I made my first visit to the Arctic Circle (give or take a few 100km) and visited Iceland. If you’re going to visit Iceland, you might as well do it in the middle of December when the sun rises at 11am and sets a few hours later.
Throughout my visit I was frequently told how lucky I was with the weather
“it may well be -10 degrees – but at least you can see the sky and some light.”
“We’ve just had a month of wind, rain and darkness” – these were frequent refrains.
I should add on Saturday we went to an outdoor hot water spring. It sounded crazy to go in water outside when it’s so cold, but the water was very warm. I’ve never done that before on a Saturday night.
Ironically, I left during a snow-storm in England, which left the area around London, paralysed by an inch of snow. I’m sure the Icelanders would have coped better with a bit of snow.
I couldn’t visit Iceland without participating in the famous Icelandic Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team 2 mile-early-morning-run-whatever-the-weather races. I was mildly disappointed there was no snow or blizzards of legend past – just a bracing -9 degrees.
Including me, there were five spectators/race referees to watch four hardy souls run around the frozen lake in the pitch dark. That’s a proper way to start the day.
In the dark, I was shown a few statues of famous Icelanders and a Sri Chinmoy Peace Tree. Iceland is notorious for having a barren treeless landscape – the old vikings were more interested in building their longboats than looking after Mother Earth. In recent years, there has been something of a revival in tree-building. A few years back, the Icelandic Sri Chinmoy Centre made a pledge to plant 27,000 trees. It’s hard work planting 27 trees, let alone 27,000. I think they have got up to 21,000 so far.
Sunrise was around 10am, and it’s pretty good view.