Iceland

We’ve seen firsthand the many faces of Iceland. We’ve soaked in the Blue Lagoon and walked beside hot bubbling fumaroles in the Krysuvik geothermal field. We’ve hiked in her desolate volcanic terrain.

Wearing sturdy hiking boots, using walking sticks for leverage, we climbed to the top of Stora Eldborg, an extinct volcanic crater. At its peak, buffeted by winds, our travel van below was a mere dot. Craters in the distance looked like small molehills. On the descent, our sticks helped take the pressure off our knees.

An hour later, we donned hardhats with headlights; no sticks allowed. Our guide took us to explore a 2,000 year old lava tube. Once a conduit for flowing molten rock, the channel crusted over forming a tunnel which we gingerly entered. We inched over boulders, slid down slabs, and crawled our way through parts of this damp, dark hollowed out place. Our headlights revealed pockmarked, cracked, uneven walls and lavacicles that hung from the ceiling. We came upon misshapen lava pillars impeding forward progress, thus marking our turn-back point. By the time we clambered out of the tube, my body was chilled to the bone and I was exuberant to feel the sun.

earth weathers through all
summer’s torrid heat burns land
below ground, cold springs

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Frank is our host and asks us to write about a hike, or somehow use the word hike in our post. Photos are from our 2017 visit to Iceland.
HAIBUN: 2 or 3 paragraphs of prose, must be true; followed by a haiku.

40 thoughts on “Iceland

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 31, 2020 / 3:06 pm

    Hiking on Iceland is a wonderful adventure… we mostly walked by ourselves when we were there. I enjoyed it a lot, and these days when you cannot travel it’s a precious memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 10:43 am

      Thank you, Bjorn. These days, spending so much time in our condo and knowing we will, for the first time in 7 years, have to winter here rather than being in Bermuda or San Diego, CA, I’ve found myself taking out our photo books from our travels and enjoying looking at them again. You’re right….the past travels become precious memories and whet our appetites for the future covid-free days. I pray for a vaccine, thoroughly tested before distribution, with adequate and just distribution channels.

      Like

  2. kim881 August 31, 2020 / 3:19 pm

    Iceland is one of the handful of places I would still love to visit, Lill. I’ve read and seen so many documentaries about it, and it’s my kind of scenery. I love the contrast of the close-up lagoon and fumaroles and the distant craters like small molehills, and the different temperatures in the haiku. You and George are so adventurous – I’m not sure I’d manage exploring a 2,000 year-old lava tube!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 10:45 am

      We loved Iceland! The scenery changes so drastically as you travel across it. The lava tube was amazing….we just had to go slowly and we had an excellent guide. Not very many of us on the tour, by design. And we were warned ahead to wear sturdy close-toes shoes. Two young women came on our tour wearing flip-flops…they were not allowed into the lava tunnel! I smile thinking of you….as I spent quite a bit of time inching my way on my bum 🙂

      Like

  3. Jedediah Smith August 31, 2020 / 3:27 pm

    I’m very envious. Would love to see and explore Iceland. I used to clamber through some volcanic tubes below the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. In spite of the descent into the earth, the feeling was “other-worldly.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 10:46 am

      Other-worldly indeed. I agree completely. Actually, to travel across Iceland and see how the landscape changes…that is otherworldly in itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucy August 31, 2020 / 3:30 pm

    Sounds like quite the hike! You describe this with vivid imagery, and it’s absolutely beautiful. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jane Dougherty August 31, 2020 / 3:53 pm

    Iceland is the kind of place, like the rainforests, that I’m happy to visit second hand. It must be magnificent but terrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 10:49 am

      I didn’t find it terrifying at all. We had an excellent guide and were in a specially equipped van that could go off-road into the volcanic terrain. It was quite eye-opening to see the homes in the countryside — with “barns” attached to the sides of the houses so they could be warm in their difficult winters. It was a fascinating place to visit and begin to understand how different life is for many, depending on where they live. Of course, that is also true, depending on where you live in the US….and even what neighborhood you live in within one city.

      Like

      • Jane Dougherty September 1, 2020 / 10:58 am

        I tend to think of these places in the raw, without any safety nets. If you imagine yourself alone in the vastness of it, it’s scary. To me anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 10:50 am

      Thanks, Frank. I almost posted a photo of us in the Blue Lagoon too…..it was also amazing to experience! I higihly recommend a visit!

