Travel

 Despite the name, there is only a relatively small area in Iceland that is covered in ice. For the most part, the small Island nation is covered with picturesque, lush, and rolling pastures. And being at 64 degrees north latitude, in the summer month Iceland sees almost 24 hours of sunlight a day! Known for its sweaters, volcanoes, and Bjork, I, like most, knew very little about Iceland. It was a comedy of errors as I attempted to navigate through morning rush hour traffic in downtown Reykjavik, having not slept on the red eye flight out of Toronto the night before.

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I was told visiting the Lussier Hot Springs in winter was a must. The juxtaposition of steam rising from snow-glazed rock pools while crystalline cuts of ice flow down an aquamarine stream sounded nothing short of surreal. There was just one obstacle – location. Set at the tip of Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, the pools are accessible via a 17 kilometre gravel logging road, which, rumour had it, could make for a formidable ride during the frigid season.

The sun was still bright as we set up camp, under the watchful eyes of near by Muscox. They ran around us to gain the ridge above camp, where they held their position all night. Occasionally giving us a grunt to let us know we were on their turf.

What nuclear disarmament was to the Sixties, and AIDS was the Eighties, so environmentalism is to today; the morally-invested issue du jour. And although this may be the Green Edition of the Fernie Fix, I’m afraid that don’t have anything particularly fresh or insightful to add to the mix.

Down here in New Zealand, I live in a town called Dunedin which is right at the bottom of the South Island. Dunedin has the most horrendous weather of anywhere I’ve ever lived (a list which includes Ireland, the north of Scotland, and Alberta, fyi). Apparently the subantarctic region starts at 46 degrees south - Dunedin is situated at 45 degrees 52 minutes, a latitude of which I am all too aware as I bike to and from university in horizontal rain and ferocious southwesterlies, day after day. It is a terrible place.

In my musical tastes, as in much else, I suspect I might be somewhat of a disappointment to those with romanticized notions of “Irishness”’; those who envisage a land of misty mountain tops and green fields, in which toothless old men knock back pints of Guinness, and where raven-haired beauties and feisty colleens stomp their feet at raucous fiddle-playing before bursting into a jig, then wrapping their shawls around them and skipping home to their thatched cottages.

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