I tell you, we have GOT to stop complaining about daylight savings time.
These poor Icelanders never get full daylight in the winter months.
The photo shows the sun at its daily apex, just skimming along the horizon. It was taken at one o’clock in the afternoon, and it felt and looked like dusk the two hours prior and after.
And because we have a moon with snow on the ground, the rest of the day (night?) has limited visibility.
While I’ve been here, I’ve never really acclimated. It’s a strange sensation…I haven’t MISSED the sun, so much as I have felt like I’ve skipped days. They run together, but I suppose if you lived here, you would find the separation.
This continuous day that I have spent up here has fed me more than fresh Icelandic cod and salmon (and here, the “l” is not silent…if you order “sammin” they will endlessly correct you with “sal-min”).
I have been fed the freshest, purest, cleanest water and air that can be found on the planet. They are both invigorating, and alone, make a trip to Iceland worthwhile.
Not only do the locals keep their windows open year-round, they never buy bottled water. I constantly filled my one bottle from the tap, and it was ice-cold, refreshing and better than any I’ve ever tasted. They say it comes from the glaciers, after having been filtered through the lava. I had no idea water could be this wonderful.
And the air.
Close your eyes and imagine you are standing in a giant meadow in the foothills. There are no bugs, it’s not too hot, not too cold (because you are all comfy-cozy in your down jacket). There is complete silence all around you, not even bird calls. Ok, now tip your head back, extend your arms to the sides, shoulder high.
Now inhale. Deep.
Do you feel it? The fresh crisp air? So clean you can TASTE it?
Yes, this is Iceland.
Perpetual dusk, but the air and water are clean and fresh.
And Icelanders have it made with their natural resources.
The geothermal system is brilliant. There are so many hot springs that the hot water is piped to the homes. This hot water not only comes out of the faucet, they lay intricate piping systems underneath the homes, and the hot water also zig-zags through these pipes, heating the floorboards. The hot water is so plentiful that they even run the piping under their sidewalks and driveways…and never have to shovel snow!
Separate pipes come in from the melting glaciers, feeding the cold-water faucets. More than one guide bragged to me that they let the water run when they brush their teeth, because it is so plentiful that most of it “just runs away to the ocean, anyway.” As a Californian, I was horrified…I suggested bottling it up and sending it to us.
They harness hydroelectric power from the waterfalls, and they also practice great care and responsibility for their fisheries.
There is very little crime, and a general robust cheerfulness.
Of course there are negatives, but why spoil a good story?
These kind people taught me that even though the sun isn’t high overhead, there is always plenty to do, and unlike so many Americans, they don’t use it as an excuse to sit on the couch and watch TV.
Worst case? Knit a gorgeous wool sweater.
Yes, they fed me well. I am stuffed with joy.