Rod Summers Iceland 2010


Rod Summers Iceland 2010

In 2 days I am heading north again and will be in Reykjavik for a few days before flying up to the Langaness peninsula in the far north east of Iceland. Internet connections permitting I hope to be doing a daily blog, join me if you will.

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Comment by Mirjam Blekkenhorst on June 27, 2010 at 9:17pm
This picture looks like 17. júni. But WOW... where is your hat?!
Comment by Rod Summers on June 27, 2010 at 9:01pm

Comment by ginny lloyd on June 27, 2010 at 5:03pm
House and skyscraper - wow you weren't kidding about the buildings being plopped everywhere.
Comment by Mirjam Blekkenhorst on June 27, 2010 at 3:04am
Looks like nice weather in Reykjavík, also here up north, a bit windy though. The SEEDS are well windblown after their dayswork cleaning the beach. You should think of christmas in Iceland with Liz, together with your friends in the south.... and maybe new years eve in the north.... Hope you see some more of Iceland the next days besides a new Reykjavík :-) Sverrir will go for a round with the (W)SEEDS tomorrow to see Ásbyrgi, Dettifoss, Mývatn etc.
Comment by Rod Summers on June 27, 2010 at 2:45am
The city of Reykjavik suffered badly during the economic boom, buildings sprang up all over the place and there was a rash of skyscraper madness. Some of the architecture is stunning but the skyline has been forever spoiled. There was a lack of cultural continuation and, of course, the almost universal apparition of Greed also played a role here in Iceland.
Today I am just about recovered from the long drive and have spent the first part of the day washing my clothes and cleaning through the apartment. The sun is shining and so it is my intention to take the camera for a walk through town to capture images of architectural detail.
I walked through town and took just a few pictures, I’ll look later if any are worth posting here. Whilst downtown I went into the new location of Reykjavik’s new modern art museum NYLO and made an appointment with Birta for Monday to talk about the proposed event in Roermond. On Monday I also have an appointment with Steinþór to collect the videos. Tomorrow I will go for a drive with Dalli which, although I have no idea where he will want to go, I hope will bring some good photos.
This evening at 9 local time and 11 in Amsterdam ‘The VEC Vikings’ made a live performance via Skype® for Amsterdam cable TV network Saldo 1. To understand the thinking behind the performance it is necessary to know that 1000 years ago the Vikings rowed up the Maas river and attacked Maastricht despite the fact that Emperor Charlemagne was paying them protection money and giving them land. For this performance called ‘Vikings on the Maas’ Helgi, Saevar and me sat in an upturned table and whilst making rowing action we sang:
Row, row, row your boat
Gently up the Maas
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Charlemagne can kiss my arse.
Twice, before shouting a battle cry at the camera. I thought it went superbly. Raul, the director, was also well pleased.
Tonight is a bit of a sad occasion though as tomorrow both Helgi and Saevar are off to Veiðavötn on a fishing trip and they won’t be back until after I have left, so it will probably be a whole year before I see these my close friends again, of course we are in touch by telephone, Skype and email but it is not the same as being together hatching absurdist plans and performances, telling stories and making each other laugh.

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on June 26, 2010 at 8:02pm
Is that adorable child Hugbjört? Perfect photo, Rod!
And that is a real glacier? One of the few still remaining on the planet what with the global warming...Al Gore showed receding glaciers in his documentary...sad state of affairs. So glad that you got to see, and photograph "Godwits"! A whole bunch of 'em in the field. And you collected volcanic ash, "new earth"...and very good for the soil, eh? Some of the finest Greek wine comes from the vineyards full of volcanic ash on the island of Santorini! cheers!
Comment by Mirjam Blekkenhorst on June 25, 2010 at 11:00pm
I like the first picture the most ;-)
Comment by Rod Summers on June 25, 2010 at 9:11pm
Differences. I had a chicken egg for breakfast this morning, I emphasise chicken because earlier this week I had an Eider egg for lunch, both tasted like… egg, though the Eider egg had more flavour.
The temperature difference between the north and the south is surprising, on Langaness the temperature is a comfortable 8 to 11 degrees whilst here in Reykjavik it is a sweltering 16 or 18. On Langaness all there is to be heard are the birds and the river rippling over its rocky bed, here in Reykjavik I have a piano/drum/bass combo rehearsing just along the corridor, the kitchen exhaust system of the hamburger bar just across the way and the sound of some bloke hammering nails into wood. On Langaness the small supermarket is 15 kilometres away whilst here the open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week supermarket is just down the hill a bit and across the road.
On Langaness the days were my own, I could spend the whole day watching birds or controlling that the river kept rolling... or both, or else holding endless discussions (in Dutch) with Hugbjört on her extensive collection of bling-bling slippers.

