Category Archives: AH - Blog 2012

Image of the month:

12-12-01 BLOG Image of the month

Image of the month: art of Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann

12-11-01 BLOG Image of the month - art of Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann

Elis­a­beth Jerichau Bau­mann — A Fel­lah Woman and Her Child  (1878) Statens Muse­um for Kun­st, Copenhagen

Image of the month:

12-10-01 BLOG Image of the month

Saturday, September 8, 2012 — Oddi, Þórsmörk, Eyjafjallajökull

My feet are bad­ly blis­tered from ear­li­er activ­i­ties, so focused the remain­ing time on a small cor­ner of Ice­land, and did my best to keep off my feet. To this end, the Ice­landic hors­es were a god­send. These won­der­ful ani­mals have five dis­tinct gaits — of which the unique tölt allows them to flow over obsta­cles like cater­pil­lars. Read more »

Wednesday, September 6, 2012 — Journey to the Center of Myself

In Snef­flls Iokulis kraterem kem deli­bat umbra Skar­taris Iulii intra kalen­das desk­ende, audas uia­tor, te ter­restre ken­trum attinges. Kod feki. Arne Saknussemm.

Away from com­put­ers for awhile, as I’ve spent some time out in Ice­land’s spec­tac­u­lar land­scape. The inte­ri­or of the island is vir­tu­al­ly unin­hab­it­ed, but even the coastal areas are large­ly moun­tains bare of trees, roads, build­ings and peo­ple. The moun­tain­sides are extra­or­di­nar­i­ly steep, and often unclimbable as they con­sist of loose peb­bles on which you can get lit­tle foothold. You look for patch­es of green, which usu­al­ly mean the slope is gen­tle enough for the moss­es and grass­es to take hold. Most of the moun­tains are slabs cre­at­ed by ancient lava flows, and they are bro­ken into cliffs of aston­ish­ing sharp­ness. Mixed in with these are vol­canic cin­der-cones. It is pos­si­ble to walk enor­mous dis­tances, with an unim­ped­ed view of many miles, and not see a sin­gle per­son. But you always run across sheep, and, in low­er areas, untend­ed hors­es. Walk­ing over long stretch­es of this land­scape requires a will­ing­ness to accept sud­den and unpleas­ant changes of weath­er. It may be warm and sun­ny, but an icy wind may pick up at any time, or rain clouds roll in with­in min­utes.  Read more »

Monday, September 3, 2012 — Farmers and Fishermen

Daði Jóhan­nes­son, the Dis­trict Com­mis­sion­er for Snæfell­snes og Hnap­padalssýs­la drove me across a great part of the dis­trict. He stopped at a soli­tary farm­house to deliv­er advance bal­lots for the upcom­ing con­sti­tu­tion­al ref­er­en­dum, which will be held in Octo­ber. Along the way, we dis­cussed the dis­tric­t’s social prob­lems, which con­sist­ed, for the most part, of noth­ing more dra­mat­ic than a few bar fights. Read more »

Sunday, Sept 2, 2012 — Skálafell and Hvalfjörður

After the con­stant rain of the last few days, it was won­der­ful to be out in the bright sun­light, so I thought some hik­ing would be in order. I walked through the qui­et val­ley of Skálafell, a place of no par­tic­u­lar impor­tance from a touris­tic point of view. The val­ley, tend­ing north­west by south­east, is defined by high plateaux on either side. Even this ear­ly in the year, there are some patch­es of fresh snow on top. The slopes curve down in almost per­fect arcs. The bot­tom of the val­ley has some rich graz­ing land, and is dot­ted with sheep, cat­tle, hors­es and ducks, all ami­ably graz­ing togeth­er.  Read more »

Sunday, September 2, 2012 — Þingvellir

The Law Rock at Þingvellir

I was dri­ven direct­ly to Þin­vel­lir by Ingi Bjar­na­son, a geo­physi­cist who has done con­sid­er­able work on Iceland´s man­tle plume. If you are going to study plate tec­ton­ics, you could hard­ly pick a bet­ter spot than this, where the Amer­i­can and Euro­pean tec­ton­ic plates are simul­ta­ne­ous­ly sep­a­rat­ing and shear­ing.  Read more »

Saturday, September 1, 2012 — Reykjavik’s Bookstores

Ice­land is famous for hav­ing a very high lev­el of read­ing, and I saw plen­ty of evi­dence of this. Reykyavik’s core has a half-dozen fair­ly large book­stores, well stocked with both Ice­landic and Eng­lish books, and they are always crowd­ed. A Cana­di­an city of this size would be lucky to have one. I vis­it­ed a sec­ond-hand book­store, and mar­velled at the large selec­tion of old books in Ice­landic, dat­ing back to the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry, when the pop­u­la­tion of the island was tiny. These includ­ed both trans­la­tions of the world’s out­put, but quite a lot of orig­i­nal works in Ice­landic. My will-pow­er broke down, and I pur­chased a two-vol­ume set of Sagas. These are use­less to me, as they are in Ice­landic, but they are beau­ti­ful, and I ratio­nal­ized the pur­chase as the vis­i­ble sou­venir of my trip that will look at me hand­some­ly from my book­shelf. Per­haps a wan­der­ing Ice­landic schol­ar will drop by and read them.

Saturday, September 1, 2012 — Viðeyjarsund to Klukkuvellir by Foot

A rather gloomy and rainy day, but not too wet to pre­vent me from tak­ing a long urban hike of about thir­ty kilo­me­ters that would give me a good idea of the lay­out and neigh­bour­hoods of greater Reyk­javik. My start­ing point was the Höfðy, the old house where Ronald Rea­gan and Mikhael Gor­bochev held their famous sum­mit meet­ing in 1986. I first went north­east from the cen­ter to Sun­dahöfn Har­bour. One end of the har­bour has some huge cruise ships; the oth­er is con­tain­er port, look­ing very mod­ern, but qui­et these days. I then turned south through the Lau­gardalur, a large park con­tain­ing var­i­ous urban amuse­ments, includ­ing a zoo and one of the most pop­u­lar geot­her­mal pools.  Read more »