Icelandic Course - Part 2

Gosh, suddenly the course is almost over! Getting up this morning we discovered that the mountains had disappeared - the clouds were so low and thick that you couldn't see them anymore. The morning flight got diverted to the airstrip two fjords over, somehow they alerted everyone to get up an hour early so they could catch a bus for a 45-minute ride there, using the Breiðadals- og Botnsheiðar Tunnel, a really scary one-lane, 6 km tunnel. There are "meeting points" every 200 meters or so. Traffic coming towards Ísafjörður has the right-of-way. One of the course members comes into town through the tunnel, she said there was an enormous amount of outbound traffic this morning.

So we had "talking about the weather" as our topic this morning. Seems there are five different ways to say "it's cloudy" out and about 15 different terms for storms. Sort of like the urban legend of the Eskimos having 40 different words for snow. We were looking them up, and there was one for "wind of gale force 9" and a different one for "wind of gale force 10 or more". There was a word, Él, for the sudden onset of snow.

We listened to the weather news - goes on forever, there are so many different weather condition areas in this little country. And then we went on a field trip to talk about the weather.

Lucky us, it cleared up! We first went to Skrúður on the Dýrafirði. This was the first botanical gardens in Iceland, started about 100 years ago. It is a walled garden, just below a mini-glacier, and it has a bunch of different trees and flowers and berries growing inside. It also has a whalebone jaw set up as a door - notice the size of the thing by observing that there is a grown man in the right hand corner!

It had stopped raining by now, and the clouds had lifted, so we practiced the words for "it's clearing up" and "nice weather today, isn't it?".

We continued on to a "sandy beach" that is sandy half the day - when the tide is out. It was a very nice beach, the sand half white and half black (volcanic dust). We had a sand-castle building contest that was supposed to be in Icelandic, but it was done under time pressure, so we ended up using English to delegate tasks and to build. We had a lovely castle built, we called it the "beach botanical gardens", built with all the nice stuff we were able to collect in just a few minutes.

After a nice coffee and berry crunch we returned to Ísafjörður - where it started to rain. So we got to try saying that as well.

Forgot to mention the cruise ship that pulled up to Ísafjörður for the day. Some British boat filled with pensioners exploring the arctic lands. We came up to the school and had groups of 2, 4 or 6 people coming our way. One group spoke to us, anxiously, asking if we spoke English. Of course! "Can you please tell us which way the town is?" Um, you're in it, folks. This is the university center, next door is the museum, the other side is the sporting goods shop, then we have the harbor, and then a few more buildings/shops. That's it! But we were nice, pointed them in the direction of "town", and wished them a pleasant day. Now they can tell all their friends that Icelanders speak with American accents!

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