September 30, 2017 · 1:12 pm
September 29, 2017 · 9:48 am
September 28, 2017 · 2:47 pm
We rented a home near Selfoss in Iceland. When the owners were showing us around the place they pointed out this poster that explained what we should do if………Hekla the nearby volcano should begin to erupt. Hekla is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. It last erupted in 2000. On a rainy day we decided to visit the LAVA museum in nearby Hvolsvöllur to learn more about volcanoes. After watching a movie that showed the most recent eruptions of Icelandic volcanoes we walked down this eerie hallway……..that had panels of information about each of the most active volcanoes in the country. As you go through the museum they try to recreate volcanic effects by having the floor move and divide beneath your feet and having you find your way through a corridor of dense steam.By turning the wheel on this map of Iceland we could see how the various volcanoes had developed and changed. Iceland has some thirty active volcano systems, thirteen of which have erupted since humans settled on the island. In this room interactive screens helped us learn about different kinds of volcanic eruptions and their effects. In one area you could look up and down at this gigantic recreation of the mantle plume beneath Iceland’s crust. Here screens that surround you recreate the visual effect of a volcanic eruption. Dave is looking at information about the Hekla volcano nearest the house where we were staying. In medieval times people called the Hekla volcano The Gates of Hell.
Most interesting to me were recorded interviews you could watch of people who live in communities near volcanoes and how that impacts their lives. One woman talked about how they teach children about volcanoes in a way that will keep them safe and informed but not scare them too much. “What we try to emphasize to the children,” said the woman, “is that when there have been volcanic eruptions in Iceland people came together and helped each other and took care of each other and rebuilt together. And we reassure them that will happen again if there is another volcanic eruption.”
Visiting a Volcano in Hawaii
Hanging Around Hilo
A House With a View and Much More
September 27, 2017 · 11:15 am
September 26, 2017 · 12:51 pm
Sometimes in order to get my husband to take photos of me like this I have to keep him happy by staging silly pictures, like this one he insisted I pose for at Skógafoss one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.In return however he took some lovely photos of my sister Kaaren and me at the falls. The Skógafoss has its source in the glacier I wrote about in my last post. Skógafoss is sixty meters high.The spray from the waterfall which mists around you as you hike closer consistently produces a rainbow near the base of the falls on sunny days. There is a legend that a treasure was hidden in a cave behind the falls. No one has yet been able to find or retrieve it. Although Dave isn’t always eager to take photos of me he had no trouble agreeing to snap a picture of these two lovely young ladies from Germany.
Skógafoss has been used as a backdrop for movies, television programs and music videos and countless posters with inspirational sayings.
I saw a young blind man with a white cane being led to the falls holding on to the hand of a woman about his age. It made me close my eyes for a minute and listen to the falls. It was a good reminder that nature’s beauty can be enjoyed with more than just your sense of sight.
Visiting A Glacier in Iceland
Hiking Up to the Church in Vik Iceland
September 25, 2017 · 2:34 pm
September 24, 2017 · 11:23 pm
September 24, 2017 · 12:47 am
Before we left on our cycling trip in Europe I downloaded three books on my Kindle, one for each of the countries we would travel through.
My German book was Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. Trudy is a Minneapolis history professor searching for the truth about her childhood. She won’t learn anything from her mother Anna who stubbornly refuses to talk about the past. We find out Trudy’s father was a Jewish doctor captured by the Nazis. Anna becomes the mistress of a German military man in order to save Trudy’s life. After the war an American serviceman marries Anna and brings her and Trudy to the United States. Trudy believes she is the daughter of the SS officer, who she can vaguely remember. This knowledge colors her whole life. Things change when Trudy undertakes a history project interviewing German war survivors living in America. I chose the classic Heidi by Johanna Spyri for my Switzerland book. I had not read it since my childhood. Heidi was written in the 1880s and I wondered if Heidi was the inspiration for female heroines of the early 1900s like Pollyanna in America, Anne of Green Gables in Canada, and Mary Lennox in England’s The Secret Garden. These are plucky, independent young girls who have had difficult lives and yet remain hopeful and are a positive influence on those around them. One thing I had forgotten about the book Heidi was how religious it was and how faith plays such a key role in the lives of Heidi and her embittered grandfather.
