Jul 12 2019

Vertu Sæll & Vertu Sæl

Published by at 9:03 am under Travel

Sunday, July 7, 2019

In Icelandic, a profoundly complicated language, you have to change the case endings depending on whether you’re talking to a male or a female. Vertu Sæll (pronounced “vashtu syte-luh,” more or less) is goodbye spoken to a man. And so it is with sorrow that I bid farewell to the men and women of this wild place. It’s been such a short visit.

Terminal D, Keflavík Airport

I managed to sleep all the way till 7:15 this morning, the first time I’ve gotten up after 6:00. Seems I’ve adjusted to the time zone just in time, hours before I head home. I drank two cups of my PG Tips tea with some ultra-pasteurized G-Mjólk that comes in a little box, and followed that with part of a Naturfrisk organic ginger ale.

It was a balmy 57° in Reykjavík this morning as we headed out at 10:30 with laden suitcases in tow (I was afraid mine exceeded the plane’s 50-pound limit, but apparently not), rolling our way toward City Center 101 Bus Stop #1. We went to Bergsson Mathús for breakfast: scrambled eggs and thin, crisp bacon on a slice of toasted sourdough.

A little before noon we arrived at the bus stop. A medium-sized FlyBus picked us up. We slung our suitcases onto the rack and got all comfortable for the long ride, but five minutes later, the driver stopped at the BSÍ Bus Terminal and said something in Icelandic, whereupon all the passengers exited the bus. We followed the others and transferred to a huge, mondo bus that arrived at Keflavík 45 minutes later. Not a scenic drive. Lots of industry out that way.

We arrived at the airport at 1:15 for our 5:00 flight and killed time shopping in the duty-free stores. We ran into Molly’s friend Douglass, who had been touring Iceland for two weeks in a camper van, staying on California time all the while.

Boy, flying is so high-tech now. Instead of checking in with an attendant, it’s all automated, which confuses me. I had to ask for help in signing into my flight and getting my suitcase headed in the proper direction. Our plane, arriving 45 minutes late, took 9.75 hours of boring. I read a lot of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (a strange book indeed), listened to music on my iPad, and watched the flight-tracker screen on the seat back in front of me. Shortly after takeoff we began to fly over a snow-covered mass that was Greenland, with hundreds of dramatic, blue-based icebergs strewn about the sea offshore.

In San Francisco our bags took a full 1.5 hours to appear, but eventually we made our way out to where the Lyfts pick up riders. Hugging Molly once, twice, thrice at the curb, I got in the car with Roberto from Brazil, who spoke only enough English to inform me that he had been driving nonstop for the past twelve hours and was very sleepy. To keep him awake as we made our way through an unusually free-from-traffic highway in the dark, I chatted about this and that, speaking very slowly. Safely home at 9:30 p.m. Wired from the trip and too tired to sleep, I began to unpack. Check this out: here is a stack of the stuff I packed but never used. There’s a lesson in this, but don’t ask me what it is.

Got to bed close to midnight and dreamed that Mom and Dad met me on a particularly wild and craggy cliff in the Westfjords, they looking lost and confused. I was with a hiking tour and was embarrassed to have my baffled parents there so I largely ignored them when they clearly needed my help. The leader of my tour was very tall, like my 6’8″ father. I acknowledged my pa with only a “Hi, Dad. My, you’re tall.” I didn’t pause to greet or hug him, as I get to do in dreams sometime. And then I ignored Ma equally. I woke up sad and regretful that I hadn’t been kinder to my poor, lost parents.

And that’s the conclusion of my Icelandic saga. I am so glad I didn’t let my fears prevent me from going. It was a challenge, keeping them under control. I’m so glad I went, and I’m also glad to be back.

So there the end love Ginna. (That’s how I used to end all the stories I wrote when I was in the single digits.)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Vertu Sæll & Vertu Sæl”

  1. Molly says:

    What wonderful accounts! I am sad that there shall now be no more to read. Alas.

    Did you try to talk to Roberto in Spanish? I have found this of some use with Portuguese speakers before.

    I’m so glad you finally did decide to do this trip wif me. It was such a wonderful time, I just can’t get over it.

  2. Ginna says:

    Yes, it was a truly wonderful trip. Even the few hard things worked out well in the end. Good flow of activities, methought. Thank you for inviting me. I’m glad I went too. I hope we get to do another cool trip together before too long.

  3. Ellen T Dubrowin says:

    Thank you so much for the excellent reportage and wonderful pictures! I hope you’re relaxing now and resting up from your vacation.

  4. Karen Mead says:

    This is a wonderful travelogue, Ginna! You covered the sights, sounds, and details of your journey so well and so thoroughly that—along with your gorgeous photos—I experienced a strong sense of place AND a desire to visit Iceland myself. If, however, that doesn’t happen, I can still conjure it up via your description.

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