Woke to rain and drove through the East Fjords. Stopped in Djúpivogur (man we met in bar a few days earlier's grandfather's brother was a famous giant and lived there—no sign of him) and a few industrial seaside towns. Decided to cut west from Breiðdalur and the weather changed and the land, too—fertile valley with beautiful dappled sun, large lakes near Egilsstaðir, and then over the mountains to Seyðisfjörður—beautiful! Early afternoon of showers and laundry at a hostel. Coffee at Hotel Aldan, eavesdropping on table of artists-in-residence. Sam spilled espresso on his clean pants and I took photos of the mess. House-made beers next door. Walk around town with buildings reflected in harbor and giant ferry to Europe loading. Dinner and backgammon (and exhibition) at Skaftfell Art Center. Drive back over mountains toward Dettifoss. Light rain, pink sky, rainbow, Mars landscape. Hour-long gravel drive to waterfall. Arrive in darkness but hear the powerful water. A little worried about volcano.(Höfn → Seyðisfjörður → Dettifoss, Iceland)
Wake to sheep near van, tired after a sleepless night but everything was beautiful. Sam made coffee. Drive along stretch of lava fields—austerely beautiful. Hike in Skaftafell National Park to basalt waterfall Svartifoss, then up to glacier view. Ate shrimp salad sandwiches. Drove to glacier calving sites: Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón. Glaciers cracking at the latter and floating under a bridge out to sea—all vaguely boat shaped. Fish and chips and chocolate shake in Höfn. Drove out of town through tunnel, took a right on next road, and drove 2 km. past farm buildings. Are we supposed to be here? Camping spot. Walked a few hours along beach, moss, and rocks. Secluded other than the sheep watching us. Moved to tears with this experience at dusk.(Vík → Outside of Höfn, Iceland)
Sam stalled the van twice leaving the rental car agency. First day of sheep, waterfalls, green/black. Hiked to Seljavallalaug pool in mountainside. Sam lost keys for 30 minutes inside of van—found. I laughed. Stood close to Skógafoss, watching mist rounds and feeling the sound. Skógar Folk Museum for turf houses, whale vertebrae, bad taxidermy. Basalt cave and black beach at Vík. Foamy white water. Dinner at Halldorskaffi—bowls and bowls of mushroom soup. Nervous drive north, near Þakgil, with swans and sheep. Dusk walk with Sam. Amazing landscape. Windy, rainy, intimidating first night in camper. Glacier view.(Reykjavik → Outside of Vík, Iceland)
We rode to a friend-of-a-friend's for dinner, up the long hill to see the famous Hallgrímskirkja, and past the lake Tjörnin at night with all of the city lights reflecting back on our cold- and wine-bitten faces. One night, we rode home through the wind and rain only to decide to venture out again for a night swim at Laugardalslaug. And we woke early the next morning to rent the van which was our transportation and home for 10 days.
The trip was beautiful. It was recorded on film, as iPhone videos, and in shorthand in my journal. The shorthand's interesting to me because it's hard to describe a country like Iceland with statements and facts—a place so otherworldly and emotion-inducing—so, the writing comes across as very matter-of-fact and sometimes comical. I'm going to share it here along with some film photos. It feels representational of the dichotomy of traveling, the dichotomy of experience in general—all at once so light and heavy.
We had a small ceremony on Friday and then a big party on Saturday night, but my favorite memories of the weekend were in the work and lull of preparing. My heart was full in those moments—not just with romantic love for Sam, but with what we have built together, with our people.
All photos above (except for the first) and many, many more by my very talented friend Anjali Pinto.
Lately I think of this space as a record, a place to turn for details which later become fuzzy—details of events, details of thoughts, details of emotions come and gone. Putting oneself online feels vain at times, but I've decided to continue to write here because it allows me a space to share with myself. I'm a nostalgic and record-keeping only seems appropriate.
Summer weekend in Michigan with the babes. Yoga and flower crowns balanced with fancy jello shots and boxed wine. Milky coffee outside in the morning, in a place so much calmer than Chicago. I'm thankful for this new spot to visit. I'm thankful for these women.
Now we are ready to look at something pretty special
It is a duck
Riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf
As he cuddles in the swells.
There’s a big heaving in the Atlantic
And he is part of it.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves
Because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn't know how large the ocean is
And neither do you.
But he realizes it somewhere and what does he do, I ask you?
He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity
Which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
How about you?
- Tara Brach on Cultivating Equanimity (Duck Meditation)