In A Whole Life by Robert Seehalter we are provided with a spare, simple, unemotional and honest look at the entire life of an ordinary Austrian man named Egger. He has a horrific childhood, a varied work career where he labours incredibly hard but is always a dedicated employee, a brief time of quiet married joy, a stint in the army that leaves him a prisoner of war, and then a retirement where he guides tourists on treks in the Austrian Alps. Outwardly there would seem to be little that is remarkable about Egger’s life but the fact that he is able to find inner calm amidst the difficulties of day-to-day living and accept his lot in life is remarkable.
From Those Who Save Us I gained an interesting perspective on the holocaust in Germany. From Heidi I enjoyed absolutely beautiful descriptions of the Swiss countryside and In A Whole Life I saw Austrian history and geography through the eyes of an ordinary man.
Other posts about books and travels……….
Eat Pray Love
Images From Ru
September 22, 2017 · 9:48 pm
Today we hung around in Konstanz, Germany. There is plenty of lovely old architecture left there. That’s because the city was not bombed by the allies during World War II thanks to geography.
Standing at the border between Kreuzlingen Switzerland and Konstanz German.
Konstanz is really a twin city of a Swiss town called Kreuzlingen. Allied bombers left Konstanz alone because they were worried about accidently bombing Kreuzlingen and thus violating Switzerland’s neutrality. Konstanz citizens left all their lights on at night so that allied pilots would not be able to differentiate Konstanz from Kreuzlingen where citizens also left their lights on to alert allied pilots. We learned about this at the Rosgarten Museum in Konstanz which we visited today courtesy of a free coupon from our bike tour company. A display on the top floor told the story of the fate of the Jews in Konstanz during World War II. They were transported to Gurs, an internment camp in France. Those who didn’t die there were sent to Auschwitz where they were murdered. We sat in the sunny courtyard of the museum later enjoying the free coffees also provided by our coupon. Dave read more about Konstanz history in the museum guide. As we walked through the streets of Konstanz my sister pointed out this men’s clothing store. Kaaren and I grew up in a community called Steinbach. Here was a clothing store with the name of our home town in reverse. Bach Stein. We ate delicious lamb doner kebabs for supper. The owner chatted with us as we ate. He is a Kurdish immigrant and has been quite successful in Germany. He also owns two businesses in Stuttgart.
After supper we had pastries and coffee in the city square and listened to a band covering American music by the likes of Cat Stevens and Elton John. Then it was off to bed. Tomorrow we head to Zurich and then on to Iceland for the second leg of our trip.
Other posts about our bike trip in Germany
September 21, 2017 · 11:22 pm
And just like that our five-day biking trip around Lake Konstanz or the Boden See is over. Our last day of cycling was fairly easy compared to the previous four. The weather was absolutely lovely, sunny and just cool enough to make for pleasant riding. We were biking mostly in Switzerland today and saw house barns along the way. The house was attached right to the barn just like some of the houses in my grandparents’ village of Gnadenthal in southern Manitoba and like the house at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach. I had to stop and photograph these terra-cotta warriors around the swimming pool at a luxurious apartment complex overlooking the lake. Dave and I visited the site of the real terra-cotta warriors in Xian China and so it was somewhat startling to see these giant reproductions in the middle of Germany.
We decided since it was our last day we should have our photo taken with our bikes beside the beautiful Boden See which we have been travelling around all week. This very polite and kind young man named David who was resting on a park bench agreed to take our photo. He told us he was on one last cycling excursion before starting his university year in Munich where he is studying to be an industrial engineer. He even took a panoramic shot of our group.
We stopped at noon for a drink at a little place along our bike path where we met a couple from Connecticut who have cycled in many different places. They recommended our next trip should be cycling the heel of Italy’s boot.
Once we arrived back in Konstanz we checked back into the Hotel Halm where we stayed at the start of our journey. Dave has been looking for a gelato place all along our route and he finally found one this afternoon so we had to stop.
Over an excellent dinner at a Singaporean restaurant we reflected on our great bike trip and the good quality of the tour company who organized our route provided our sturdy and reliable bikes, reserved our hotels for each night and ferried our luggage from place to place. We would happily book a tour with them again.
After a day of rest here in Konstanz we will be off to Iceland for the next stage of our journey.
All the posts about our bike trip