Friday, August 31, 2007
It's a 'What I did on my holidays type of post'
Here I am at the top of Valahnukur, a minor peak in the Thorsmork ('Thor's Forest', no less) area.
Booth Junior is playing a Nintendo DS on a ridge below. He did me a cartoon, in which I am pointing up a crag and saying, 'Not much higher, Tim', while he is prone on the floor behind me with his legs on fire and his little soul departing from his body.
I was stirred by Iceland, a place of sublime scenery and sublime prices. Most of all, I liked the geothermal and volcanic stuff: the sheer randomness of a purely volcanic landscape, in which a cone or a crater will appear anywhere, lava flows will spread or stop with no other principle than chance; or collosal explosions will broadcast boulders. We stayed near Hveragerthi, where a stream warm as bath water flows down the valley north of the town ('Hot spring gardens').
A glacier close-up is a confrontation with one of Nature's great forces, somewhere utterly inimical to life. On August 3rd, two Germans went on to a dangerous part of Vatnajokull, and have never been seen again. The Icelandic daily press (Premier league results, obituaries on apparently every native citizen who has died, and weather forecasts) reported faithfully on the unceasing search for their bodies.
But the swimming pools! A community of delight, each one of them. Scrupulous rules of cleanliness before you enter that water, all that endless free heat going off into the sky.
England seems to have such dirty air and such a muddy colour palette, while Iceland is brilliant clarity, looming black cliffs of Pelagonite, then tumbling white water.
These people did it properly:
I read this very good entry about geysers - we visited Stokkur, 'the kettle', of course
The 1,000 foot geyser Waimangu Geyser, active near Rotura in New Zealand at the start of the 20th century, must have been astonishing.