MyStopover #horsefever #horses
Inside Vatnshellir Lava Cave. A nice respite from the nutty weather we've seen today--sun, clouds, rain, snow & sideways hail. The only thing missing is a thunderstorm. Stacilites, stalagmites, iron rivers and glowing bacteria. Technically, we could walk to Italy from here. #crazy #iceland #MyStopover #caves #lavatubes #geology
There's no place like home. After 2 final days of non-stop rain, 13 days, 3,000+ kms on the road, 4 nights of tenting, 5 hours on horseback, 6 different hostels, 7 hot springs... we are older, Arctic-wiser, and grateful for such an adventure. This picture is not my house, BTW. It's Gröf Chapel, the oldest church in Iceland. It's been rebuilt several times, but it's charm lies in the authentic hardware (see gate & door, HUGE skeleton key, circular turf fence enclosing it and the surrounding cemetery, and tiny cramped pews. All in the middle of nowhere, in a field, off the road, backed by towering snow capped peaks. #iceland #MyStopover #church #history #home #travel