White Spaces

May 2, 2016

According to folklore, two trolls were dragging a ship to shore when daybreak came and turned them into stone.

I've been procrastinating on this story for the past few days. I have this weird thing where my mood mimics my environment. For instance, we were in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and it was probably the greenest city I've seen besides Portland. Trees lined up, plump and healthy, and the vines ran rampantly on the walls of the old buildings. Though it was drizzling a lot, my mood was elevated thanks to the plants. On the other hand cold, lifeless things take away my energy. I don't do well in winter.

I stared at the photos for days before finally deciding to get it over with. I thought of adding a filter to make my photos look warmer but decided against it. Doing so would go against my rule of keeping them as close to how it felt when I took them as possible. Curating this set was definitely a challenge!

We didn't stay long in Iceland because our visa was only valid for 21 days and we had to visit 4 other countries. So in the 5 days that we were there, we joined several small group tours to save time and get an idea of Iceland. If we had more time, we would have rented a car and just drive around the country, stopping at random places and not having plans.

We left early in the morning in order to save daylight. Since the sun went down at around three in the afternoon, it was important that we followed schedule for every location we visited. It was exhausting but at least we were able to visit a lot of places.

One of the things that amazed me were the most were the horses that roamed freely in the fields. They had thick hair and fat hooves unlike the horses I've seen. They seemed to not mind interacting with humans. Maybe they thought we brought food and were there to feed them. Anyway, the ground was very slippery and full of horse shit so we had to be really careful with every step.

"Don't take long. This is just a quick stopover." the guide said, reminding us of the time. I watched as the rest of the group walked with ease while I helplessly flailed my arms and shuffled my feet. One of the horses saw me and it marched towards me. Good horse. Come to me, horse. I reached out to touch its head but it was only interested in my pink gloves.

"Don't eat me horse!" I said as it tried to bite my hand.

This lady behind me had a concerned look on her face. "Oh don't worry, horses don't eat humans." I guess she didn't get my sarcasm.

Later on we went to Gullfoss, a waterfall in the southwest of Iceland. Its size and strength made us humans look puny. I thought about how we got there. How just months, years ago we had dreamed of visiting this surreal island. Endlessly talking about all its natural beauty, the stories we've read, the musicians we loved, its isolation from outside worlds...how can you not love it?

Reynisfjara is a black pebble beach in the town of Vík somewhere in the southern tip. According to folklore, two trolls were dragging a ship to shore when daybreak came and turned them into stone. It just might be the angle of my shot, but I can't seem to see a pattern of a troll in this rock formation. They clearly have a very active imagination.

Our guide also told us that during summer, lots of puffins are found nesting on the rock cliffs. She shared a story of how these perpetually-sad-looking birds are loyal to one partner throughout their lives. I wonder what the evolutionary reason is for this monogamy.

The gigantic mountains make the people look like ants. We took a short hike and ended up in a vast pebbled valley with a frozen lake that spanned throughout.

A sign was erected on one of the paths and it discouraged people from getting too close to the water in case they collapsed. Our guide told us about a news story where a group of Americans had a picnic on a glacier and had to then be rescued after it started floating away. That was hilarious but thankfully nobody got hurt.

At the Skógar Folk Museum, we listened to Icelandic Sagas and stories of what life was like hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of years ago. The museum is located somewhere in the middle of nowhere, just a few minutes away from a popular waterfall. We didn't get a chance to learn more about the pieces in the museum because of time constraints but we told ourselves we would be back.

'Till next time, Iceland!

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