Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sígur Ros and ghosts at the foss

The whirlwind is beginning to wind down - hard to believe that we will be heading home to London tomorrow. We've had more adventures since my last post and miraculously, the weather although overcast (as is common) has been co-operative and we've managed not to get drenched except while standing near foss (waterfalls). The food continues to be delicious and my pants continue to get tighter!

We had another great road trip out to the "Golden Circle" consisting of Þingvellir (gotta love language-specific keyboards!), Geysir, and Gullfoss. Þingvellar is not only the birthplace of the oldest democratic parliament in the world - 1000 year anniversary was held in 1930 - but it is also the place where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are tearing apart at the rate of 2cm per year. Amazing geography/topography as well as a beautiful vista - reminded me of Northern Ontario, somewhat Group of Sevenish. When you think of how old all this history is and that people congregated here over a THOUSAND years ago to elect representatives...

We drove on to Geysir - after which all geysers are named - and met Icelandic capitalism face-to-face. This was probably the most commercial site we have visited so far but compared to North America it was very low-key and tasteful! We bought some souvenirs while the rain poured and when it let up we went out to watch Strokkur spout. Geysir is dormant but the smaller Strokkur is still impressive to watch simmer and blow.

The grand finale of our day - and what felt like a grand finale before our trip winds down - was our visit to Gullfoss, Iceland's best known and possibly most impressive foss. It is very wide and roars as it tumbles over two sets of rocky outcropping. Ridiculously, there is a narrow well-traversed path along side the foss with only a low rope dividing the no-go zones from the path. We walked right up onto the rocky outcropping over the falls - slippery, wet, NO BARRIERS - stunning views, soaked with mist, rainbow!! Incredible experience - all FREE!

But the real gift was awaiting me on the far side of the falls where David pointed out a single white swan resting on the rocky shoreline. Suddenly all the overwhelming emotions of this trip came pouring out and I stood there sobbing in the thunder and mist of this beautiful wild place, missing Chris more than I had at any other point during this trip. He brought us to this place and showed us things that we would never otherwise have seen or thought of visiting. I watched that swan resting by the water and told Chris how much I loved him and thanked him for giving us this singular breath-taking moment.

Our trip home was a quiet one - I think we were all lost in our own thoughts and memories and emotions. Dinner was another decadent gourmet feast at a hidden gem in the resort area of Laugarvatn: reindeer pate (tastes like Christmas according to Mark!), smoked trout, fresh pan-fried trout, grilled lamb, and of course decadent chocolate mousse for dessert!

Oh I forgot to mention - at the outset of our day we dropped by the Sundlaugin studio where Sígur Ros recorded their first four albums and David played the piano there!!!!

A few sight-seeing spots to still hit and some shopping before tomorrow´s departure. :-(

Bless bless (bye bye)! See you soon.


Lillemor Laidlaw said...

Dear Sandra
You are a wonderful writer -- so poetic! you capture the spirit!
Well Janis is coming..I'm leaving -- on a jet plane...
soon over Iceland and on to Copenhagen!! THIS has been a long journey! I have some of my dads ashes with me to spread with my moms!
good trip back! hugs Lillemor

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your last day.
It sounds absolutely beautiful. I'm so looking forward to seeing your pictures (and curious to find out if you actually *did* eat puffin).
Thinking of you today...

Amanda M said...

LOVE Sigur Ros.

I'm glad you shared your moment with the swan. It's amazing how tragedy suddenly makes us more aware of our surroundings and ourselves.

Thank you for sharing your travels with us.

Shelley Long said...

It sounds like a magical experience, and the photographs you've added are all wonderful (But where are the Puffins, she asks?) The landscape is awe-inspiring and the photographs make me want to see it for myself.