Monday, August 03, 2009

The Faces of Icelanders

I have a deep respect for people who live their lives in Iceland. This respect is ever greater for those who lived in decades and centuries past.

We’re enjoying our visit to Iceland very much and I’m spoiled daily by so many striking sites and interesting things to learn about. However, Iceland is one of those places that is great to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here. Why? It’s cold. Even now, at the height of summer, with beautiful sunny days and little rain, I dress in three layers and carry around a wool hat. Also, the winters are dark. And the land is far from other places.

Reading books, such as the recent novel, The Tricking of Freya, and the opus by Nobel Prize winning Icelandic author Haldor Laxness, Independent People, gives me further understanding of what life was life in earlier decades and centuries. They had to contend with volcanic eruptions, with limited diets and high infant mortality.

Those who endured the hardships to build their life and their families here strike me as noble and courageous. Today I visited the Skogar Folk Museum, where I was able to take a closer look at how life was lived. This is a top-notch folk museum, with extensive collections of implements and excellent creations of dwellings and other buildings, including sod houses. For those who visit the southeastern part of Iceland, this is well-worth seeing. A bonus is that it’s located right next to a stunning waterfall.

More than anything else, the faces that peered out from the old photographs struck me. Here are a few of them, faces of Icelanders:

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