I’m gearing up for the mother of all trips around Iceland this June and July!
[Not really.] [The mother bit.]
[I am going on a trip, though.]
The plan is for me and EPI [husband] to travel the West Fjords first, up along the eastern coast [an area known as Strandir, or "Shores"], then veer off westward towards Ísafjörður, spend a day or two there, and then head back down the other side, stopping off at some stunning sites along the way. And believe me, there is no shortage of those. The West Fjords are among my absolute favourite places in Iceland – they are stark and rugged and sparsely populated and exquisitely beautiful. They totally get under your skin. So much, in fact, that a few years ago, after spending a few days there, I wanted to remain there in spirit so badly that I sat down and wrote a whole novel that largely takes place there.
Here is a picture of Yours Truly taken a couple of years ago [not the same trip that set me writing] when we hiked from Aðalvík over to Hesteyri – two locations that are all but deserted, save for a few cottagers in the summer. That’s the majestic Drangjökull glacier in the background. Don’t mind the expression on my face – it says nothing about the fabulous time I was having, and everything about my aversion to having my picture taken.
Having covered the magical West Fjords I’ll be heading back to Reykjavík for a week or two, and then off again with my daughter Aldís, to circumnavigate the Ring Road. I’m very much looking forward to this as well, because … well … this will be my first time, despite having lived in Iceland for a full 20 years. Having said that, I have travelled the northern route all the way to Norðfjörður, and the southern route all the way to Skaftafell, but have not seen the rest of the East Fjords. I haven’t yet decided whether we’ll go clockwise or counter-clockwise around the island, and am completely open to your suggestions if any of you have done this before!
The purpose of these two journeys, besides giving me an excuse to explore my beautiful country, is to distribute my brand-new book, called The Little Book of the Icelanders in the Old Days. As the title suggests, it is a collection of 50 little essays about the weird and wonderful and amazing things my ancestors got up to in centuries past. Because I can tell you one thing: IT WAS A BLOODY MIRACLE that people actually managed to survive up on this barren rock before there was geothermal heating, and greenhouses, and imported fruits and veggies, and independence from the oppression of our colonial overlords. And the way they managed to do so was often really really remarkable, and really really funny, and really really sad.
That’s the deal. I’ve never done this before [distribute my own book in this way] and am totally excited about getting out there, meeting people, visiting places, and telling you all about it, virtually LIVE, while it’s happening.