The Vic theatre was packed. Extra chairs were lined up at the rear. A quick trailer for the movie, Rams, was shown. There was no need for the trailer to encourage people to go to Rams. Both Virgin Mountain and Rams had been sold out for days. The audience for the annual Victoria Film Festival know their films and were aware that Virgin Mountain, the Icelandic-Danish film by Dagur K
In 1814-15 Ebenezer Henderson became the first Englishman (Scotsman) to spend the winter in Iceland. He was there to sell and give away Icelandic bibles. He was devout, well educated, a brilliant linguist, and utterly determined to spread the word of God. He was a keen observer and during his year in Iceland, he made enough observations to fill a two volume book based on his visit.
He has a chapter (Ch. IX) that describes winter in Iceland. I thought, when I first read Iceland or the Journal of a Residence in that Island, during the years 1814 and 1815, that it would describe various Christmas customs practiced by the local people of Reykjavik since he spent the winter there.
He does describe the weather. He says that
Olive decides, on returning from Th
When Olive Murray Chapman reaches Reykjavik, she meets Mr. Stefan Stefansson, a local guide. He takes her to the Hotel Island. For those of you reading my blog posts about earlier times in Iceland, the news of an actual hotel will be an obvious marker of change.
Over the centuries, the isolation, the paucity of visitors, the tremendous difficulty of internal travel, the overall poverty of the people, the lack of roads, meant that travelers, Icelanders. plus the few foreigners who braved Iceland
Olive Murray Chapman went to Iceland in 1929. She wrote a book, Across Iceland, about her adventure. Nineteen twenty-nine. Between the wars. WWI had ended in 1918, eleven years before her visit. WWII would begin in 1939, ten years after her visit.
Much has changed in Iceland. The most noticeable changes are roads and motor cars, although as her book makes clear, the roads sometimes were dried stream beds and the roads often ended abruptly. Waiting at the end of such road were horses, ready to take her and others to their destinations.
Think of it. An Englishwoman, on her own, not knowing the language, having only a pocket dictionary that was given to her by a friend. Her assets are self-confidence, good health and flexibility.
She starts out by taking a taxi from Edinburgh to the docks at Leith. She finds the Br
I found Faroe and Iceland in a second hand bookshop, unwanted, unloved, unread. I scooped it up. It was owned originally by a Mr. Edmund Wilford Bulkley, 1880. It has some fine sketches in it. I think I paid $5.00 for it. The author is Andrew James Symington and the book was published in London, in 1862.
Symington wants to go to Iceland, that no longer so distant but still fabled place. He thinks that he might try getting to Iceland on a private yacht (if he can find one that is going), to rent a sloop or to get a passage on a mail ship from Copenhagen. The first two are highly uncertain. The third possibility is important. This is 1862, steam ships have appeared and changed everything. They can travel in any weather, they can keep to a schedule, and they are relatively cheap. These are the reasons ten years later that our ancestors were able to leave Iceland in large numbers. It was actually possible to plan.
He sees an ad in the Times for the Danish mail-steamer