Icelandic Turf Houses

Short post today, as I check out soon and then catch my flight to Greenland. My dreams were very sweet, as I am letting Iceland’s charm seep into my bones and heart. I am completely digging skyr, the traditional Icelandic yogurt. It is thick and creamy, almost the consistency of gelato, only it will not melt on you! Sweet with berries, but not too sweet. Best part? Super healthy! The next American health food craze? (It should be, anyways!)

Yesterday I trekked out to the Arbæjarsafn, an open-air museum on the outskirts of the city that was one of the farms until the suburbs engulfed it. Historic buildings are continually brought here and restored, showing the evolution of building materials. For most of Iceland’s history, the people built their homes and churches out of turf. Literally bricks of sod for the walls, earth floors, and timber-beamed roofs layered in sod. The houses look like serene grassy hills, the tall seed heads waving in the wind. The only indication of a house is the door on one end! Inside the living conditions were cramped, dank, smelly and dirty. An entire family would live in one basic room and sleep in the loft. Often the turf barn for the pigs and goats was attached. Imagine 10-15 people huddled into these structures, filled with hazy smoke from the fire! Hunched over in one of these homes I suddenly conjured up an imagine of extended families gathered together in winter for warmth as one of them recited a tale from the Sagas, of blood lust and revenge and love and betrayal and adventure, everyone hanging on their every word to shut out the dank and harshness of living in Iceland. To say I felt the presence of the ghosts of the past is given.

Well, with that little tidbit, I must leave you for now. I have a flight to Greenland to catch! Not sure when I will next have Internet access, so I will post again for sure in a week, hopefully before then.

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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