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Tjörnin by Batty

  Professor Batty has taken me up on my call for submissions of photos and text detailing reader's Iceland experiences. Here are his lovely words:

When a man who has spent his life on the ocean speaks poetically of water, I will give him due consideration. Sitting in a hot pot at the Vesturbæjarlaug Thermal pool, sharing water with a retired trawler captain, a Spaniard, and an elderly woman, the conversation was as warm as we were. Another unseasonably fine day in Reykjavík, I was taking a final visit to the neighborhood pool. The conversation swirled like the water in which we soaked; moving between politics,economics, wool, music and water. Always water, this rock in the North Atlantic, surrounded by water and the fish in it which generated wealth, the heat from the geothermal water making living comfortable here, and the electricity generated from the hydroelectric plants making modern life practical. I mentioned Halldór Laxness and his novel Kristnihald undir Jökli, wherein the "fallen" pastor Jón Primus declared his only theory: "...water is doesn't even have to go by my theory unless one is thirsty." Everybody laughed. Water is good, especially when one is in it with congenial company. When I became thoroughly cooked, I reluctantly left.

Two days later the weather had turned colder, and it was time for me to return to my home in Minnesota where my "real" life awaited. I showered, smiling at the faint odor of sulfur from the hot water - after only a week I was beginning to take it for granted. I dressed and gathered my bags and headed out. I went down and walked along Tjarnagata, past the pond, where the water had frozen over during the night. A few brave souls waltzed over the thin ice, the birds had congregated down by the northern end where some of the water was still open. Geese flew in formation overhead, and as I walked the paths at the southern end of Tjörnin, I slowly scanned this beautiful city.

Suddenly there was more water, but this time salty. I turned away and headed up the hill to the bus depot. I didn't look back again.

Go here for more amazing photos of the professor's travels in Iceland.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I used to be stationed in Iceland in the early 90’s. Every now and then, I really miss Iceland.

I actually bought my first car while in Iceland. It was a communist built car with an engine in the back (I think it was called a Skoda?)

Anyways, like clockwork, on my standard trip from Keflavik to Reykjavik, it would overheat after about 20 minutes. I soon realized that I was stopping at a sort of cross roads for radio signals. One morning, faint signals from Greenland, Boston, Europe and Africa formed a bleak, static chorus. A few times, a rogue transmission, I’m guessing military, broke the radio waves, echoed numerous times and then disappeared. To my disappointment, this radio phenomenon would only happen on non-windy days, which in Iceland, I think means 3 days a year. Still, I became fascinated with searching for “lost” signals. At night, I would pretend I was orbiting earth in space, listening to all of humanity (Perhaps proof I was drinking too much of that moonshine?). It became almost a religious experience for me- an unexplainable, comfortable sadness. One night, along side my car, the atmosphere put on a concert. The swirling northern lights seemed to be manipulating the lost radio signals. For at least a half hour, the radio was in step with the sky, mixing lost songs from the equator, talk radio, a dozen languages. All so far away. said...

That is a beautiful picture.

I always enjoy your blog, and thought I'd post you a little thank-you comment here. I linked to you at

Thanks for an interesting blog,
Terri Scandinavia Travel Scandinavia Travel

Nicolás Castell said...

Lovely picture.
Iceland has a lot of interesting landscapes.