Pro tip: As you are preparing your luggage for a flight to Keflavík (KEF), do not pack your windbreaker in your checked baggage. You’re going to need it for the short scrambles to and from the shuttle bus that will take you to the terminal. Sited on a peninsula jutting out into the North Atlantic, the air field is well positioned for the defense of sea lanes (as it so served in WW II). But the nasty cross winds make it an adventure to traverse on foot, at any time of the day.
This is the quite pleasant view from my shared balcony at the elegant Hotel Holt. Several of my guides emphasized that Iceland is somewhat allergic to city planning—hence the lack of other commercial amenities around this hotel. (On the other hand, my second hotel, the Hotel Reykjavík Centrum, was surrounded by eateries and night life.) The University of Iceland campus is visible in the distance.
Þingvellir National Park is one of the places where the rift between the North Atlantic and Eurasian Plates is visible on land. I’m standing in the rift, with the North American Plate looming above and on the left. Þingvellir was the meeting place of Iceland’s first parliament, which first met there in 930. As dramatic as the scenery might be, this place was more or less centrally located for the delegates traveling to it across the country, and the rift valley afforded relatively flat terrain.
Rifts and cracks mean interesting water features.
The atmosphere of the Njámafjall hot springs area in the highlands of the north is sulphurous. Stay on the boardwalk, and make sure you’re standing upwind!
In the East Fjords, this “golly” prospect is on highway #1 between Höfn and Djúpivogur. At left, looking north, and at right, looking south. We didn’t stop for the lighthouse at Hvalnes. Iceland needs to up its lighthouse game.
It’s a long drive to get anywhere in the East Fjords. Sometimes you just have find opportunities to stop, no matter how silly—like the chair nowhere.
Breakfast Items Rated
- Gravlax: A good condiment.
- Baked beans: Enh.
- Chocolate biscuits: Why not?
- Marinated herring: Hmm. Strangely buttery.
- Skyr: Yes, please!
- Slice-your-own bread: Oh, yeah!
Bonus rating: The plokkfiskur from Messinn on Lækjargata is AMAZING.
I think I have a nest of buzzy things in my attic again. This time, I will be less interventionist.
Kansas does away with 3.2 beer. After Utah’s mandate goes away on 1 November, Minnesota will be the last state standing.
When I was growing up in Ohio, 3.2 beer was an option for older youngsters. Not a tasty option, but an option.
Aspirational Inbox Zero. That’s my froggy voice, starting at 0:29.
Much more traveling this year than usual! Overnight stays in 2018:
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Lubec, Washington County, Maine
- Ellsworth, Hancock County, Maine
- Concord, Massachusetts
- Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, West Virginia 1 2 3 4 5
- Skyland Resort, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- Lionville/Exton, Chester County, Pennsylvania
- St. Louis, Missouri (and)
- Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia (Thanks, Charlie!)
To my surprise, I visited many new performance spaces the year.
- American Museum of American History, Music Hall
- Washington National Cathedral
- Smithsonian American Art Museum, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium
- The New School of Northern Virginia, black box
- Colvin Run Dance Hall
- National Gallery of Art, West Garden Court
2017’s list. 2016’s list. 2015’s list. 2014’s list. 2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list.
All the more difficult in my case, since at the present time I have boxes of mix tapes for two: “Party like it’s 1989: What should you do with all those old cassette mix tapes?”, by John Kelly.
Oof! Too much indulgence at Powell’s, the giveaway shelf at work, and book exchange parties (with Vanessa and Anna, and now a Virginia edition hosted with Sally), and not enough reading! Oh, and pulling up Black Tickets (a recommendation by Janet when I lived in Minneapolis) from the downstairs shelves, in the expectation that I will either read it or swap it. Yet more books out of frame.
A renewed acquaintance with Olney Theatre Center, following their expansion and rebuilds.
Bonus out-of-town venue:
Bonus out-of-town library:
- Mertz Library, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York
2016’s list. 2015’s list. 2014’s list. 2013’s list. 2012’s list. 2011’s list.
The azaleas around my house are going crazy. Just a reminder to myself that this dumpy little place is still pretty fine.
Richard Bolles has passed away. Early in my career, as I blundered my way into writing software for a living, I turned to his books for guidance. I’m not sure that he provided any specific, useful advice, but I was reassured: it always felt like he was in my corner.
It turns out that he spent a good part of his early life as a clergyman in the Episcopal church. Leta would say, “of course.”