OK, let me just say that I was not intending to do a picture-heavy blog this week, even though my trip to Iceland was BRILLIANT (and Iceland Noir wasn’t bad, either …)
But then between getting back from Reykjavík and sitting down to scribble, this happened:
And no, the dark mark you can see towards the right-hand side of the sliced bit of finger is not muck, it’s where I got fed up of the damn thing splitting open again and stitched it back together myself over the kitchen table.
So, that decided it. Pretty pictures and captions it is.
For a start, Iceland is a quirky kind of place. Either this is a sculpture making a profound comment on the strictures of the modern middle-class working male, or it’s the Icelandic take on fitting someone with concrete boots and sending them to sleep with the fishes.
Quite a few of my fellow blog-mates were in attendance, including (l to r) Jeff Siger, Stan Trollip’s Better Half, Mette, Stan himself, me, Noir attendee author Susan Moody, and Stan’s other Better Half, Michael Sears.
The Iceland Noir events were very well-attended, including this one (l to r) with Quentin Bates moderating the New Blood panel for first-time authors Sarah Ward, David Swatling and Sverrir Berg Steinarsson.
They may look like native British ponies, but they’re really Viking horses and they wear their hair long so you can’t see the horns.
My wonderful four-legged friend for the day went by the name of ‘Lucka’ (with apologies for probable incorrect spelling). She was full of beans and I did indeed get to experience the Icelandic horse’s unique gait, the todt.
Everybody takes pretty pictures of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s geothermally heated spa, but the builder in me was fascinated by the materials used — slices of lava turned into the most amazing bricks. Imagine a feature wall made out of those at home.
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one you can walk behind. And yes, the spray was very wet and very cold …
… Better to admire it from a distance!
In order to go snowmobiling, we first had to get to the snow, and that involved travelling along a rocky track up onto the glacier that would have defeated a lesser vehicle than this Nissan Super Jeep.
Initially, the view of the Sólheimajökull glacier (and no, I have no idea how to pronounce it even after several attempts) was stunning. Then as we went higher a bit of a blizzard hit. Still, only three people managed to flip their Lynx snowmobiles over. When they told you to lean, guys, they weren’t kidding!
Yes, that is me under the fetching balaclava. And no, I wasn’t going to take any more than that off for a picture. It was flippin’ freezin’ up there. (Just in case you thought I was simply lollygagging, I’ll have you know I was engaged in serious research at this point …)
The most amazing ice bridge on the Sólheimajökull glacier.
Yet another photogenic waterfall — Skógafoss this time. By the time we reached this it was about ten past three in the afternoon, and the shadows were already lengthening but the light was beautiful.
What a stylish trio! (L to r) Barbara, Better Half of Jeff Siger, Annamaria Alfieri, and Jeff himself.
Our hotel, the Marina (it was located on more of a dockside than a marina, but who’s arguing?) was a converted paint factory. I loved the signs like this one in my no-cat-swinging-permitted ensuite shower room.
This life-size (ish) statue was indeed outside the loos in the hotel bar. No jokes about wood, if you please!
Even the airport security people at Keflavik had a sense of humour. Now that must be a first …
Sorry to be leaving. Determined to go back.
And yes, I did finally get to see the Northern Lights, hurrah! Sadly, I was relying on my smartphone camera which did not prove up to the task of capturing the eerie green glow for posterity. Just have to go back again with the full kit.
This week’s Word of the Week is aurora borealis, from the Latin aurora meaning sunrise, or Aurora who was the Roman goddess of dawn, and boreas being Greek for the north wind. The name was first used by Galileo in the early sixteen-hundreds. The meteorological phenomena are caused by charged particles coming down into the atmosphere and causing optical emissions. They are, of course, otherwise known as the Northern Lights or, in Icelandic, norðurlósin*.
*Thanks to our own Yrsa for the translation.