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Icelandic Vibes

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Language seminar in Reykjavik

Home again

travelling and learning Posted on Jun 23, 2010 20:35:48

Returned home after only five days and my head is bursting with all the impressions from our short stay in Iceland. The warm reception we got from our Icelandic colleagues, the buzzing of vivid discussions during the breaks, the interesting presentations and last, but not least, the encounter with the fascinating Icelandic landscape. I have travelled a lot but I never saw a scenery like this. Austere, beautiful, awsome, mystical and never ceasing to surprise.

Now I understand why my dear brother Jan still often talks about his impressions of Iceland, 42 years after his visit there as a young hitch-hiker. When travelling, I often think: will I want to come back here? In Iceland’s case the answer undubitably is YES.

More pictures on

End of intensive & inspiring stay

travelling and learning Posted on Jun 20, 2010 23:42:00

The first day of conference ended with a great conference dinner out on Viðey island. We ate Icelandic specialities and sang, accompanied by an accordeonist, songs from our different countries at the top our our voices. Most successful was the Icelandic song Riðum Riðum.

The following second and last day passed too quickly. Much reflecting on our roles as teachers and how learners learn best. Thoughts that never receive due attention once school has started. Thoughts that need to be thought, so to say!

On Sunday we went to worship in Hallgrimskirkja, a grey concrete colossus that is inviting, though, in spite of its majestic shape. You feel welcome under its Gothic high-pointed vaults and tall, narrow windows. Like the Icelandic landscape, the church has its austere beauty – no flattering ornaments; just a plain naked interior.
Beautiful music, a lovely choir and more Gregorian chant (written mensural-like notation) than in a Swedish service.

The Blue Lagoon filled the rest of our day. Strange feeling to step into the hot water that is warmed by underground bubbling activity. A giant steaming pool surrounded by black lava. Very very relaxing to float around in the water in these peculiar looking surroundings.

Sharing the Treasure Trove

travelling and learning Posted on Jun 20, 2010 02:17:01

The seminar started on Friday and Margareta and I were lucky enough to have our presentations right after the key note speech. It is fun to present, even though time is usually too short.

This was the case also this time. Advantage with short speaking time: you have to concentrate on the task and not deviate from the subject – the presentation becomes more to the point. Disadvantage: you feel stressed and there is no time for comments & questions from the audience. With my subject – the Computer, a facilitator in language teaching – it is difficult to set the right level as I dont know how computer literate the audience is. Is everything absolutely clear and easy or does my presentation appear obscure? A speaker with too short of time does not get the opportunity to take in the right vibes from the audience, but has to glance at the watch every now and then in order not to steal time from the following speaker. Time stealing is bad manners and totally selfish. It affects the whole range of presentations. Unfortunately it occurs at nearly all conferences. The moderator shows the sign 5 minutes left and the speaker drones on without consideration for the following speakers.

This time it went smoothly though my presentation felt a bit strained due to lack of time. Margareta was more composed and calm, too calm – I stood behind with my eyes glued to the watch.

A relief to have it all done. And it feels nice to go to all the interesting presentations without stress.

The photos below are from different places we have visited but they all show Iceland´s exotic scenery where the ground seems to be alive. The murmuring bubbling underground with mighty forces just under your feet. The widespread black lava fields that give you the impression of being on another planet. The austere rare beauty of a landscape that is not eager to please but evokes memories of a distant past shrouded in mists.

Golden Circle

travelling and learning Posted on Jun 19, 2010 01:37:35

Just two days have passed since my first blog entry but it seems a very long time. These two days have been so full of different kinds of impressions that it feels like it was a long time since I left home.

The round trip to some of Iceland’s highlights was a special experience. The Golden Circle is a 200 km long tour to awsomely fascinating historical and geological places.
The first stop is at the place of the first Parliament, Althingi , which was founded in 930.

Then after a couple of kms through a landscape of lava and lupins and occasional spots with trees, we arrived at a weird landscape with geysirs fizzling, bubbling and gargling from big holes in the ground. The original Geysir gave name to all places where water gushes from the ground. Geysir is one of the few Icelandic words that have found their way into the dictionaries of the world. Strokkur is a reliable geyser that spouts a 20 m high cascade of water regularly every few minutes. The whole area smells of sulphur and it is bubbling and gurgling everywhere. Very strange feeling to walk among these unruly holes in the ground.

The waterfall Gullfoss is mighty¸it falls 32 meters down into a deep gorge which is 2 km long with basalt columns rising like organ pipers from the bottom.

Arrival in Reykjavik

travelling and learning Posted on Jun 16, 2010 22:56:29

After a smooth train trip to Kastrup airport it was easy to find the plane that would take us to Reykjavik. Weather fine and plane trip without turbulence. Fascinating view of Iceland from above: not a single tree to be found. It was kind of desert like and the surrounding sea was emerald greenish blue.

At the airport I was relieved to find a “snyrting” (toilet) before heading for Reykjavik where 60% of the Icelanders live, according to my guide book. The road from the airport went through a flat barren landscape covered in pieces of ash and some occasional groups of violet blue lupins. Hadn´t it been for the motor way we would have had the impression of being in a complete moon landscape.

Lupins & lava and then Reykjavik appearing in front of us. We settled in our rented appartment and took a walk to the city centre that was quite near. Nice with many book stores.

Now it´s nine (for me it´s eleven…) in the evening and the sun is shining. Cool.
Tomorrow there will be a tour to some interesting sites here.