Friday, July 31, 2009

Ummm...more days later

Today, we are in Egilstaðir, where the sun is shining, and the wind is from the south. Finally, I'm warm.

Still can't find salt and vinegar potato chips anywhere 'though. I am almost ready to give body parts in exchange.

Let me forewarn you, this is a really really long post with lots of pictures. Take a deep breath and join us.

Now, picking up our story where we left off a few days ago.... in Holmavik.

We went to the Icelandic Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery.

Most of the witch burnings, and the practice of witchcraft itself, are a significantly different thing then what was happening in Europe in the similar time period.

In Iceland, there were only 21 burnings and almost all of them were men. It was thought that men were largely responsible for the practice of witchcraft.

Also.... the nature of the witchcraft was different. The little that I know about European witchcraft doesn't include such complex signs as the one below. There are dozens of examples of these in the museum and almost all of them are supposed to be written in blood from very specific body parts, depending on the sign in question.

We move on to the sheep museum, which was a bit....dry, in nature. The most amusing part is these bottle-fed lambs who accosted us in the parking lot, hoping to be fed.

Moved on to Blonduos for the evening, and loved the ocean. Our room had a quite entrancing ocean-side view. Managed to get a few shots of the bird-life...

In the morning we hit the Icelandic textile museum. I was disappointed in that there were no references to pre-1600 era textiles or textile tools.

This, apparently, is the very first sewing machine ever imported to Iceland.

This is Viðimyri, and it's almost a classic postcard shot. :) It dates back to approximately 1834 and consecrated in 1935 - what happened to those 101 years one might wonder? Most of the timber, and many of the artefacts inside are original but the turf needs to be replaced.

Oh yes... and there was also the Seal Museum. Yep, another museum. I'd smite him if only I could. I didn't take pictures at this one because frankly, stuffed carcasses just don't appeal to me.

Glaumbær Folk Museum - well, the most interesting part for me was meeting the archaeologists who are doing this dig. They are from U.Mass. and UCLA, and were just coming up for a washroom break when we arrived. There is .....wait for it Darrell... evidence of pre-1104 iron smelting. Neil passed on his card to the nice people.

Now, the museum itself. While I do recognize the value in preserving history.... I'm really just not that interested in 18th century anything. It's very well done as a museum, has great presentation value... but I got really grumpy photographing a million things that I just don't find that interesting.

So.... being contrary... here's the backside of the houses, and the husband. I always function better in the outdoors here. Errr.... well 'always' might be too strong a word, but more on that later.

Then we made a brief pit stop in Akureyi for two cables for my Ipod. Smart enough to bring the Ipod in the hope of plugging it into the car for music on the road, but stupid enough not to bring the cable in question, or the recharge from the computer cable. I am much much happier with music around.

It was a long drive today, with lots of stops, and I was definitely ready for arriving at the hotel, especially after getting grumpy at Glambaer. But we had yet one more stop to make.

Goðafoss (waterfall of the Gods) is so named because when Iceland officially converted to Christianity in 999 or 1000, the lawspeaker of the Alþingi, Þorgeirr Ljósvetningagoði was charged with the task of throwing his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall.

Snorri says "oh no, not me! I'm not a god!"

Neil and I have been taking some time playing with the camera to get the more 'artsy' shots, especially around waterfalls. I really liked the way this one turned out.

We finally ended that day in the Myvatn nature preserve, at a lovely hotel called Hotel Reynihlið. We planned to stay here two nights, because the day in between, we drove up to Husavik to go whale watching.

But we had some time before the tour started so we went to the Husavik Phallological Museum. Yes, that's right, it's a museum dedicated to penises. Most of them are like these... preserved in formaldehyde. But there are a few dried and mounted, and a few that have been made into other objects like a whip or a cane. There are even three letters, from three different currently living men, who promise their penises to the museum upon their demise. One of whom is the current curator of the museum.

So, whale watching then. Cue.... the theme to Gilligan's Island. "A three hour tour... the weather started getting rough... the tiny ship was tossed.."

Here I am starting out all cheery like in a tower of the orange waterproof jackets they provide. Note the calm water of the harbour behind me.

And here I am, after the first tossing of the cookies. Yes, the first... I spent the next 3 hours vomiting. It was.... just so very much fun. And I did take the darned sea-sickness pill they gave us, just in case. It just didn't work.

Although I was too busy being ill to take much notice, apparently I wasn't alone. Neil escaped the same fate quite narrowly, and observed that about half of the people on the boat were suffering the same fate.

And just to make it worse..... no whales were spotted. They offered free vouchers for another trip, but there is no way you'd get me back on that trip for quite a long time.

Neil did manage to take a picture of this comorant 'though. Apparently it's quite unusual in this part of Iceland.

Now... I didn't feel like dinner that night, but we did get to the Myvatn Nature Springs. A long hot soak in one of Iceland's hot springs can cure many ills.

Snorri thinks it's much nicer then that waterfall we threatened him with as well.


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