Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gold, Basalt, and Wool

I've been pretty busy lately, and too tired/lazy to update this blog, so here's a quickie just to let you know I haven't forgot about it.

It's not as if I work nonstop all day, but essentially, I am on duty from 7:00 to 22:00, plus I live in the hostel as well, so if anyone wants anything at any time, I have to help because there is no one else here. But soon another girl is arriving so maybe it won't be quite like that after she gets here. One of the great things about working all of these days is that I have saved up ten days off as of this week. That's very good news.

I had a mini day off the other day. I got up at 7 to make breakfast and cleaned most of the buffet with help from an Italian girl named Valentina who used to work here. She was staying for ten days and it was nice to have her around. The day was so beautiful that we managed to catch a ride with Æsa's dad to nearby Skógar, where the tall waterfall, Skógafoss is located. There is also a great folk museum called Skógasafn. Valentina and I went to the museum first, and it was really interesting. It was completely crammed full of found artifacts collected by the funny, charming, and knowledgeable Þórður Tómasson.
I was very drawn to the various wooden carvings like special eating bowls with lids and animal toys, including the most delightful alligators I have ever seen. (Why there are alligator carvings in Iceland, I have no idea). But I soon became infatuated with this handle called Þrassi's Ring.

The story is that a gold treasure was hidden in a chest under Skógafoss around 900AD by the first settler of Skógar, Þrassi Þórolfsson. Many attempts were made to retrieve it over the years, but no one has ever been successful because it's so heavy. This ring is supposedly a handle of the chest, which came off when a rope was tied to it to try to pull it out of the water. But it broke off and the chest fell back into the depths. It was used as a handle to the church door until 1890.

I get excited over stories about treasure and monsters and anything legendary, but this story appeals to me because there is physical evidence sitting right there. I mean yeah, supposedly this is the handle off of a treasure chest, but it's a lot more convincing than just a story with no handle at all. I am 100% positive that there is gold under that waterfall. In fact, I danced around when we were on top of it, urging Valentina to dive in with me, and asking what we would do with all of our wealth when we emerged as wet and freezing heroes.
I couldn't get her to do it, but I did take off my overshirts and stand in a tank top while near enough to the falls to get completely soaked. So I felt like I accomplished something.

The pot of gold really IS at the end of the rainbow!

After a few hours, Gisli came and picked us up, and was generous enough to drive us to see the lighthouse at Dyrhólaey, plus to a wonderful natural basalt bridge where waves crashed up around us, and to Reynisfjalli, which is composed of humongous basalt columns that form when lava cools very slowly. The entire cliff looked like a crystal palace. We also ran very quickly through a break in the waves to see a cave on the other side, which was a bit scary.

Æsa was kind enough to not count our day of adventure as a day off, which is good because I think I exhausted myself enough that I felt I had worked overtime. It was a very full day. Next week I'm looking forward to spending a weekend with my friend Skarpi. We are taking a weekend trip somewhere out west.

In other news, Æsa has been bugging me to post this, so here is a puffin that I made. I also made a little dead fish for it to eat, but it's not in the picture.

Maybe someone will buy it :-)

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