06 July 2009

sensational summer

The smell of white clover and angelica, the scent of ocean breeze on an otherwise oddly sultry day, that tangy mixed flavor coming from the short birches and the black cottonwood. It's the discovery of piny running paths on Öskuhlíð that almost feels like I'm not here in Iceland.

The flavor of over abundant rhubarb baked into cakes, of grilled lamb and mushrooms stuffed with cheese, of new restaurants serving properly middle eastern fare, of Bulgarian salads. It's that unexpectedly sweet taste of one of the famous flies from Mývatn, inhaled on the downbeat before singing, the creamy cool of soft serve at þingvellir.

There's the feel of sun late in the evening, still warm enough for balcony-sits, the unexpected sensation of actually getting hot enough to sweat while on a run, the sensation of endless adventure potential on these sunsetless days.

It's summer in Iceland and while at times I feel terribly betrayed by this country that's busy destroying the livelihoods of so many people, it's still difficult to resist the allure of so lovely a place. Most weekends have been spent off somewhere, finding new favorite waterfalls, investigating power stations and old tractors, hiking over ridges and sometimes revisiting old favorites. It's good for the soul but bad for blogging.

Like many people here I've been focusing a lot of my time on the domestic delights, although I'm planning my first properly European summer vacation later this year (meaning it's a luxurious span of nearly two weeks) and I am most certainly getting out of this country. As great as it is here, I need my breathing space.


Food, she thought. said...

So nice to see you blogging again and hearing you sound hopeful. I haven't kept up with the news in Iceland, but your voice has an inflection as though the gov't is somehow to blame for what is going on there right now. Do you feel as though the gov't has taken some wrong turns?

Maybe I should do some research.

Jessica said...

You absolutely need that luxurious 2-week break in Europe! Most other expats I've spoken with in Iceland agree that one must leave the country at least once every six months (for at least a week-long duration) to stay sane.

I spent 2+ glorious weeks in Germany/Denmark/Sweden in May and it renewed my outlook on life after an entire year of being in Iceland with no breaks. As lovely as Iceland can be, it also has a way of wearing a person down ;'( And surprisingly, even with the nasty Krona exchange rate, some things (like clothing, some cosmetics) are still cheaper on the mainland. Have fun!!

ECS said...

food: I recommend a blog called the Iceland Weather Report for all your finance and government related news. She does such a good job that I don't feel the urge or the need to report on these matters.

jessica: I am of the belief that escape must come more often than every six months- I try to aim for every three months, although some of those escape trips are just work trips to Norway. It's enough to reset my tolerance for this place.

I haven't been out since April so I am SO excited. I can't imagine what a WHOLE YEAR being here would be like. I don't think I could handle it.

Anonymous said...

I need to be away from Spain and its inhabitants (I'm one of them but never really fit in) for a while. And my chosen destination would be Iceland. But I must take so many things into consideration...
I envy you.

the woolly monkey said...

I like hearing more of the little details in your latest posts.
Like the rhubarb.
Is rhubarb a big thing there, or just with you?

(I also have a thing for rhubarb.)