Saturday, February 4, 2012

Iceland mostly and World Pentax Day

As the days get longer and this excuse for a winter seems to fade little by little. My thoughts turn to the "land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow." Iceland. Especially the northern part where it looks like this today.

Their snow has been melting for the last few days, but it can still easily occur for the next few months. This is (was) a live shot from   Pólar Hestar
It is the old farm Grytubakki about 25 miles north of Akureyri near the village of Grenivik.

It is across the Eyjafjördur from where my grandfather was born. My brother and I stayed here back in 2007 when we took our father's ashes back to the land of his father.I had been busy with work and school and didn't have much time to research where we were going. My thoughtful, and occasionally brilliant, younger brother made the arrangements. Here is what we saw when we arrived after a nice drive along the fjord.
 Our hosts,  Stefan and Juliane, were very kind and knowledgeable. They took care of us when we needed it and left us alone when we  needed to be.

The food was excellent and served in their dining room where I felt comfortable and very much at home. I have cats, dogs, horses, and chickens here on my farm and they had that and sheep, as well. I don't recall any chickens, though. I got to go riding on their Icelandic horses ( and learned the tolt, a unique gait) with one of the three absolutely lovely German girls working there, Miriam. Here we are out on the trail.
 Later, Stefan called around to his neighbors and then took my brother and I to an old abandoned farm on the fjord where we could put Otto's ashes in the sea. He left us for a while so we could complete our mission (which was actually the main reason we went to Iceland). This is where we were on the shore of the longest fjord in Iceland where the Eider ducks were swimming about 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle. It is a magical place to me, and I even thought I saw some of the "hidden people" (elves) in the rocks and behind the ruins.
The three or four days we spent here caused me to fall in love with this volcanic rock in the middle of the North Atlantic. The more I learned about the culture, the arts, the people, caused me to start reading for pleasure again and consider getting more serious about photography again. It seemed to draw out my sleeping interests and bring them back to life. The blogs I started reading gave me more insights. I started daily reading the Iceland Review, edited by my distant, but infinitely smart and lovely cousin Eygló. 
Our common ancestry diverges in the mid 1700's, but we seem to have a lot in common which gets me to wonder about the strength of genetics (the entire Icelandic genealogy is available to all Icelanders online from Decode Genetics).

I have to give my wife, the Cooker, a big "thank you" for understanding my affair (obsession?) with this amazing island nation. I wish I would have started it so much earlier in life, but it gives me such great pleasure now. I will leave it for now with this peaceful picture from behind our cabin at  Grytubakki.
Click on any of these pictures for enlargement.

Speaking of pictures, today is World Pentax Day, where all the Pentaxians in the world take pictures and send them in to contribute to an album of the best stuff. The really cool thing is that there are about 40,000 of us on this forum. That will give a photo survey of today on planet earth by people from all over the place. What a concept! Hopefully, I will have something decent to offer by the end of the day from my little corner of the planet.


  1. I love to search the earth on Google Earth and spent an entire evening not long ago in Iceland. Ever since seeing the amazing waterfalls and fjords I too have had a longing to go there.

  2. What a great post. Do you think you feel such a strong bond with Iceland because it really is in your blood? I had to laugh when you mentioned Eyglo - I love her writing!
    I also went horse riding in that area and I'm wondering if it was the same company that I went with. We were a group of screamers rather than good horse riders.
    Do you think you will be making any trips to Iceland soon?

  3. Does the US still have a base in Iceland? Years ago, we had an AF friend who was stationed there who wrote to us regularly to say how he loved it. I look forward to more of your obsession.

  4. Mr.C, it is an amazing place!

    Irbii, there are quite a few horse trekking places there, so it's hard to say. A great way to travel the countryside, though!

    Nance, the based closed in 2006, but is being utilized for other things, like a data center last I recall.

  5. You speak of your 'native' land - the land of our fathers IS our native land - with so much longing and reverence as I do of mine. It's true that home is where our loved ones are, but the pull towards 'Heimat', the older kind of home remains strong throughout life.

    I want my ashes to be tipped into a river that flows towards the North Sea, I want to land on the shores of Europe.

    Iceland is a magical land, I am sure you saw the spirits and I a sure one or two followed you when you left again.

    PS: you were the only commenter on my blog who commented on the paragraph in which I address the reader directly. Is it possible that you were the only one who noticed?

  6. Friko, it is a very strong pull, sometimes an ache that can be set off by the smallest reminder. I read most blogs as if they are a conversation with the reader as most seem quite personal in nature. I'm the only one? Really?

  7. Oh I have so many places I want to visit...Iceland is one of them. Thanks for sharing photos of such a beautiful and magical land :-)

  8. Amy, it's a stark but beautiful place. Very raw when you get out of the city.

  9. Iceland is definitely on my list to visit.. IN THE SUMMER!

    My only time there so far was in the airport... I think there is WAY more to see than just the airport! :-)

  10. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting. I very much enjoyed your post about Iceland. Someday I may have to visit. It is a lovely country. Your photographs are professional!

  11. BF, Anyone who uses a donkey for an avatar has got to be worth reading!