It was still dark and, appropriately, snowing when we left the hotel this morning. A white blanket, laid clean across the top of the world reminded me of all the things snow always does: fresh starts, the value of warmth, that cold, hard things must be gotten through to fully appreciate the beauty of what’s to come, simplicity.
Needless to say, four days was not enough. Already we’re planning, “next time,” with backpacks, the midnight sun and kids to help us explore the west fjords and cross the Arctic Circle at Grimsey Island. Inga laughed over coffee yesterday afternoon, “Iceland has this effect on people,” she smiled. “They always come back.”
There really isn’t enough good to say, and I haven’t the words to capture the true meaning of “ice blue,” or “winter white,” or “red hot,” or “black sand.” Perhaps there are no such words. Pictures help a bit, but even those are inadequate. You’ll just have to come yourself.
If you come, treat yourself to dinner at The Fish Company in downtown Reykjavik. It’s one block up from the wharf across the street from “Gaga” and just on the corner of the square where the boys skateboard until it’s dark. Inga recommended it to us and it was the perfect end to the perfect trip. It’s a bit like L’Espalier, in Boston, if that helps you, only with more atmosphere and no dress code. The food was phenomenal. We polished off a bottle of Chilean red wine with our new friend Renee, swapped travel stories and sampled local delicacies: Icelandic horse, Minke whale, fresh Atlantic salmon, Ocean catfish & haddock.
The Northern Lights eluded us again last night; even though we drove deep into the black and sat patiently waiting, watching. Even though Tony read aloud “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” with it’s famous line: “The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see…” thus vanquishing it from my head, where it’s been playing in continuous loop for several days.
I’m writing this from seat 25F, somewhere high above the Atlantic. According to my flight monitor I should see the northern tip of Scotland out my window, but all there is is an ocean of milk white clouds, rippled in what I imagine to be a mirror image of the slate grey sea below. We’ll be in Amsterdam in an hour and I’ll be in Kiev, Ukraine for dinner, if all goes according to plan.