Three photos and a few words from June 20

Well in a few words you will find out that I am now in Iceland and have been since about 11pm on June 16th. Just in time to celebrate Iceland’s national day on June 17th and then a memorial service and ashes burial for my father on June 18th etc etc etc

We’ve had a slide show of slides that Pabbi took before Mum and we will be having a slide show shortly of slides that Mum took after she arrived. Mum is currently knitting me a shawl, we’ve climbed a mountain in the midnight light. We are going to brew beer tonight with Karl and watch the soccer and a hundred other things that have been done and yet to be done.

A few photos from June 20.

This is one of my nephews wearing Amma Rut’s (Mum/Ruth) glasses.
Iceland, June 20

We spent part of the afternoon at Þingvellir, where we laughed at this sign. The sign mentions nothing about throwing Australian coins into the river…… I would love to get one of those signs. How often do you see a sign like that????
Iceland, June 20

This is Öxarárfoss at Þingvellir. This waterfall looks quite large on the road in but when you walk up to the base of the falls it is actually quite tiny…..
Iceland, June 20

Oh what a wonderful Christmas

It is 0615 as I write this on Christmas morning and I am sitting in the living room amongst a bombsite of wrapping paper, ribbon and cardboard boxes. Pabbi is awake and Karl is dozing in his bed but apart from that it is just me and the birds. We had a very big night last night and I don’t think it has ever taken that long for us to do the presents, with 9 people though it takes a little bit longer. Oh we had a ball.

A family from Iceland should come every year for Christmas, well at least one every second year. Matthew and I had a blast making a clued treasure hunt for the girls, which had us laughing till we fell off the chair. All those photos will come later though and oh what photos I have, as well as photos from decorating the tree and decorating biscuits.

Jól 2008

It has been such an amazing last few days and now there is only three and a bit days till Iceland flies home. After having our Icelandic Christmas last night we will shortly be heading up to The Farm for our Australian Christmas.

Currently Birta is eating chocolate, Silja is playing with her magic balloon, Mum and Pabbi is eating breakfast, Matthew is still asleep (despite my attempts to get him up), Karl is finding chocolate on the tree, Anna and Toti are walking round.

1240 days or thereabouts

Is roughly how long it has been since I last saw Karl, my big full brother. I can’t really say he is my big brother because I have four of them and Karl is the youngest of them. To say I am excited is something of an understatement.

We have just picked up Karl from the airport, which was all very exciting and this is one of the goodies he brought with him. I keep on bringing the package up to my face and inhaling the delightful smell. mmmmm dried fish!!!!

The mother ship has arrived!

Easter Cooking

no not hot cross buns but just good food. I had plans of going away this glorious four day weekend, going bush and exploring. Sadly though that has not been the case as it is nearly two months from when I wrecked my ankle and it is still causing me havoc. Most recently from me thinking it was better than it was and overdoing it, so much that I spent a fair bit of Friday in bed recovering.

Yesterday we had not one but three phone calls from Iceland!!!! That does not happen very often even less than once in a blue moon, more like once is a red moon. It was one of my brother’s birthdays so he rang to say hello and then he passed the phone to one of our other brothers. Then one of my sisters rang to have a chat. Then to top it off Karl the next eldest in age brother from me rang from Ísafjörður the town of his birth where he and a big handful of mates were at Aldrei fór ég suður or I Never Went South a music festival that is exactly how I think a festival should be and so looking forward to going to one year soon. One of the first things Karl mentioned was that he had seen Svavar play with his band Hraun earlier on and commented on his polaroid picture taking which I had to laugh at as last year when Svavar was here I think he quite possibly took more poloraids than he drank beers and that is saying something. A little while later Karl asked if I wanted to speak to Svavar as he had just walked outside, I said of course why not and that was then the most amusing thing. Karl handing a phone to someone who does not know him and saying there is a girl on the phone from Australia for you. Very hilarious. So that was quite a fun thing.

When I woke up Sunday morning I didn’t expect to speak to any family in Iceland and much less Svavar.

Back to the food.

Easter Friday I made a a big whopping batch of pesto (we are talking 1kg plus here). Don’t underestimate my love for pesto or the fact that my pesto could rival that of the best Nonna made pesto from Genoa well I haven’t tested it against a Nonna from Genoa but I think it could. I made a pesto loaf using a slightly different bread recipe to what I normally used and well moral of that story, when making a plain white loaf, use the recipe you know! It is edible but that is about it, the Mum analysis is that I probably altered the water content too much when adding the pesto.

Dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday.
lunch and dinner
Four slices of bread toasted on/under the grill, rubbed with a little bit of garlic, topped with some more pesto, then some toasted prosciutto, some semi-dried tomatoes, a sprinkle of salt/pepper/oil and a fine grating of pecorino. It was quite delightful, my only wish would if we had had some salad greens in the fridge to add as well.

Lunch for Mum and I today as well as lunch for the next two days.
lunch today for Mum and I
Little egg and bacon tarts.
Puff pastry shell pre-baked for a few minutes to crisp the bottom up, spread with some pesto, filled with sautéed onion, garlic, shallots and bacon, topped with egg, pecorino, seasoning and cream fraiche with a semi-dried tomato on top, baked for a handful of minutes and served with a quick grate of pecorino and served with a good handful of fresh beans.

