salutations!

Nous sommes ici à Paris! I appreciate night hours with darkness but still wake up in the middle of the night and feel like I lay awake for hours. It will be nice to be here for more than a week. Here’s a video of our current home away from home.
We had a great visit with my parents in Iceland. Good to have time with them.  Good for my dad to see Iceland again after 60 years.  It worked out really well meeting them at the airport. We all arrived at the baggage claim at the same time after breezing through customs. Almost seemed too easy. Finding a place open for breakfast in Reykjavik proved more challenging. Navigating unfamiliar winding streets with long difficult to pronounce names was sort of comical –a scene sure to be repeated many times on this journey. Fortunatley for us, most Icelanders also speak English. The Icelandic language (Íslenska) humbles me. Although spoken by a very small percentage of the world population, (the population of Iceland is only ~ 320,000 and apparently sheep out number people) the Icelandic language is a defining aspect of the culture.   And such lingustic purists!  My mom read somewhere that the Icelanders spent more time discussing how to refer to HIV than how to prevent it.

If interested in learning about Icelandia, I highly recommend reading The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley. Fun, informative fiction.  Great passage about the hundreds of ways a noun can decline: “A horse is a hestur.  Unless you’re riding it or hitting it or even just looking it at it, in which case it’s no longer hestur but simply hest.  Take something from a horse and suddenly it spells itself hesti. Walk over to it, presto change-o you’re looking at hests…..Horses in plural are hestur, unless you’re talking about them, in which case they’re hesta.  Sit near them and you’ve got to start calling them hestum.  Bring some hay to them, they turn back to hesta.  And that’s just if they’re horses in general.  The horse in particular is hesturinn.  (You attach the the to the back of the horse like a tail.)  But try to pet the horse, it’s hestinn.  Take something from the horse, it’s hestinum.  Bring water to the horse, it’s hestsins.  Once there’s more than one particular horse, you’ve got hestarnir.  But watch out: touch them, brush them, look at them, say anything about them, even one word, they turn into hestana.  Stand opposite the horses and you’ve yourself hestunum.  Bring them water….”

The first three nights we stayed on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula at the base of the magnificent Snaefellsjokull Glacier in the small ‘town’ of Hellnar.  We were lucky to have beautiful sunny weather while there.  Near our cabin was a little cafe (with yummy waffles) overlooking the Badstofa cave which has an opening and is filled with birds.  The rock formations along the coast in this area are amazing.  We went to Songhellir, a good cave for singing.  My favorite place was the beach at Djúpalónssandur/Dritvik where scraps of a fishing trawler wrecked in 1948 still remain.

 

We had a lovely lunch at the Budir Hotel one day.  I tried a few bites of lamb at dinner one night at Hotel Hellnar.  Never had lamb before, pretty good for red meat.  The sheep roam and graze freely and supposedly their moss diet makes them especially tasty.  Went out for a run one morning and saw three sheep huddled at the front door of the church, desperate to get it in, I suppose!

For the remainder of our time in Iceland, we stayed in a house in Reykjavik.  Close enough to walk to town but far enough out to hear only one drunk group of late night singers.  The house was filled with light which was nice during the day.  The sun never set but only hovered at the horizon for about four hours each night.  The boys slept well in ‘Narnia’, a dark cozy enclave accessible through, of course, a wardrobe in one of the bedrooms.

We ventured to the sites of the Golden Circle one day and relaxed at the Blue Lagoon another.  My hair still hasn’t recovered from the ‘healing’ waters though.

More about Paris soon….

photo credits: really cool pics of iceland are probably from nordica photography, house photos from owners’ sites