The second instalment of Svava’s winter trip to Iceland
Driving out of Reykjavik along the southern coastal road, we travel east. There is a pretty sprinkling of snow, like the dusting of icing sugar on cakes. The big skies and landscape have a soft tone in this mid winter half-light. Tiny farmsteads nestle at the foot of looming mountains with ominous boulders the size of a house scattered around. In the otherwise barren fields, we pass groups of stoic Icelandic horses, fast flowing rivers, snow ploughs and hot steam rising from underground.
High winds and a storm are predicted but we are in safe hands with Óli our driver who checks the weather reports constantly. We stop along the way to see the 200 feet drop of Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where today a ‘just married’ couple are braving the cold and winds for a breathtaking photo opportunity.
We pass Skógafoss waterfall and the Skógar Museum where all around are the traces of black ash. Lurking is the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano (which I can pronounce!). It is a sobering thought that it is only a matter of time before a larger devastating eruption will cause the destruction of the whole area as a massive glacial melt washes everything out to sea.
Our destination is a country hotel, perched on the hillside, with sweeping views across the flat plains and out to sea. We are the only guests today as many places close for the holidays, so the children immediately run wild, playing chase or hide and seek along the many corridors, watching films in empty rooms. A spooky atmosphere descends in the empty hotel as the storm builds, doors and the roof shake, windows fly open in the night, and the road below empties of traffic. Luckily the kitchen supplies us with home-made soups and bread, the children are happy, teenagers catch up with Uni. essays, holiday photos are posted and a few brave souls battle the winds for a walk. What’s left? Yoga of course!
No mats, but a huge hotel lobby, with a class made up of my brothers, sister, sister-in-law, daughters and nieces. Perhaps one of the more unusual classes I have ever taught but everyone very happy to get a great stretch after the recent plane and coach journeys and lifting of cases, toddlers and babies. Luckily, the hotel owners wander past completely unphased, as if this was just an everyday occurrence. People here are used to adapting and surviving, making the best of unpredictable weather and adversity. Seems that in Iceland pretty much anything goes!