Monday, October 19, 2009

Terri´s visit

Terri came to visit us for the fourth time since we came here and she was really hit with the weather for the first time, so not too bad odds. She landed in Reykjavik on Friday morning and we were planning on flying from Ísafjörður. However, we woke to very strong winds and the flight was delayed (it finally left Saturday evening). Before too long we rented a car, called Petra (a student from Aland, Finalnd who was also trying to get to Reykjavik) and got on the road. It was a tough decision, but we finally decided that if we got going right away (we should have left 2 hours earlier) we would be ok. The main concern was the mountain pass before coming into the town of Hólmavík. Driving in and out of the fjords was fair, one side was okay and the other always snowy and icy. As we headed up the pass, there was more snow and the sign said the wind was blowing pretty hard. We climbed up and up and lost all visibility - it was like driving in/on a piece of paper, everything was white, the road, the air, everything - remember no trees even to provide contrast. The road is lined with yellow sticks as markers that were about 10 feet apart and we could see one at a time. Jacob was gripping the wheel so hard his hands cramped and were shaking once we got through it. Apparently he kept envisioning how we would hike noff the mountain with Zelia if we got stuck! Hólmavík was a welcome site.

We stopped at a grill for some lunch and to relax and while we were there we were trying to get information about the new road and mountain pass. A group of three people walked in for food as well and it turned out they were going the same way as we were so we caravaned over the next pass, which was bad, but not AS bad. The wind, however, was getting stronger and stronger. In the meantime, Terri had been at the bus terminal since 8:30 am waiting for a bus to take her to Snæfelness where we would all meet at the hotel. No buses were going due to the gale force winds. We eventually made it to the hotel, and Terri booked a place in Reykjavik.

Hotel Buðir was beautiful, All alone on the sea and a river mouth, it was stunningly decorated with all these nooks and crannies, cozy places to sit. Their bar was stocked with many many whiskeys and cognacs and the rooms simple and sweet. The walls had several pictures and prints and the prints caught Jacob´s eyes immediately. They were beautifully made prints of the fish species in Iceland, many of which he is writing his thesis about. That night was had the first of 2 delicious 3-course dinners. The started was a blood sausage and beets with a port wine sauce and potato foam (even I liked it and Zelia LOVED it). Then we had a piece of monk fish and a piece of halibut with olive paint. Zelia was ready to sleep after that so we took her to bed and then returned for dessert, piece of flourless chocolate cake, homemade spice ice cream and a banana custard/flan/mouse thing, I cannot explain it but it was unbelievable! This chef is so good at combining flavors and textures, it was so fun to eat his food. The wind howled at night and we wondered if Terri would make it on the bus in the morning....

After breakfast and some playing (inside, the wind would have blown Zelia away) we headed out to meet Terri at the bus stop. She made it and we returned to the hotel for some lunch and a nap. In the afternoon we sat in this beautiful room, with comfortable chairs and LARGE windows facing the sea and river. That night for dinner we began with monk fish with a parsnip cream and mashed rutabaga (AMAZING!!!!). I took Zelia to bed and then returned to taste the wild goose with berry sauce. YES, I had it too...lamb was the other possibility so I figured why not? It was quite good, not at all fatty since it was wild and not tender, but not tough. Dessert was more of that banana concoction, with some fine spice crumbs and blueberry ice cream that was fantastic. ahhhhhhh

On Sunday we checked out, but not before finding out more about the prints on the wall. Turns out they came from a book that was reprinted in 1976 (100 years birthday of the author and naturalist), only 1500 copied were made. We took the information and thought we would see if we could find the book. We drove to Hellisandur a small settlement on the sea and then to Borgannes on the way to Reykjavik. In Borganess we stopped for lunch at a sweet little Viking Cafe. We had delicious soup and bread and walked around a little gift shop. Back in the car we headed to Reykjavik.

Our first stop in Reykjavik was to the flee market - Jacob loves it there and we thought maybe we would find a cheap umbrella stroller there. We walked in and to a book seller and you would not believe it...but there as the book, in beautiful condition, unbelievable!!!! After walking around a bit more Terri got it for Jacob for his master´s! What crazy luck.

We checked in to the guest house...hotel Budir it was not:) and headed for dinner. We went to a Tapas restaurant that ended up being spectacular, what a find. Next time we are in Reykjavik we are going there for sure! Of course Zelia was in heaven, lobster, arctic char, tenderloin, olive tapanad, she has good taste:) Back at the hotel we put Zelia to bed and Jacob and I headed out to a free boat to Viðey Island where Yoko Ono helped create a peace light, It was a joint project between her, the Reykjavik Art museum and Reykjavik Energy. It is lit on Oct. 9, Lennon´s birthday and is turned off Dec 8, the day he was assassinated. It is lit again for the winter solstice and New Year´s and the the spring Equinox. It is a very quick boat ride over and then as we departed we each got a small flashlight and headed down to the light tower, which is inscribed with imagine peace in several different languages, we found the Hebrew right away! The whole group held hands around the light and sent our prayers and energy out into the light into the world. It reminded me of a great Jewish image when all our prayers are sent into the heavens making a crown for G-d.

We returned to a screaming child who then had quite a hard time getting back to sleep, poor girl, she kept crying for a new diaper (3 new diapers, she finally went to sleep). On Monday, Jacob headed out to the hospital for some shots and then to meet his advisor. Terri, Zelia and I hung out in a cafe, walked around Laugavegur and had some lunch.

By Monday late afternoon we were ready to get home. We boarded the plane uneventfully and got home. Of course I had to run out to teach pilates but then returned to relax and sleep.

Zelia went to school on Tuesday and Terri spent some time with her there, after that she got sick and ended up staying at home with Terri for two days with a fever. Just a cold it turns out. As Terri was scheduled to leave the wind picked up and she spent another two days with us and finally headed to Reykjavik in a car with Gunna Sigga (who was heading there) so that she could fly out on Saturday.