      Like

  6. Glenn A. Buttkus August 31, 2020 / 4:22 pm

    Your pictures and your prose stride hand-in-hand; a fantastic rocking of the prompt. I get too claustrophobic to venture into caves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 10:51 am

      Hmmm…yes…claustrophobia would not cut it in a lava tube! Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Like

  7. msjadeli August 31, 2020 / 5:32 pm

    The landscape looks like it would be very tough to survive in. It and the cave look very, as Jedediah said, “other-worldly.” Thank you for taking your readers on an armchair adventure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 10:58 am

      Grr….I had an entire reply and it just disappeared! Yes….Iceland is a difficult place to “survive” but they way people there adapt to the land is quite amazing. There is lush green hilly countryside where people raise wheat and horses. Some are prize winning horses for competitions and others are horses for horsemeat – commonly eaten in Iceland. The houses in these rural areas have barns attached, sharing a wall. The prized livestock are wintered inside and the horsemeat horses are left outside, just too expensive to feed them. The growing season is so short, there is only enough hay etc to feed the prized animals. In the capital city, there are geothermal pipes that run under all the streets, keeping them passable in their VERY cold winters, and also heating the houses. And then there are the desolate volcanic fields that I’ve described. Iceland is a vastness….and has such varied terrain. Amazing place to visit!

      Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli September 1, 2020 / 2:57 pm

        Sorry you had to retype your reply! Thank you for the extra info on the place. So interesting about the geothermal under streets and for heating homes. I’m surprised some don’t set up residence in those volcano tunnels as it’s probably geothermal in its own way. Sad to hear about the “meat horses” 😦 Sounds like they have adapted to the place in a way that keeps them alive.

        Like

  8. rothpoetry August 31, 2020 / 7:02 pm

    I love all your adventures in Iceland. That would be exciting to go into a lava flow tube! You haibun is great. Loved the contrast between above and below ground.
    Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 11:16 am

      It was amazing to experience!

      Like

  9. peterfrankiswrites August 31, 2020 / 11:48 pm

    Lovely vivid piece – Iceland’s on my list if there’s ever travel again. (probably the knees will be shot before that happens).

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 11:18 am

      Yes…in these days of Covid — I’ve been taking out my old travel journals and photo albums and living vicariously through them. Oh how I pray for a vaccine, thoroughly tested and safe, with a well thought out plan of distribution. Until then…..it’s dVerse, home, and memories 🙂

      Like

  10. Ali Grimshaw September 1, 2020 / 12:16 am

    What a fun experience. Iceland becomes increasingly more interesting the more I learn from others who have traveled there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 11:18 am

      It was amazing to visit! Well worth putting on your list of “to get to” experiences 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ali Grimshaw September 1, 2020 / 11:41 am

        I think I will do just that. I look forward to the day when I can travel to other countries again.

        Like

  11. Kenji Kojima September 1, 2020 / 1:12 am

    Have been to Iceland once long long time ago, but for a very short quick visit. Stood by the Gullfoss Fall. Thanks for taking us to the lava tube adventure, which made me feel I was there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 11:20 am

      We also saw those beautiful falls! Glad you enjoyed this post, Kenji, How said I am that our reunion was cancelled and we did not get to visit again. I pray every day for a vaccine that is thoroughly tested and safe; that is distributed in a just and equitable way. Stay safe, my friend!

      Like

      • Kenji Kojima September 2, 2020 / 1:47 am

        Let’s wait for one year, Lillian. By then I hope a vaccine is completed thoroughly tested and safe, which would make it possible to move and travel safely and freely and get together again.

        Like

  12. hank77 September 1, 2020 / 3:04 am

    kaykuala

    By the time we clambered out of the tube,
    my body was chilled to the bone and I was
    exuberant to feel the sun.

    Only then that what is often taken for granted creates the greatest impact.

    Hank

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 11:21 am

      I so agree. And gosh are we learning that now in these days of Covid isolation.

      Like

  13. Misky September 1, 2020 / 7:52 am

    You must have very sturdy knees. Beautiful haibun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 11:21 am

      I did in those days. Honestly, don’t know if we could do that now. BUT, there are plenty of other adventures ahead, once this Covid is tamed by a vaccine.

      Like

  14. sarahsouthwest September 1, 2020 / 7:58 am

    You have travelled so much, and obviously love what you’ve done! This sounds amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian September 1, 2020 / 11:22 am

      It was indeed! Glad you enjoyed.

      Like

  15. merrildsmith September 2, 2020 / 5:40 pm

    It sounds like an amazing trip, and hike. I’m sure it’s a trip you remember.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s