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Earth, Wind & Fire – and Water Aug 25, 2009

Posted by herraheri in Herra the Heri.

Yes, mates!

Thinking of Iceland in these days, one imagines people standing on the street, staring on any wall, silently shaking their head from time to time – the agony of the financial crash which captured the vulnerable Icelander’s soul and made every single day a slow-motion-fight against the empty and senseless life. Well, it’s not quite like that. Last Wednesday, the breaking news on TV was that Olafur “The Pig” Grimsson, Iceland’s Prime Minister, had been fallen of a horseback. Now that’s agony at its best.

People don’t seem to be too destroyed by this sick life: the SUVs are still cruising down Laugavegur, noble restaurants are packed, monumental, patriotic fireworks are celebrated during last Saturday’s culture night, and yes: they are laughing!

Ok, I don’t want to put lipstick on the pig:  there are very many construction sites where two or three people are pretending to work, just because it would be too expensive to stop the project. For example the ambitious project of a national music hall at the harbour, made of glass (thinking of Sydney?) and serving 5000 people. Extrapolating the current working velocity, it will be finished in 2200.

But in fact, I don’t sense a deep uncertainty or despair in Reykjavík. It’s just as it was when I was here in 2006.  Apart from the fact that everything costs the half.

If the financial crisis made you believe that this capitalist world is just crap, it’s maybe time to do a little walk in Icelandic nature. This is what I did (regardless of economy): a 6-day-walk from Skógar at the southern coast to Landmannalaugar, a geothermal spot with colourful rhyolite hills and 40°C hot rivers. The first three days were seulement terrible (in a positive sense), as the french people I was travelling with used to say most of the time. Ash desert, surrounded by glaciers, “forests” at the edge of huge glacial rivers, lava flow plains, more ash desert, moss-green mountains, elve lakes. Yes, terrible. But the next two days unfortunately didn’t bring as much pleasure. Strong winds coming from North counterparted our trip to the North, accompanied by a nice, steady rain which defeaned one’s face. I found it funny in a peculiar way. After one hour, I ceased finding it funny and started insulting the wind in a Bushido-like manner. It helped, indeed, and after 4 hours of hating, we arrived at the rescuing hut. Comments of the warden there: “Yes, it’s bad weather, but it’s not very bad weather”; “Haw, haw, haw, this is no storm, otherwise we wouldn’t let tourist walk the track!”. Well, ok, I never want to experience a real storm in the Icelandic Highlands!


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