Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fishing in Iceland

I'm just back from a short vacation to Iceland, where my biggest personal accomplishment, under the watchful eye and keen instruction of my friend Jacob, was to learn how to catch trout in one of the local rivers. Here are the before and after pictures of the unlucky fish.

I had been to Iceland before on a business trip, but this time I hung out in Skagaströnd, a fishing village of about 550 people on a peninsula in the north part of the island. There is an old house there where the fortune-teller works (really), and there is a great collection of household items from the very early 1900's. The items show the self-reliance and frugality of the people. Here, for instance, is a plate that someone dropped and cracked over a century ago. It could not be easily replaced, and so you can see how it was reconstructed using supplies that would be available in an isolated village. First, holes were very carefully drilled, a milk-based glue was applied to the joined edges, and then twine was used to hold the plate together. It is still holding.

This town has a great sense of civic pride and lots of interesting stuff going on. Notwithstanding its small size, it hosts an artist residency program, drawing painters, sculptors, and writers from around the world. Each group is welcomed with a pot luck supper provided by local residents. The town is also famous as the home of Hallbjorn Hjartarson, the "Cowboy of the North," Iceland's best known (and maybe only) country Western singer. It hosted a huge annual music festival for many years.

Finally, at the most local level, the teenagers are employed by the town to do local clean-up and beautification work during the summer months. Here, for example, a couple of girls are hand trimming the grass under and next to a fence.


chrisbmc34 said...

I am an MPH student at Yale; currently doing research on the change in health behaviors as a result of the economic collapse (at the University of Iceland/Public Health Institute). It is a gorgeous country. The next time you come you should check out an area called Borgarnes, about an hour from Reykjavik.

Chris McClure

Anonymous said...

I drove through it.

Sigrun said...

Chris, what do you like about Borgarnes?