Saturday, July 1, 2017

Growing up in the Land Of Fire And Ice.


This land is so moon-like that in 1965 and 1967 American moon-landing astronauts used the Krafla and Askja area - located in north-east corner of Iceland to study the geology for Lunar mission, as this barren lava field is one of the more moon-like places on earth. The Krafla caldera is Viti - the Icelandic word Viti means Hell - folks in the olden days thought that hell was under volcanoes.

Not far from this area is the fjord of Vopnafjörður is where I spent my summers until age ten.Every Spring I traveled on a ship, in and out of the fjord, south  and east. The trip was usually about 5days, in good weather. Going back to Reykjavik, and school every Fall - and again in and out of fjords, this time north and west coast.

Mostly I traveled by myself, but a crew member or a passenger would be aware, and kind of looked after me. Two of my sisters -one a year younger and  one a year older, traveled with me for couple of years...when I think of that I shake my head...To-day I wouldn't think of letting 8 and 9 year old kids of mine travel by themselves like that. And on a ship...in all kinds of weather! But it was different back then and even more so in a country as isolated as Iceland was back in the thirties.

If we traveled inland (no Ring Road then!) we used horses. Grandpa would go to the village of Vopnafjörður
to load up bags of flour, sugar and other supplies.

I remember one summer when my older sister and I were on horseback, going back to the farm and were riding across the inlet as the  tide was coming in. The water was up to our horses' bellies when I looked at my sister and teasingly said; "Sisi, don't look, but there's some kind of gruesome monster-thing at Stjarna's hoof!" I'd been better off if I'd been watching my own horse, I was sliding sideways. Suddenly I found myself with mouthful of salty water, I couldn't yell at Grandpa, but I heard Sisi screaming at the top of her lungs"Grandpa - Grandpa Íeda is drowning!" I felt Grandpa's hand pull me up. Spitting and gagging I felt chastened. I should have known better that to tease about The Monster Worm, it was a sure way to bring their wrath upon us!

Later I tried to butter up my sister by telling her how much I was looking forward to spending the summer together.She said "Oh, it will be fun to go berry-picking, milk Old Red..." She stopped and grinned...Hmm, was my sister being he nice self or was there a wicked gleam in her  eye? I was sure Old Red was the meanest cow in all of Iceland..

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