Sunday, June 12, 2011

Choir trip to Snæfellsness, Part II

Off on a sight-seeing extravaganza!

Here's a couple photos from the northern peninsula of Snæfellsness- Svörtuloft, the cliffs with birds nesting, and crashing waves.

We stopped at a village of a couple hundred people called Rif, where we toured a salted cod factory, and then sang for the two people giving us a tour! If I could have understood the technical terms about fish processing, I'm sure if would be really interesting, but I was plenty amused just by noticing that all of these giant tubs are full of cod, packed in with salt. And as it's a cured process, you can just handle the fish and put them back in the salt...I think in the States everything would be overly-hermetically-sealed, über-rubber-gloved, but this way is a bit more hands-on, like at least I know a human has looked at this and not just giant impersonal machines hacking through the oceans.

Today is also Sjómannadagurinn, or Seaman's Day! Lots of activities in coastal towns when the fishermen return to play games, have country dances and balls, and party into the night. We saw a game of tug-of-war here in Rif.

We stopped at the Rif café for some delicious Indian-style cod soup. Then we of course sang again for the people in the café! It was so cozy inside, like an old farm-house. I think the building is just from the 1950's, but it feels like an update from an old house in the early 1900's. Complete with lace curtains and porcelain teacups!

Then probably the coolest thing of the trip, and definitely the darkest thing I've done- the choir donned hard hats and descended 100 feet into the Vatnshellis cave! It was full of cool rock formations (that don't photograph well using only hardhat light), glittery bacteria that looked like silver, and several large chambers to explore. And somehow there's a giant spiral staircase inside that allows visitors to descend into the insanity (with a tour guide, of course). And a fabulous tiny door which is the entrance to the whole thing, kind of Alice-in-Wonderland style.

I also finally saw Snæfellsjökull (the glacier) in the sun! I'd never actually seen it completely before, always covered in fog, snow, or rainclouds.

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