I am sitting in a cozy café in Edinburgh, Scotland right now. The light is warm and I can see insanely old and gorgeous buildings out the window from where I am. Students are sitting and chatting in old leather couches and someone is playing beautiful music on an old piano.
Mi boricua is at home in London as I had to come here for work. I write "had to" because although I feel the full weight of my good fortune in being able to visit this beautiful European city, I really hate when we are separated by business trips.
So while I am here by myself, I am able to catch up on some things that have been waiting all summer because of a busy internship, finishing my dissertation, moving, and then starting this new job! One such thing is sharing some of the beauty we got to see when we visited Iceland, or
the Land of the Alþingi.
It was breathtaking.
We made the trip with my beloved aunt, her oldest daughter and one of her best friends that was a fellow missionary with her in South Korea. Spending time with them was just as refreshing to my soul as the beautiful landscape. Good people who make you laugh are worth their weight in (whatever is worth much more than) gold.
Boricua and I accidentally took a taxi all the way from the airport to the capital where our Airbnb was, Reykjavík. I had google mapped it (yes I use that as a verb) beforehand and it appeared that the airport was really close to our Airbnb, but I think that must have been a local airport or something because it ended up being closer to a 40 minute cab ride. The bad part was that that pretty much cost way more than we budgeted for. The good part is that our taxi driver was happy to act as tour guide and tell us all about whatever we asked him on our semi-longish drive.
For example, he shared that the vikings have this bad reputation for being plunderers, but that in what is now England for example they were known for being meticulously clean and were desirable husbands for the locals! I have googled this. It seems there is a back-and-forth going on between portraying vikings as gentle traders and pillaging attackers. Also, he pronounced vikings with a "w." He was awesome.
As far as a little bit of familiarization, Boricua and I have listened to some of "Norse Mythology" by Neil Gaiman and we were asking the driver about that as well, about the general religious beliefs one might find in Iceland. He said that when they were part of the consolidated Danish rule (called the Kalmar Union, this was in the 16th century), their chieftain basically told the population they could say "yes" to Christianity but continue doing whatever they wanted. I haven't really had time to research this well but it is nonetheless interesting. He was very proud of his heritage and it was awesome.
He looked a little bit like a mix between my step-dad and the latest James Bond so that was cool.
We only had the weekend so we packed a lot into our days. It wasn't hard with the sun being up so late! We did the famous Golden Circle tour that covers a lot of gorgeous waterfalls and other beautiful things! This one was called Skógafoss.
We got so wet! As you can see, our poor camera did too.
I took advantage of the opportunity to take lots of photos of my cousin who just a few weeks after this trip left to serve as a missionary in Costa Rica.
I think Boricua was grateful to have someone else for me to focus the lens on, although I still took a ton of photos of him anyway...