After finishing the National Day refreshments we headed off to the host parents’ summer house. The overcast was breaking up and there were bits of blue sky here and there. Móðir had said the trip would be about an hour and a half. From Hafnarfjörður, we passed through a bit of Reykjavík but were soon out of city, heading south-east, traversing a big plain with mountains in the distance. My sister mentioned a ski area off to the right, which she’d been to during her time as an exchange student. The road contoured downwards, and plumes of steam vented from the hill sides.
We motored across another plain. Oh! The famous Icelandic horses in fields along the roads. Signs for horseback riding excursions. We passed by the foot of some hills, Faðir pointed out tracks from where they were taking materials for roads. We passed over a big river at Selfoss. Móðir pointed out Mount Hekla ahead of us in the clouds. We passed greenhouses where vegetables are grown, sheepies, cows, giant marshmallows (hay/silage bales), and strawberry marshmallows. (Bales wrapped in pink – I never did find out if that signified a different flavor or what.)
The house had been moved from the Westfjords. The host parents had bought it out of ad, having seen one like it, but not the exact one they bought. They put in the foundation – they showed us pictures of that and the house being moved in. They’ve done all sorts of work there, including planting 2500 trees!
There was a scuttling on the roof and an eerie call which turned out to be a ptarmigan! Móðir mentioned getting blueberries – which we were too soon for. The vegetation wasn’t showy, but if you looked closely there were many subtle but beautiful flowers.
The house is set up on a hillside, with a sweeping panoramic view over a plain with a ring of mountains in the distance. Faðir pointed out Skálholt, which had been the bishopric. He also pointed out a bridge, which is where four rivers come together. He said sometimes ice floes will come down on the glacial rivers and jam up there and flood the plain, that is why the houses are clustered on the high spots. When it floods the native/local horses know enough to get to high ground, but those brought from other areas need to be rescued.
At 2300 it was still light – there was a window of “sunset” over the distant mountains and below clouds then opened and closed, giving a fascinating play of light. I sat and enjoyed the view and the quiet expanse. The occasional flicker of headlights in the distance gave a sense of scale to the vastness. It’s oddly comforting to once in a while be reminded just how small we really are.
July 17, 2016