Here in Reykjavik I have to work, collecting the videos of the poli-poetry festival held here in 2006 to take back for Tom to edit. Preparing a performance as Helgi, Saevar and me are going to Skype a live performance for Raul Marroquin’s Amsterdam cable TV programme at 11 PM (CET) on Saturday evening, go to and follow the link to the live stream. I also should continue doing research for the proposed Icelandic Art event that will be held in Roermond. Time for more tea I think.
Let’s get back to yesterday morning. When we awoke the ferry from mainland Europe was already in, unloaded and loading up the travellers whose holiday was over

At about half 11 the ferry left the dock and quickly disappeared down the fjord. We packed and cleaned up the apartment, I took a last few photos of Seydisfjördur

At about 1 o’clock it was everybody in the car for the long journey home. We climbed passed newly arrived cyclists contemplating the steep winding road at the end of the fjord and drove up into the snow line, this time the mist had lifted giving me the opportunity to see the extensive snow fields that cover the plateau.

We wound down the other side of the mountain into Egilsstaðir took a sharp left and then drove for three hours over a road that was sometimes perfectly paved and at other times was a well rutted multi-potholed mud road. We swung left toward the coast and entered Berufjörður which has the most spectacular landscape with magnificent ancient volcanoes on one side and thick ancient lava strata and this waterfall on the other

Time for a break so we stopped to stretch our legs and for hotdogs and cheeseburgers in Djúpivogur. Onward and further south the road cuts through a scree which stretched high above us to our right whilst on the left was a precipitous drop into the sea.

Finally we came to the bottom right hand corner of Iceland and the town of Höfn where, without stopping, we took a right turn and headed west along the south coast road. Almost a third of the south coast of Iceland is dominated with the southern edge of Vatnajókull, the greatest glacier in Europe which is approximately 150 kilometres from side to side and 50 kilometres wide from north to south, in places the ice is over a kilometre thick, there are also at least two active volcanoes under the ice cap. These are photos taken out the moving car window of a few of the many outlet glaciers that we passed, as you can see the weather was closing in and the rain starting to fall.

Vatnajókull is so huge it has a major influence on the weather in Northern Europe.
The rain had stopped by the time we found ourselves back under Eyjafjalla glacier and the still active volcano which is where I started this blog in what now seems an age ago. We swung off the main road and headed up the west side of the volcano then into the farm land where Saevi has his summer house and there to meet us were at least 14 Black-tailed Godwits the bird I had, without success, been looking for at Ytra Lón.

We stopped at the summer house just long enough for me to collect a plastic bag full of volcanic ash; the youngest earth on planet Earth, and to make a little video of me shouting comforting words at some sheep as requested by Helgi, then back in the car for the final stage of this long journey. Ah... we had a democratic vote and the majority decided we should stop for pizza at Hvolsvöllur the place where the famous webcam pointing toward the volcano is located. Saevi and me shared but didn’t finish a 16” pepperoni/mushroom and black olive pizza, Isaak had a 9” pepperoni which he didn’t eat but had put into a box and the ladies had some other pizza which I didn’t see as they were sat at another table watching ‘Desperate Housewives’ on the TV. Pizzas put inside or boxed, now it really was time to head home.
At just before 11 and me with a seriously numb bum, we rolled into Reykjavik and a few minutes later I was dropped at the door of Brautarholt #18, hugs all round, a minute or two to locate my keys and then waves goodbye. I hauled my suitcase and the cameras bag up the three flights of stairs made a quick mug of tea, picked up the email, said hello to the blog then crashed into bed to sleep until 5:30... hello! Man doesn’t sleep well with a belly full of junk food! I took a pee and went back to bed (by Oðin it’s hot here!) and slept until 9:30.
I’m back in the... and I use the term loosely... real world.
Comment by Rod Summers on June 25, 2010 at 1:59am
This was a long day and a long drive through some of the most spectacular landscape I have ever seen and that under the most dramatic light. I took masses of photos a selection of which I will post tomorrow. This is truly a wonderful place on the planet, what else can I do to convince you to visit here? Until tomorrow.
Comment by Mirjam Blekkenhorst on June 24, 2010 at 8:45pm
Missing you allready, on that other side of the mountain! See you again soon in number nine ;-)

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