30 July 2013
One of the tenors was the first to show up, and he answered "ég tala bara íslensku" when I started talking to him. That did not prevent him to explain that this was also his anniversary, he had been singing since the church was built. "Ég er gamall, sjötíu ára" he said when I looked confused - he did not look like a 70-year-old.
He also told me that his son lived in Norway and "hann hafa tvær dætur, ég er afi!"
He ensured himself that I understood what "afi" meant and repeated that his son had two daughters. "Farfar, bestefar" I replied. He repeated me and was happy.
The most important was now said, and he had to join the other members who now showed up one by one.
Hildur - one of the farmers in the area - gave me a self-ironic anxious look. "That is Hekla. It uses to have an eruption every 10 years, and now it is 12 years since last time."
27 July 2013
She also warned me about the tides. The tidal range is high, the sand beach shallow, and tourists have been trapped in flood tide and found themselves on a sandbank far out in the sea and had to be rescued.
"Stupid tourists" I replied.
"But you are not stupid?" she asked.
"No." I said.
25 July 2013
"Being human is more than being usefull" - is an old saying.
After all the other tourists were gone, only M. and I was left. She was a successfull engeneer who had used all her energy to build up a company. Now the company was sold, and reorganised - and she quit. And she took a 4 week long holidays around Iceland alone on bicycle to think over lìfe.
And lying outdoor in a natural made hot pool, seeing a beautiful landscape constantly changed by inner and outer forces - fire and ice, and standing still some hours in the cold rain and warm steam from a regular - but all the time unpredictable - breathing hole in the earth, make her face a deeper part of herself.
"What is gold good for?" the children asked.
"You can hide it a place were nobody sees it." mr Happy answered.
24 July 2013
23 July 2013
A thriving fishing village.
Except for the group of eagerly discussing elderly men sitting around a table in the café at the harbour, I suppose the inhabitants was either out in their fishing boats or in the factories.
But Kristinn - a man in his best age - came over to me at the quay, wondering who I was, and started to explain me everything he could about Icelandic horses, fishing quotas, economy and bank interests, EU-relationship, language and history before other duties called.
Margret is the co-founder and -owner of one of the the fish processing companies in the town.
She is showing a group around when I unannounced enter and asks me to take some cups of coffee and wait a little till the other visitors have left.
She starts with showing some video clips from fishing boats in rough weather, and underwater footages that show cods eating the bait and hooked on a line.
After that we go out on a gallery in the processing hall where we follow the whole process from the fish coming in and is sorted, till the high quality fillets are laid in insulated boxes and sent by air to continental cities.
And all the time we are of course discussing history, tradition, cooking (fish and dried lamb), languages and their words, children and education, economy and - of course - the EU-system.
But the plane does not wait for me, so I have to come back some other time to continue the interesting conversations.
15 July 2013
It is raining most of the time.
Commercial posters and a sculpture in the central part of the city emphasise the mood.
But my Icelandic host says that "bad weather" only is a state of the mind.
So I started the day in the icelandic way - a visit to the local bath.
Some laps in the 50 m pool, a couple rides in the water slide, and then a rest in heitir pottar - one warmer than the other. And everything outdoor in the chilly (ca 10ºC) weather - but warm water.
Most of the people there were retired - I was probably to late to see someone at my own age. And I think I was the only non-local.
Splendid outdoor life.
The building of it was halted during the worst part of the financial crises, but with renewed optimism it is now completed and rises proudly as an exclamation mark behind the people's strength and surviving mentality.
Only the concert organ are not bought in yet so the place for that is empty - but ready. The city's grand concert organ is still the one in Hallgrímskirkja, and the recent cleaning the pipes of this costed several million Icelandic kroner.
But one day there will be raised money to an even finer organ in "the harp".
The nation's new Concert Hall "Harpa" can be seen behind him.
He smiles and says "yes" when I ask if he get anything.
He is not quite sure what the fishes are called in English. But I ensured that they are probebly called the same in Norwegian. So with satisfaction he tells me that he get þorskur and bleikja.
We did not conclude what "bleikja" was called in another language - my attempts to describe the fishes I could think of, didn't lead to a clear understanding. But I promised that I should google it when I had an opportunity.
(Written at the cozy 1960'ish retro Stofan Cafe downtown Reykjavik. They made a good toast for me and an extraordinary tasty double espresso.
Enthusiastic discussions in a nordic language with a charming accent is summing from every corner.)