“What do they have in Iceland?” Nazy asked.

“The only thing in Iceland is Darius.” I replied.


“The country is a volcanic wasteland. The Vikings chopped down all the trees and brought sheep to eat the roots. The topography is a mixture of gray, dismal clouds and black volcanic rock. Stunted plants struggle to exist in hostile, barren isolation. It is the perfect place for Darius to finish his thesis. There is nothing else to do.”

“Darius says we can see the sights. Did you rent a car?”

“There are no
sights. But when I looked on the web, the car rental prices were out of sight. Does that count? And, Darius said he would find a good deal.”

Darius met us at the airport in Reykjavik. The weather was de
lightful: Blue skies and puffy white clouds. However, it took us a while to find the car. It was..

“Beautiful! I can’t believe you got that car for…”

“No, Dad. That’s not our car. They didn’t have my choice in town, so they told me to swap this brand new SUV for a, eh, Citroen C3 when I got to the airport.”

The C3 was decidedly: “Affordable, Dar. But it doesn’t have any hubcaps. And there is a wire hanging out of the bottom.”

“It gets good mileage, Dad.”

“That’s because we have to peddle, Dar.”

We checked into our hotel and walked through the city centre where ¾ of the population lives. The traditional, much coveted, house has walls of corrugated metal, like a Quonset hut. We went to bed at midnight; the sun was still shining.

The next day we followed Darius’ suggestion and drove along the golden circle route.

continental divide

The sky was remarkably blue – many shades of blue. The weather was comfortable. We saw continental divide at Þingvellir where the North American and European continental plates are diverging. (It is possible to walk from one continent to the other.) This continental plate movement means that the entire island is heated by subterranean magma. In fact, the whole country is powered by water heated from underground. The very first parliament building, established about 1000 years ago, is located in Þingvellir.

From there, we drove to the largest waterfall in Iceland, the Gullfoss
. (see top of page) The countryside was astonishingly beautiful.

“Dar,” I said. “This isn’t dark and dismal. It is wonderful!”

“I know, Dad. But the winter is different.”

The next stop on the golden circle was: “The geezers, Dad.”

“Excuse me, Darius. But I don’t think that your mother and I qualify as geezers.”

“Geezers, Dad. Like ‘Old Faithful’ in Yellowstone. The very first geezer was discovered in Iceland.”

“The word is ‘geyser’, Darius. Not ‘geezer’.”

“I’m pronouncing it the Icelandic way, Dad. They invented the word, so I think they can mandate proper pronunciation.”

In fact, Darius was very good with his Icelandic. He likes obscure languages – Icelandic is essentially ancient Norse. Darius spoke to everyone, even the Polish summer workers, in the local language.

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