Sunday, July 5, 2009

Iceland: Some impressions

When I was in grade 8, my social studies teacher told us about one of the biggest scams in human history. The tricky Danes named their giant glacier Greenland and their temperate tropical island Iceland. She informed us that it was in fact Iceland that was green and Greenland that was icy. While she may have been right that Iceland was green, I had always understood that she meant that Iceland, unlike Greenland, had good weather. She was either wrong or lying!

Six days after Iceland and I am still trying to readjust to life with nightfall and temperatures above 15 C. And while I was in the true land of the midnight sun (southern Iceland is as far north as Dawson City), I hardly saw the sun. When it wasn't raining (no surprise, it is in the middle of the ocean), it was often foggy. So it was more like midnight well-lit rather than all out midnight sun.

I can see where the moon references come from (lack of trees, lots of rock), but green moss as far as the eye could see reminded repeatedly that I was surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and therefore inherently not on the moon.

Aside from bad luck with the weather, Iceland was a really good place for a three-day layover.

The Icelandic people blessed the world with the word "geyser" (or geysir in Icelandic). And not only do they have the world's first named geyser (now extinct due to human contact), the geyser beside it goes off about every 5-7 minutes.

Hot springs and air filled with sulfur abound in Iceland, as do the small pools with boiling water. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of boiling an egg in the middle of a field. And in case there were doubts about what caused the bubbles, I got to confirm that it was 100 C water because my egg fully cooked in 8 minutes.

The other highlight of the trip was trout smoked in sheep droppings. Fermented shark meat was not at all good, but Iceland's excessive amounts of smoked meat (lamb, horse, and fish) made the whole trip worthwhile.

1 comment:

rahul said...

Amazing pictures!!!

Barcelona apartment

Thanks for sharing both the pictures and your thoughts.