Today we played hookey – taking a mid-week escape from our computers, our work, kids’ summer camp, and everything else – to follow the sun to the Westman Islands off the southern shore of Iceland.
Under nearly cloudless skies we drove along the grassy slopes and past the rocky peaks to a majestic hilltop to view Surtsey. Just a few kilometers from shore sits this brand new landmass, an island that formed in a volcanic eruption in 1963.
Farther on we stopped on the cliff to find the puffins, finally getting up close to the national bird of Iceland.
Later, we ran up the raw red and black rocks, tumbling across the active volcano toward the crater. Peering into the mass of rubble, we awed at the unfathomable—that this was nothing but a field and a quiet the coastline until the earth erupted in 1973 creating this massive mound.
At the bottom of the hill we gaped, imagining the horror, a whole village buried, a modern-day Pompeii. We crept to the roof and peered into the window of a home unburied for tourists and locals to see, to remember.
Back at the harbor, we admired the Norwegian church and midwife’s cabin. Then we turned again to marvel at the strength and perseverance of the islanders—a people that fought hot lava to save their harbor and their beautiful island.
With the sun still strong, we climbed back on the ferryboat, waved goodbye to the wondrous rocks, and headed to the mainland.