The few last weeks have been a lot less interesting than the name of this land indicates.
We should be seeing white plains of snow and beautiful blue starlit skies and displays of northern lights.
But no, since the last week of December it’s been something else.
The horrible climate of late has been a regular pain in the backside. We’ve had rain and then frosty temperatures to freeze up the big puddles the city sewer system cannot handle.
For the month of January and continuing into the month of February, rain and frost have taken turns to make life an absolute misery for locals, in particular us dog owners who want nothing more but to give our furry family members their time out and about in each other’s company.
At this point, the grass is yellow and muddy as the ice melts, revealing plenty of damage due to oxygen forming in the little space between the grass and the natural ice rink.
After only the slightest of contact with the grass, my poor Emma smells like a cheese doodle, the kind that is smelly but terribly tasty to her peculiar taste buds.
Last winter was so much nicer with white plains of snow on a regular basis.
So what went wrong this year?
Well, what hasn’t gone wrong. It’s been a windy season, with plenty of storms and ice. We’ve had avalanches fall over roads in the northern parts of the country, and numerous cars stuck up on the highlands. It’s been one hell of a winter and we’ve already had enough.
It has been getting a little better in recent days. Yes, the old cheese stink is unpleasant, especially for football teams that are at a loss about what to do with the appalling state of their fields. The ice is thought to have caused quite a lot of damage and the local team in my borough is no exception.
Walking past the local sport center is like walking past a muddy puddle where someone ate a little too much cheese.
Thankfully, the sun has come out at last and the ice has begun to melt but we are still waiting for a stink-free day.
All this tells us is that Iceland’s climate is a temperamental beast with a mind of its own, and constantly changing its mind.
As a child, I never took notice of the wind or thought much about the road conditions. Sure, I experienced my fair share of collides with Mother Nature as a child.
In the 1980s, in Hvalfjörður, a route that until the tunnel was built was the only way to travel north, we got held up for a couple of hours as the steepest part of the road was too icy to cross.
We were still driving the old Dodge, a blue stylish car my dad loved so much, but it was not made for those icy roads.
This was before the Hvalfjarðargöng tunnel was opened in the summer of 1998. I grew up in the West Iceland town of Akranes so I had to travel to Reykjavík, through the fjord for sports training several a week.
On another occasion, when I was training with Gerpla, a gymnastic club in one of the communities in the capital area, my dad and I were heading back home to Akranes.
It was storming and we couldn’t see through the invisible veil of snow clouding our vision. All of a sudden, without a moment’s notice, we drove into a thick wall of snow and were forced to reverse out of it and return to the city. We hadn’t even left the capital area. Storms and heavy snow were simply something that were part of our existence. I didn’t mind the snow in the back garden when we made a snow house and a tunnel entrance.
Iceland was a strange place to grow up in. Children today might very well recall this winter as the stinking cheese feast of a winter.
Either way, the cheese feast must come to an end.
It’s either that, or the manufacturers of cheese doodles will struggle to promote their products in Iceland for quite some time...
Júlíana Björnsdóttir – [email protected]