Sunday, May 1, 2016

I'll be back!

That's all for now folks, I will return to my beloved Westfjords soon.

Next trips:

June 17 - July 31
September 2 - 19
Dec 16 / Jan 17

Saturday, April 30, 2016

First cruise ship sees me off

The first cruise ship of the season has arrived today. I watch it pull into the harbor from my bedroom window. It’s overcast and drizzling, which is fine by me since it makes leaving all the easier. After an excellent cuppa with Matta, she drives me to the airport and hangs out until the plane lands.

I spend the next two days in Reykjavík with Súsanna, who has a bit of time to spare. We swim, lounge around in cafes, and enjoy the good life. There’s some kind of jazz festival at Harpa with free live music, so we even sit and admire a blossoming jazz band. Former Mayor Jón Gnarr is also in the audience. 

Tomorrow is a holiday and I will watch the parades and marching bands, then head out to Seltjarnarnes lighthouse for a nice walk.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A day of great variety

I’ve been spending the sunny days sunbathing. It’s so warm in the sun out of the wind, so I like to just sit on the porch with a good book and dream away the day. No need to race off to an adventure, I’m content relaxing. But yesterday was colder and overcast so I took a long walk up to the old ski hut, where there’s still a bit of snow. 

Today I treat myself to an unhealthy lunch at Gamla Bakaríið, where I indulge in a huge piece of chocolate cake and some coffee. I enjoy watching the people come and go. There are lots of tourists in town, all dressed in spandex.  Must be the Fossavatnsgangan competition ( How strange to see people dressed for skiing when there’s no snow and I’m only thinking of sunbathing. Well, it’s a different climate up in the mountains, so maybe things will be ok. 

In the afternoon I take the bus to Suðureyri for a swim. The pool isn’t open yet so I have a hotdog at the gas station first. Very empty shelves, yet very friendly people inside. At the pool I'm the only one there for a long time. The lady working is German and she brings the coffee pot right over to the poolside for me, pulls up a chair, and we have a nice chat. 

But the day’s not over yet. In the evening I pop out to the cinema to see the Jungle Book – one of my favorite stories as a kid. Everyone at the cinema is really nice, a man greets me at the door with a big
smile and after purchasing the obligatory bag of popcorn, I pick a seat among the 20 other guests. As I emerge from the dark theater at 10 pm the sky is aglow with numerous shades of pink, so I walk up the avalanche wall for a quick photo session. To top off an amazingly beautiful and eventful day, the cat later stops by for a late-night cuddle under the covers.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lighthouse breakfast and swim


It’s a sunny Sunday morning so I pack a thermos of tea, a sandwich and some grapes and head out on my bike. After the brief winter intermission, spring is back in full swing. I ride out the old road to Bolungarvík and spot the same old man wearing a snowsuit and walking his dog, who I bumped into here in January. Seems to be his daily routine and the snowsuit and dog seem to accompany him no matter what the weather is like. 

Scenic overlook
I have breakfast in the sun at the lighthouse overlooking Bolungarvík. Since the weather is so great I continue on into town and have a look around. I was here yesterday for a quick swim with Matta, but didn’t get a chance to look around. I have a look at the church, bike around the harbor and stop into Bjarnabúð, the tiny little co-op store. I chat with the lady inside who remembers me and Angela visiting in September and try to buy a yogurt drink but since the sell-by date has expired, the lady just gives it to me. Then I head to the swimming pool to bask in the sun. The thermometer says 15°C / 60°F in the sun. Most summers aren’t even this warm! Needless to say, my face is quite red from all the sunbathing I’ve been doing lately. 

Our house on the beach
On the way home, I stop at Ósvör to finish off the rest of my tea and breakfast. This place is a reconstruction of a 19th century fishing station. Generally you have to pay to look around but this time of the year it’s closed. Besides, I just want to sit in the grass and eat my lunch. Across the road is a short trail to a scenic overlook with a diagram of the mountain peaks and their names.  I always like to stop there to have a look and remind myself that Greenland is just 312 km / 194 mi away. 

I’m quite tired by the time I get home, but the day is still so beautiful that I enjoy a long walk on the beach.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gleðilegt sumar

Today is the first day of summer (sumardagurinn fyrsti) according to the Old Norse calendar, which divides the year into only two seasons – summer and winter. It’s always held on the first Thursday after April 18. The first day of winter is generally around the end of October and strangely no one likes to celebrate that one. But today is a public holiday marked with various festivities.
Tradition says if you wake up on the first day of summer and find water left outside has frozen overnight (or puddles, for example), then summer and winter are considered to have “frozen together”, which means the summer will be a good one.
Since the morning starts out with a few snowflakes, we’re headed in the right direction. Today the weather changes every five minutes, alternating between rain and sun. A rainbow appears for a mere 30 seconds over the ocean. I walk on the beach at noontime, go for a short jog in the afternoon. I don’t take many pictures though, this is the only one I've got to offer today.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The day after

I head out for my 6:30 am walk and although some drifts are up to my knees, there’s not a whole lot of snow. Just enough to cover everything nicely. By noontime it’s melting already. The sun is intense when it decides to make an appearance.   

In the afternoon I take a longer hike, up Seljalandsvegur, off onto the hiking trail, around the avalanche wall and down into Tungudalur. The snow is melting fast though and I’m certain it will be gone soon, at least in the village. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April snowstorm

 At 6:45 am there’s still no real sign of a blizzard. It got cold and a bit windy and there’s a light dusting of snow on the ground. 

At 7:30 am it starts, the clouds rush in from the ocean like a tornado and visibility is zero. The wind whips the snowflakes around so much that all you can see is white. 

The wind lets up for a bit around 8:30, allowing me to take a pleasant morning walk. There’s a good layer of white on everything now, and the town is sleepy and pretty. 

At the harbor I see two girls crawling out of a sailboat from Holland, and exchange a few pleasant words with them. They’re faces are so brown from the weather, making a stark contrast to the white snow and their winter hats. They’re definitely stuck here until tomorrow, it’s certainly not sailing weather.

The storm rages on all day with varying intensity. It’s a north wind and that means the wind whips in all the crevices of my poorly insulated bathroom, making it feel like a walk-in freezer. I plug the power outlets and cover the windows, but I still dread having to use the toilet. 

I venture out at the height of the storm for some spectacular pictures, and promptly drop my camera in a snowbank. It’s a true whiteout, I can hardly see a few feet in front of me. 

I don’t really feel safe venturing more than a few blocks from home. There are a few cars out and about, but no other people on foot. I have to get my camera back into safety and assess the damage.

I spend the rest of the day watching the storm from inside and working on the painting project. Although I was getting used to the sun and warm temperatures, this is really pretty! The days are so bright and long, and then all this white snow. I can’t wait to get out tomorrow for a longer walk and see the transformation.