Learning Lessons in Iceland

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There are several reasons why my latest trip didn’t turn out as I expected. Due to a pile of stressors at home, and the need, the necessity, to be kind to myself, I’d hoped for a relaxing trip, a breather. But I think that everything had already gotten the better of me, more than I’d realized. There was a lot of hiking and poor weather, and little sleep, and swollenness. Everything was new and unusual, and what I really needed was to spend nine days in thermal baths and spas rather than commune with nature pushing my body and mind even more than I’d already been doing. Post-trip, they were not happy with me. But now that I’ve had a little bit of time to relax and get into a healthier routine, I realize that this trip was exactly what I needed. It taught me not only to appreciate being home, but also to appreciate all the differences in life including the beauty and the struggles. Looking back at all of the photographs I took, I get it.

1. One of the first things I saw when I arrived was this rainbow in Arielle’s back yard. Now, to find that pot of gold.

2. During the first weekend, Arielle really wanted to pick blueberries. I was used to taller Louisiana bushes in the sun, not weeding through small grass in the cold sideways Icelandic rain. But I did it anyway. I felt much like this lone little blueberry at the time, solitary, nose dripping. But now, all I see is its beauty. Something to think about.

3 + 4. I am still smiling connecting with my fellow trolls.

5. I first approached them because I wanted a photograph. I do believe they thought I was coming to feed them. Sadly, it was due to my own selfish reasons. With their gait and wildness and magic, they instead fed me.

6 – 8. The walk was long, too long and too rainy. And the thermal bath we hoped to find was closed. Wah wah. But this apple, this apple may have been the sweetest, most delicious apple I have ever eaten.

9 + 10. We’d previously bought strawberries off the road, from a local farm, using the honor system. This time, next to another thermal area, Arielle paused to buy some tomatoes. Tasty little buggahs.

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11. I heart the sheep/rams.

12 – 17, . Nature can be painful, but it really is beautiful. Beach debris, a photographer on the Reynisfjara coast, cartoon-like Amanita Muscaria mushroom, Hvitserkur rock, Solfar Sun Voyager, and Rútshellir.

18 – 20. Iceland is full of waterfalls. Lots and lots and lots of waterfalls.

21. Thermal spring break! Ahhhhhh … the Secret Lagoon. I needed that.

22 – 24. Time for horseback riding at the Laxnes Farm. Thanks to these super Norwegian buddies, the day was made even better.

And then …

25 – 27. The Saga Museum is full of incredible Icelandic history and realistic characters. It was one of the coolest things I saw during my visit, and reminded me that I need to get in touch with history.

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28 + 29. Not only was there a great pic of dried fish, but also an interesting exhibit on female Icelandic seafarers at the Maritime Museum.

30 – 40. A few priceless city sites.  Rockall Embassy – so cool;  the exact mailbox where I posted my cards back home and elsewhere; I really love lace curtains;  from Hallgrímskirkja Church. Fantastic. And as for the kinder-like eggs, why is it that bringing these into the U.S. constitutes a $12,000 fine, but we’re allowed to have automatic weapons? Curiouser and curiouser.; marionettes hanging in Cafe Babalú; some pretty flowers and a wig; I really love the buttons asking if you’re happy or not with your service, whether in the airport or a grocery store; the Lebowski Bar – the city is full of American-style bars and foods (annoying); .

41. Unfortunately it was too late in the season to see one of these precious puffins for real.

42 + 43. Coprinus comatus, and across the street, a gorgeous boat in the town of Akureyri.

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44 – 64. I guess I’m a city girl at heart. But aren’t these Reykjavik visions part of nature too? A human’s thoughts, ideas, dreams and colorful touch.

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65 – 70 . Food/coffee/cake breaks: Reykjavik Chips; Boka Kaffi at Mál og Menning; last Icelandic meal at Keflavik International Airport food court; Reykjavik Roasters; hot meat (lamb) soup from a gas station – hot and delicious!; Iða Zimsen.

71 – 73. Food was good back at Arielle’s too including a delicious cod dish, Plokkfiskur; incredible frozen croissants from Délifrance (why can’t we get those in the U.S.??!!); and, yes, (sorry folks) horse with potatoes and carrots. It was delicious too, like corned beef.

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74 – 78. A scrumptious last Reykjavik meal from Tapas Barinn; Blue Ling and Grilled Lamb; Minke Whale, Icelandic Sea Trout and Lobster Tails; Smoked Puffin; Brennivin; White Chocolate Skyr. Soooooooo delicious!!

79. I didn’t eat at this puffin + whale spot, but I sure did think about it.

80 – 83. A nice evening of comedy on my last night in the city, pre-Tapas dinner. How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes. Best lesson learned, Þetta reddast! Look it up. xo

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