Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vík í Mýrdal

The day I was to be picked up and driven to Vík was the day that we got news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. After staying at my friend's house for the night, I spent the next few hours in the Hálskóli Íslands library café watching AlJazeera clips over and over again, completely horrified by how surreal it all looked. I felt sick watching all of those people's lives get washed away so quickly. My heart goes out to all the people who are suffering as a result of yesterday's tragedy.
I can't say I didn't feel a little vulnerable moving to a town that is sandwiched between a temperamental sea and an active volcano buried under a glacier. But I'm much safer here than even in Reykjavik, so there's nothing to worry about.

In less oppressive news, I've started my first day of work at the hostel in Vík. It's even nicer than I remembered it, and I felt instantly comfortable around my host family. It's a huge relief to be here. My first night was marked with the brightest Northern Lights display of the entire winter. Þráinn drove the children and me up to the top of a nearby cliff so we could get a better view of the pink and green trails filling the sky. I attempted to take some photos by lying on top of a stone cemetery wall, but the gusts of wind were so strong that sometimes I had to crouch down below the wall just so I wouldn't be knocked over. So holding the camera steady for long exposures was impossible. I got one halfway decent shot, just to prove that I saw them.
 As a surprise to me, the lights were not only humongous, filling half of the entire sky, but much closer to the earth than I had expected. Since I had always imagined them being very high up in the atmosphere, I expected them to move very slowly. But the wind whipped them around and the shapes changed constantly, sometimes fringing the eerie green with seashell pink. They danced around each other like wisps of cigarette smoke, curled around the moon, and streaked across the dark sky. Spectacular. I was too overwhelmed to take it all in properly. But tonight is also expected to be clear, and if they come back, Þráinn will drive us up to the other cliff where it is darker, and we can see them better.

The first morning at the hostel was highlighted by a lovely breakfast spread that we start preparing at 7:30. The hostel offers a breakfast buffet to any guests for an extra 1000ISK, and Æsa prides herself on providing the best breakfast around. She is extremely industrious and DIY, so many of the items were handmade, or harvested nearby. 

Fresh waffles.
Some homemade jams. Currant, carrot and orange, crowberry, and raspberry (I think...sometimes the names of berries gets lost in translation because of species variations)


  1. Those waffles look delicious.

    I found you from tumblr, and I'm glad you started this blog because I'm really interested in hearing about what it's like to live in Iceland as an American.

  2. Oh my gosh, those waffles look incredible.