Or actually, in Iceland a little longer than originally planned.
Here my neighbours include elves,
But I still get out and ride my bike when I feel so inclined.
Like a little trip to Lake Myvatn, apparently that means ‘midge lake’. It’s famous for the different species of duck. I guess I’m lucky to be here before midge-season… this time.
It’s a peculiar area with pools of boiling mud,
angry steaming vents,and bizar rock formations.This is where the Yule lads live. 13 brothers who come out of their caves before Christmas and give presents or rotten potatoes to kids, depending on their behaviour that year.
Might sounds a bit like Santa Claus. But the story is slightly more grim.
They are the sons of two Ogres, Grýla and Leppalúði and were used to scare children into behaving.
In 1746 a public decree was issued to prohibit parents to frighten their children with the yule lads!
I didn’t see them. And anyway, I’m not afraid 😉
I pitched my tent near a wonderful hot water cave and had a dip in the scorching water.
Grjótagjá it’s called. And apparently scenes of Game of Thrones are filmed here.
I’ve never seen that show, but it is a good place for a bath. If you don’t mind 46 degrees.
I didn’t last too long, but it was a wonderful way to get warm before crawling into my tent.
if you look closely you can still see a hint of the Northern lights there. Even though at this stage the night doesn’t get totally dark anymore.
I pitched my tree under the one tree I found in Iceland. In the background you can see steam coming up. It’s from the Diatomite plant.
The water really is this colour!
Here diatomaceous earth, a fossilised mineral found on the bottom of Lake Myvatn, is harvested. It has a high silica content and is used as a filtration aid.
To me however it was ‘A magical blue Lake’.
And looking in the other direction I spotted a funny looking cloud.
But that’s not what it’s called. It’s actually: Altocumulus lenticularis duplicates. (or lenticular cloud)
I break my tongue trying to pronounce that, although it’s not as complicated as Icelandic…
One of the least useful languages to learn with only just over 300.000 people speaking it in the world!
Still I’m giving it a try. Since I’ve thrown my plans around and will now be staying here untill September (at least)
The lenticular cloud was hovering above Hverfjall, A volcano where you can hike around the crater,
I’d discovered the day before…
A high plateau where the road was closed for three weeks last month. It was impassable due to snow and wind. Rather inconvenient for everybody going around Iceland as the ring road takes you right through this area.
It’s open now, but I did discover it would be hard to find a place to camp as there was just miles of open space full of snow and wind.
So I rode on.
I came down the mountains that evening at 22.30 and found a Tepee!
Not what I would expect to see in Iceland.
There was no one around so I made myself at home. It was very comfortable.
The next day happened to be sunny! glorious! with little wind.
In fact it was the first day in Iceland I could wear my hat, without having to worry it get blown back to Australia.
And I rode along passing little old churches,
and sheep enjoying the outdoors.
I camped on a farm where the 14 year old daughter, who spoke perfect English, showed me around.
The number of sheep (about 450.000) far outnumber the amount of people in Iceland.
400 of those sheep are looked after by farmer Ásgeir
A wonderful Jolly gentleman who also happens to be father of Arngrimur. (who owns Alfheimar guesthouse)
All 400 sheep are pregnant.
and in preparation for the lambs there are a few jobs he could use a hand with.
There’s sheep where ever you look.
Even the farmers star sign is Aries. 🙂
It delighted me to find out that they’re not just numbers, every single sheep has a name that’s written down in the book.
This is Stór:
Just when everything was ready lambs started popping out left right and centre.
Lucky by this time Aldis, the farmer’s daughter, had arrived from Reykjavik.
The lambs have to be cared for 24/7 so there is enough to do.
Mainly I took pictures.
I have hundreds, can’t help it.
They are just too cute!
These are (probably) the only ones I post. I don’t want to be lamb-spamming…
After taking so many sheep foto’s the sheepdog decided it was time to get in the picture too….
I named him Jacob. He is a special as at exactly the same time a little boy was born in the Netherlands with the same name.
My sisters third son!
Not long and they will head over the hills where they stay all summer.
Usually I’d stay the mornings at the farm and then ride my bike back to the guesthouse.
I slowly saw the change from winter to summer,
So April 24th was officially the first day of summer, and a national holiday at that, I saw people jumping in the sea and walking around in t-shirts and shorts. Suddenly everybody is outside and even the weather fooled me into thinking it was warm…
Just a few days later a fresh layer of snow covered the paddocks and closed the road.
But the days are getting longer real fast! It doesn’t get dark at all anymore.
Which makes my torch pretty useless.
It also makes for the same jokes everyday;
“Quick, let’s go check out the Puffins before it gets dark! ”
It explains why there isn’t much need for daylight savings.
They are really hilarious. After spending the whole winter on the North Atlantic ocean fishing they come here to build nest and find a partner.
In the middle of town there is a fish factory.
Here are fish heads drying.
But one afternoon as I set down for lunch at the farm this horrendous stench came from the kitchen.
It reminded me of the sheep shed, but a lot worse. Ammoniac.
For some reason, a perfectly good fish is laid down to rot for a few weeks and in the process ammonia comes free. This product is then boiled and eaten. I kind of understood the rotten shark, the sour ram-testicles and the sheephead.
But why any one would put a fork-full of ammonia in their mouth I really do not understand. I did try. And my suspicion was quickly confirmed. It’s not my thing.[vimeo 96172665]
But lucky there is other things to eat and other things to do as well!
So today, the 23rd of May, is when I was supposed to fly to Canada.
But, as things never work out as planned, I arrived in the Netherlands yesterday. A two week holiday 🙂
I’m excited about exploring some more of Iceland over summer and then.. We’ll see.