The rain finally came and engulfed our 6 hour drive to our last 4 night stay in Iceland – the Snaefelsjokull peninsula. Jökull, means glacier or ice cap and this volcano with its icecap was made famous by Jules Verne “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
The rain seemed a bit fitting as we drove, because I was just so sure that this leg of the trip might be the one the left us wonting for home. If you remember, because I like surprises, in all my planning of places to stay, I never investigate the scenery around the area. I like to be surprised. I mean seriously nothing that contains the countryside that might ruin the surprise: no movies, or docus, no coffee table books. Crazy, right? So, I go in blind… that’s how much I like surprises.
So inside I was wondering: after so much amazingness, how could there possibly be more? And not that I was feeling whiny or complainy, in fact just the opposite. Full disclosure: I will often steel/prepare myself for “the worse case scenario” to help me be truly thankful for each moment along the way, embracing the abundance I’ve already had, knowing full well: I’ve had everything and more. Rain or shine, views or no views, I’ve been lavishly dumped on with everything Good. I’ve gotten to live a dream. I am still in the dream. I am content.
… and also my puny brain just simply finds it hard to envision more.
So you know it’s a rainy day when I don’t take a single picture! (Except, of course, for that infamous turning the key moment.) But just to let you know what I was thinking: “We are heading into an austere land. Gone will be the green mountainsides. We will be out in the middle of the lava fields. It will be harshly beautiful, and it will show us the brutal reality of living in this land. I know I planned for a view, so four days holed up on a windy, rainy, forlorn land will be awesome… because You are awesome, Lord, and I am 100% thankful and ready to embrace it all.
But before that “unveiling” moment, there was one particular incident I suppose I need to share:
We came within inches from a head on collision.
Driving in Iceland can be a bit tricky sometimes to say the least (mostly because of tourists.) They say that Icelanders, (except for the occasional visits to momma) only drive in the urban areas. They rarely venture. We talked to so many local people who had never even been around the whole island. It is the tourists that are on the countryside roads, and almost all fatal accidents are vehicular. And though they are strict about their four main speed limits: 90kmh, 70kmh, 50kmh and 30, when you find out that 90km converts to approximately 56mph, all of a sudden it feels like you are just creeping! And since many tourists come from the land of the autobahn (130 kmh -80mph), it is easy to understand the impatience. It also makes driving here a very defensive (and sometimes exhausting) activity: there are long stretches of straight where passing is easy, but the leap frogging that occurs is sometimes just plain ridiculous, so you are always watching the oncoming traffic for signs of such. This one particular car coming my way should have seen me several kilometers back. I had spied him, but that critical span of time and highway where you’re watching carefully, “Are they going to make a go of it? Are they going to show signs of “peeking”? Do they see me?” had passed.
Until it hadn’t.
This driver didn’t just peek a little, he full on entered my lane, not more than a hop, skid and a radical swerve away.
I have never felt a straight shot of adrenalin laced in fear before. Even when I jumped from an airplane, the adrenalin was spiced with excitement, not fear. Chris, who never unbuckles, had unbuckled and was turned, searching for something in the back seat. To him, he says, it was over so fast and just felt like a small jerk. For me, there was nothing small about it. I think if he had seen it all unfolding, his kneejerk reaction would have been to grab the wheel himself – which could have been worse. Either way, we were safe, and I felt the tingling of adrenalin for the rest of the day.
which made coming to this refuge, pelted by rain and wind,
even more of the blessing that it already was
and yes, a smile, taking the mandatory bathroom shots…
Then what a better way to christen this stay than finally eating the lamb, butter, and bread recommendation of a sweet bakari customer from a lifetime ago.
Yum. Smokey, brilliant Goodness. (Also tried it with cheese, just in case we American’s might be on to something. Nope, butter only. The Icelandic way. Turns out she knew what she was talking about. 🙂 )
And then, as if on Someone’s heavenly cue, 😉 the skies parted…
and we were home again.