Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Phase VI: Iceland

Now mount we our horses,                           Ríðum hestum
Now bare we our brands,                             hart út berum
Now haste we hard, maidens,                       brugðnum sverðum
Hence far, far away.                                      á braut heðan.

When? If now, we quietly sit.

Hermosa Beach-Inglewood-Seattle-Keflavik-Reykjavik

The descent to Iceland was like landing on another, distant planet. The lava fields prickling the ground with their black rock formations, the plains filled with lichen painted with the colors of rust and occassional smoke rising up from the ground as if the land had a ventilation system of its own, a breath of its own. The mountains with flows of ice dripping from their heads loomed under the mist in the horizon, stating their presence with silent grandeur. The hectic city life of Los Angeles seemed like an already forgotten memory.

When we landed in New Zealand half a year ago, I would have liked to feel the same about the country as I did about Iceland at first sight. A breath-taking awe-filled experience of both, surprise and pleasure, but unfortunately, I did not. I understand that for some travellers New Zealand is what Wonderland was to Alice - a tumble down to the exciting unknown. As for myself, the lack of amazement at first sight resorted into an ever-growing struggle to find something to marvel. I eventually did, of course, but in Iceland, I feel like I would have found marvels on a platter.

As this journey has been full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and a plenitude of joy, there has been also an incredible amount of misfortune as well. Iceland, our final destination, did not come off any different. I fell ill a day before our departure from Hermosa Beach and have been feverish and fluish ever since. The long flight was excruciating - if a dagger wasn't being drilled into my temples, I was feeling deaf. My mouth dried up completely due to the fact that I couldn't breathe through my nose and my temperature had plenty of ups and downs. Something that makes you curl up in your bed with a cup of tea back home, makes you dream about those comforts when travelling.

I doubt I will get in such a good shape that we could further explore the island but I'm ready to come back here for a second try, with time and money. The silent Icelandic people don't feel too hospitable, especially not after the talkative Americans and the friendly, generous Kiwis, but they (ironically) make me feel like home. The sullen greyness of this island might be depressing to some, but for me it's inspiring. If there ever will be a book written in my life and I am granted the chance to write it, I will write it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment