Phwew! Even more to tell about, but our trip was winding to a close.
We stopped for a delightful piece of chocolate cake at Hellnar, this fantastic tiny café on the coast near Arnarstapi. It was great to see the whole choir on the porch, wrapped in blankets as the warm June summer hasn't quite warmed up yet. Well, here is just me, everyone else was avoiding the picture, apparently.
Dinner that evening was decent, and certainly I couldn't beat the price as the choir is subsidized by the church, which pays us a little bit every time we sing for Masses. Having a fixed grant income with the Fulbright, I really appreciate being able to see so much for so little! After dinner, I was even more surprised that the choir gathered to thank me AGAIN for the piece I wrote, and gave me a beautiful book of poems, with signatures of the choir in the front of the book. They also let me pick my favorite song for everyone to sing, so we did this great work by Bára Grímsdóttir called 'Ég vil lofa eina thá'. It's in various meters (mostly 5/8), and it took the choir ages to learn, but it's paying off- they're really getting into it now!
There's something very special about the Icelandic choir-singing experience. People can recall long and complicated works in four-part harmony, and bust 'em out at a moments' notice (often to the surprise of dinner guests, who, at least in Iceland, clap and sometimes sing along enthusiatically). This guy at a bar later in the evening was really enthusiastic about joining us. I love this operatic expression I managed to catch in a split-second.
The morning after my friends and I wound our way back to Reykjavík, but not before visiting the light tower at Stykkishólmur, climbing up the little 'mountain' at Helgafell, and sneaking up on some seals at a seal beach on the coast.
It seems like this trip went on for a week with everything I've covered, but it was really just 2.5 days! No wonder I was super tired and took about three naps yesterday. I'm back to work, and wrapping up the time here in Iceland. I plan on entering a doctorate at the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall, but be certain that there will still be lots more adventures to be had in the months to come as I try to scramble to do all the things I haven't done...climbing Mount Esja is on the list, as is maybe one more trip to Akureyri, entertaining some more guests, and hopefully seeing the interior of Iceland as well! I can fit all that in, right?