Then in the freezer I have some lime granita and I made a pretty tasty dinner tonight which was cannelloni stuffed with mince, pesto, ricotta, parmigiano, bread crumbs, seasoning, parsley, semi-dried tomatoes, onion and an egg to help bind it all together in a sauce of tomatoes, spinach, ricotta, onion, garlic. Pretty nice, no photos of either though because the lime granita is just that and well the cannelloni as good as it tasted didn’t exactly look good and most of it disappeared pretty quickly.

Tomorrow it is Tuesday which means the end of the four day weekend and back to work.

damm my brother

Now, my brother currently lives in Iceland (actually four of my five brothers live in Iceland but I am referring to the first born son of my mother), the brother who has probably shaped my musical tastes more than anyone else. My brother gets to go and see all those cool Icelandic bands that I only get to listen to on myspace or on the CDs I get sent for Christmas.

What trigged this post you ask?
Karl, the aforementioned brother has just posted his photos and write up from the music festival that he went to over the Easter weekend. We both spent the Easter long weekend at music festivals which were on opposite ends of the festival spectrum. I went to the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, Karl went to Aldrei fór ég suðuror I never went South. A music festival in Ísafjörður, which is the town where Karl was born and the largest town in the Westfjords with a population of about 2750. The festival is 110% free, the bands play for free, the events are free with the town pitching in to make it happen, all ages and true all ages in that the crowd ranged from babies to oldies. Best of all, it seems most of it happened in a fish shed, embracing the true roots of the Westfjords.

I was happily clicking the next button looking at all Karl’s photos and I came across this photo of Lay Low at which I jumped in my chair and made some noise along the lines of argrh as to the fact that I want to see Lay Low live dammit! I have been thinking about throwing it all in and going to Iceland Airwaves this year though I don’t think that will be on the cards till I have actually got a real job. Or figuring out a way to get Lay Low and some other cool Iceland bands to come to Aus and do a tour. That would perhaps be even cooler.

What is the point of this post?
Just me been envious of what my dear brother is getting up to in Iceland of course and making those envious feelings public, nothing more than that. Also admiring just how cool his photos from Aldrei are.

Iceland Megatrip 2005 – Day 14

July 9, 2005.

After setting up camp the night before, we had breakfast and headed up out of the campsite to the main building where we would be kitted out with wetsuits, dry jackets, helmets and shoes to make the most of our day rafting down the Jökulsá Austari (East Glacial River – Skagafjörður). What a day it would be!

When we were kitting up, I managed to grab shoes that were a size or two too small and didn’t really notice that till we were a little away so I spent most of the time curling my toes in to try to make not so tight! That however did not put a damper on the day as I had a total blast! The river is graded an IV by most sources which means that it isn’t really for pansies.

We trooped up to the launch site on a big old bus which at times felt like it wasn’t going to make it round the bends or up the hills but after driving for a while we made it to the launch site we were given some morning tea and were instructed in paddling techniques and safety procedures before getting put in teams and getting introduced to our guides. One of the great things about our guides been Nepalese meant that English was the primary language spoken during the day with the guides shouting back and forth to each other in Nepalese. It is hard to describe the day in words other to say than it was utterly amazing and I would love to do it again!

We had fun going down rapids, laughing and cheering other boats on as went through tricky bits and then cheering for ourselves when we managed to get to the end of the trip without having capsized our boat. The guides threatened to do it on purpose as all the other boats had turned over at one stage or another but in the end they didn’t.

Part way down the river we stopped at a little “beach” and those who wanted to were able to get out and climb up a rocky outcrop (4-6m above the water depending on where you jumped from) and jump into the water below. I was more than happy to lie back on the raft in the sun and watch Matthew, Karl and the rest of the crew jump.

When we reached quieter sections of the river it was fun to watch the guides who were in kayaks showing off doing Eskimo Rolls and other little tricks.

Then after some more paddling, cascades, rapids and other fun stuff we reached the end 🙁 Where we were greeted with cups of steaming hot meat soup 🙂 and the ride back to Bakkaflöt feeling a little damp 🙁 After arriving back at Bakkaflöt and getting out of our kit, we headed over to the hot tub and heated pool for some fun 🙂 and then onto a dinner of pylsur (hot dogs) and drinks for those who were not driving later on (i.e everyone but me). 🙂 I did however had a sip of Ã?sdís’s sister’s Pear Cider which was yum with a capital Y and a capital U and a capital M. After sitting round the campsite eating, talking, playing with cameras, listening to music, Matthew and I jumped in the Micra, hit the road and drove the 100 odd km to Akureyri where we crawled into bed at the Youth Hostel after a loooong day.

I have no photos of the rafting trip because it wasn’t really somewhere to take my camera but I do have photos from the time we spent sitting round the campsite that evening. The first two are taken by Matthew and I think the last one was by me.

Helen and �sdís Karl Matthew