Tied up in the shadow of the new opera house in Reykjavik, we couldn’t have been more central if we’d tried. There were 2 other cruising yachts – one, a beautiful little 26′ Vertue just back from a mountaineering expedition to Jan Mayen (oh to be young!). The other, Mike and I could not stop admiring – a 50 foot alloy cutter belonging to a nice Dutch designer, Gerry Djikstra. Simple, elegant and strong, it has the plumb stem of a Bristol channel pilot cutter and a broad flat run aft, gravity-controlled water ballasting and a low, gorgeous pilot house. I’m dreaming of wealth.
Reykjavik is terribly civilised. Everyone is helpful, quietly spoken, self-effacing, articulate and gorgeous-looking. Liv Ullmans, Bjorn Borgs and extras from Ingmar Bergman films are everywhere.
I went to Kulturhaus to see the vellum texts of the Norse sagas. It was terribly moving. 12th century original documents written in Icelandic. Extraordinary that they’ve been in this remote spot for so long, so continuously and with no break in the cultural and ethnic heritage. Hardly surprising that they all seem so quietly happy about who they are and where they fit into the cosmos. I wonder whether they binge and commit suicide less than I do.
Because the season was getting on we sailed south about round the coast rather than the more scenic northern shore. Things improved on the south coast and in the Vesterman Islands warm sun and light airs were a reminder of things long forgotten