Thursday, May 31, 2012

Camping at Greens Lake

[click to enlarge] To celebrate having conquered Iceland, we went camping. Yep, we did. We spent all day Friday gathering camping supplies from family and friends. We were still jet lagged, our bags were only partially unpacked, and I carried our passports and international driver's license around for the next week. But we did manage to drive out to Greens Lake by the Red Canyon Lodge near the Wyoming border. We went with the H, the A, and the M families, and when we got our walkie-talkie, Will decided our handle was "Big Schnitzel".
Molly the activist
After a very VERY cold night. We probably would have done much better in our tent if we'd just realized how cold it was going to be. As it was we were much more prepared the second night and just wore everything we'd brought.
Sarah, who managed to look fresh as a daisy despite a cold and long night. It was cold, there were kids running around late, then coughing, vomiting, and gagging while cleaning up. Pretty exciting. 
Beauties on the camping couch.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy 15th Anniversary

I'd follow you to Iceland, Schatz. Love you!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Blue Lagoon

On our last day in Iceland, we went to the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport. It is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. Also not bad on a layover, since it's 20 minutes from the airport and they have busses coming and going.
It is geothermally heated seawater and also has silica and algae in it. It was very nice to soak in, especially when it was windy and rainy.
We swam all around in that lake/pool. They give in-water massages in one section, and there are big wooden bins you can help yourself to scoops of silica-algae masque.
There. Don't we look reinvigorated?
There is the swim-up bar in the middle.
This is the naturally occurring stuff right outside the spa.
And a close up of the lava rock and the minerals and water. It was pretty dramatic.
We made a two minute stop on the way to the airport to take a picture of this typical farm with the dikes and sod roof.
Rob with his boiled brown bread and salmon -- two of the things he loved best about the trip. If he could have gotten skyr through security, he would have been holding that too!
And goodbye to Iceland. I hope we'll come again!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

All Toes In The City



After our extreme road trip on Tuesday, Rob declared that he would not step a toe out of Reykjavik on Wednesday. So after our usual breakfast of bread, fruit and skyr (Icelandic yogurt and believe you me, it is the next big thing -- Martha Stewart already has it in her fridge) we wandered over to look in the cemetery by our house. It was not only historically interesting, but botanically as well -- it has some interesting microclimate going that allows them to grow bushes and shrubs there that don't survive elsewhere.
We meandered back down to Lake Tjornin
 Through the City Hall and the municipal buildings
On our way to the city museum of Reyjavik. Rob's friend Werner had recommended it highly and we take him seriously because he works at the city museum of Vienna, which is a stunning museum. We were impressed here too -- you could walk through it at a fast pace and see everything, or you could sit at each station and watch videos, read books, pull out maps and diagrams and on and on. We stayed well past lunch time and then realized that if we were going to our next stop, we'd better run.
So we jogged over to the Icelandic National Gallery, which had some great installation art like this:
And this: my favorite was a big metal case full of transparencies of lots of the waterfalls in Iceland. When you pulled them out, it played a recording of the sound of the waterfall. That was five minutes that we thought the kids would enjoy. They would have whined the rest of the day.
Then it was 5:00pm and I was what Rob's colleague calls "hangry" which is angry because you're hungry (how have we not thought of this ourselves? how have we lived without this word?) so we set off for somewhere to eat.
We finally settled on Icelandic Organic Fish & Chips which were good.

Mango salad, rosemary potatoes, haddock, ling, with a lime & coriander sauce. Mmmmm. I would eat it all again right now!
We walked along the harbor to the opera and slipped inside to get a break from the wind. It isn't that the wind is cold, just that it's relentless. Phew! The opera was very nice inside. The windows on the outside light up at night in different patterns; a photographer's paradise.
I took Rob to the Ship of Forks.
And then he dragged me to the end of the visible town to see this church. I was too tired to look it up at the time and it still makes me tired looking at it now. It is called 
Háteigskirkja and was built in 1965. 
I sat there on a bench while Rob took pictures and then hobbled home, ready for bed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dance Festival and the Last Day Of School!

Friday morning we all went over to Wasatch to see the boys dance. Here is Sebi sitting with his class. I got to know them when I taught them about the community, economics and politics -- they are another bright and lively bunch!

Another lovely mother took this video, but she did a pretty good job of getting Sebi dancing. Looks like I held him back a year or two, doesn't it?
Will the graduate and his Auntie Betsy, Best Teacher In The Land.
Sebi on safari.
It sprinkled and drizzled through the program and cleared up as soon as the flag came down.
And Will did the maypole dance again. Here he is with Julia, daughter of a guy that Rob has sung with and known since college.
And one last one levitating with Emma. Huzzah! Hooray for summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jökulsárlón

On our own, Rob and I decided to drive across the entirety of the south side of Iceland, all so that we could see essentially a giant ice cube tray on the other side.
 We stopped first here at the harbor closest to the Vestmannaeyjar Islands. This is where my grandmother's grandmother was born and it has a fascinating history which includes slavery, murders, and volcanoes. We looked into visiting, but the schedule didn't work out and I would have heaved most of my internal organs overboard on the ferry ride over. I'll just have to go back and see it on the next trip!
 Next to that Rob wanted to stop and see this waterfall. It is called Seljalandsfoss and I found out that it was a waypoint during the first leg of the Amazing Race 6 (Wikipedia is just so informative!).

You can crawl back behind it.
So we did.
Just beautiful scenery everywhere
[click to enlarge] This shows more of the drive -- there was so much! Icelandic horses and lambs, lupines, rocks off of what Rob called the Cliffs of Insanity, the harbor out to the Vestmannaeyjar Islands, and what Rob's friend calls "teddy bear rocks". There were miles upon miles of each of these landscapes. Here are some of the bigger scenes:

 There were lots of hillside farms along the drive. Green pastures, waterfalls, volcano directly above it . . . (the one that went off in 2010 and stopped all the traffic across Europe, Eyjafjallajokull). These are a hardy people, inured to catastrophic natural disasters.
 We drove through two sections like this -- it looked like miles and miles of parking lots with rivers running through them.
 And there were nearly always glaciers above us. Finally we turned the southeast corner of the island and headed directly into a terrible rain and wind. It was so bad that we nearly missed our destination:
 Jökulsárlón, a lake at the edge of a glacier. When chunks drop off of the country's largest glacier, they plop in here and float out to the beach. I left the boat and two guys in to give a frame of reference.
 Why are some of them so blue? We never did figure it out.
 We looked at the pictures when we got back and said "It wasn't that bad! Why didn't we stay and take more?" But look at that rain on my coat and the wind on my hood. It was gale force. We took as many pictures as we could from the car.
 Even after doing that we still both got soaked. It was plenty cold. And wet. And certainly windy.
 The sea birds were even coming in to get away from the storm. We saw one lone seal as well.
 Yay! We made it! We just drove four hours to freeze out here in the rain in front of giant ice cubes!
 Then we drove out to the beach which, in better weather, is absolutely stunning with the pieces of ice melting on the black sand. I don't think we could stand to be out there more than two minutes, and I was surprised that any of our pictures turned out, because we really couldn't see anything while we were there!

 We drove back around on the other side and stopped in for cake and hot chocolate to warm up. If we had been willing to freeze, there was a group going out in an amphibious boat while we were there. Some of them were only wearing short sleeves and flip flops. Brrrr!
We turned our car around and headed back for home. Iceland in the summer is a great place to go exploring, because you almost can't drive in the dark. We made it home by 9pm or so and it was still two hours before sunset!