things too beautiful

I’m on the second leg of today’s return trip to the United States. I’m flying to Houston with my friend to spend a few days before I return home the end of the week.

I’m listening to music as I soar south. As I write this, Margaret Rizza’s exquisite composition, her music for Eucharist is soaring through my ears. It makes me feel “this is just too beautiful”.

I’m reflecting on my trip to the Faroe Islands and I realize this reflection is soaring in my heart just as the music soars in my ears. And I think “this was just too beautiful”.

There were so many beautiful moments during the ten days we lived in the Faroes.

Moments that showed the out-loud majesty of the islands.

Moments that showed the quiet majesty of the people.

And the many moments of delight seeing sheep quietly munching at all times and along all by-ways.

Also moments of surprise when driving through tunnels with art installations.

I feel forever changed by things too beautiful.

where shall we have lunch?

Having around twenty-four hours between touch-down from the Faroe Islands and take-off for the United States, allowed for a drive from Keflavik airport to the capital city of Reykjavik to have lunch.

It’s about a thirty mile drive from the airport to the restaurant. What else are you going to do on a rainy day? In our case, it’s go to Reykjavik for lunch.

Skal! was our choice for lunch. Located in the first food court in town, we found it to be unlike any we had experienced when we dined there several years ago.

Arctic char for my friend and beef skirt steak for me. The food was exquisitely prepared and delicious!

For dessert we shared a Skyr mousse with rhubarb granité and hazelnut crumble. Bliss! Happy milestone birthdays to us!

After lunch we drove to my favorite church in the world, Hallgrimskirkja,

We have worshipped here several times on previous travels.

We then walked around town for awhile in the chilly drizzle, ending up at Reykjavik Roasters to complete our lunch trek to the city.

A short drive back to the airport to return the rent car and check into the hotel.

A quick early morning walk to the airport and we’ll be on the way home.

Traveling mercies.

heroes

I don’t generally recognize heroes in my day to day life. This time in the Faroes has not been day to day life by any means, so I’ve recognized a few heroes who have crossed paths with me, and with Beth and me.

The young man, a construction apprentice, who when asked by Beth for help when I had high-centered our rent car, walked with her to our car and immediately called the police. He assured us there had not been a violation.

The man in the parking lot where I fell, who upon seeing me on the ground, jumped out of his car and helped me to stand.

The doctors and the nurse who stitched me up and back together and sent me on my way with a current tetanus shot.

The healthcare workers who administer COVID tests, without which we could not travel home.

The delightful young woman who came into our lives serving cappuccinos and conversation. She enriched my time in this place.

And today, when the car’s steering wheel locked up when we were on a remote road headed to a waterfall, a man on his way to work stopped to help when others had refused. He took the time to jump in our car and did what we believed was the impossible. Announcing he “was a strong man”, drove off as we were now able to do so as well!

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” Maya Angelou

zig-zag travel

For my best friend and me, travel is best done when there is a zigzag pattern to the day of traveling out and about. This day was no exception.

The destination is chosen, with a general route of how to get there. Then let the zigzagging begin.

Pull over here. Enter the roundabout and take the second exit. Oops that was the first exit. Well let’s see what’s down this road. Loop around and go back.

Today we made a stop early on so Beth could paint. I wandered about. I kid you not. I gazed out on the water and there it was.

A zig-zag.

Today we drove up the west coast of Streymoy Island. After the painting stop, we swung west and proceeded to climb up

and away.

We hung out in Vestmanna for a time, seeing the sights.

Do you know that if the church is locked, you can still see in. It’s a photog trick Beth taught me. Just hold your Smartphone against one of the church windows and you can see right in.

We spent a fair amount of time diving into pull-outs designed for oncoming cars to squeeze by – or in our case, for photo-ops. As seen in the image below.

A planned zig-zag was to return to Torshavn late in the afternoon to take a COVID test for travel to Iceland on Monday and the U.S. on Tuesday.

Then back on the road for one more zig-zag of the day. A viewpoint for a waterfall.

Dinner at suppugarðurin for Japanese soup. A warm deliciousness on this rainy evening.

Now zigzagged out, it’s time for rest. Oh, we both tested negative! Tomorrow more zigzagging.

when first you fail…

Try, try again. Today we are making a second attempt to leave town. We are headed to the island Vidðy.

Yesterday my toe got caught in a small dip in the asphalt next to our parked car. I had a nasty fall – lots of yelling (which I’m prone to do) as I went down, and which continued long after my head hit the ground hard. Real hard.

So we went to the E. R. instead.

I was asked for my passport so I felt like I had traveled somewhere.

I was treated and sewn up by three doctors; two of whom had studied medicine in Denmark, the other in Poland. A nurse from Germany completed the international feel.

I was told I would soon develop goggle eyes. And they were correct.

When I picked up the prescribed antibiotics, I bought some kids’ bandaids as well – to give myself some smiles.

A good night’s rest and we were off first thing this morning for Vidðy Island.

The day offered stunning vistas.

All told, we were on the islands of Streymoy, Esturoy, Bordoy and Vidðy today.

Outside our window, Nðlsoy Island at dusk.

a large day

Many years ago, while on a ferry in Canada, a fellow passenger declared it to be “a large day!”. In fact, in Canada a “large day” is a description for a day full of hope, sunshine and fresh breezes

I love that saying and have found that often it is the perfect description of a given day.

I was reminded of that large day moment yesterday when I was on the ferry to Sandoy Island. Clear blue skies. Calm seas, with only occasional white wave tips.

So far every day in the Faroes has felt like a large day.

The vast vistas clean out the clutter that has built up in my mind.

About day to day minutia.

Of things in which I have little control.

Of the daily onslaught of negativity in the news.

My soul feels refreshed by the vastness I see in every direction.

Small hamlets seem so clean and tidy – a reminder for me to do so in my own life.

I’m looking up and out.

Today was a very large day.

where shall we go today

Over coffee each morning this is what we ask ourselves.

I pull out the large map and we look at notes we have written on the map or we refer to our Kindle books about the Faroes. Then we order another coffee and lay out the day’s travel plan.

Yesterday we went northeast to Bordðy and its next door island Kunoy. Today we travelled by ferry to Sandoy in the south. Each of the eighteen islands is unique in its particular geography and spectacular vistas.

The one thing all the islands have in common is sheep. Lots of sheep, seen both in the distance

and right alongside the road.

Sheep pay no heed as you drive by, but if you slow down to gaze upon them or to take a photograph, they move along.

Yesterday was the exception. After turning onto a small road, we slowed down because up ahead “greeter” sheep were literally running towards us.

They gathered around the car, baaing like crazy.

I thought for sure they would jump in the car if we let them. It was fun experiencing such a fine welcome after so much stand-offishness.

Tonight we ended this day on a practical note. As this was the 4th day since our arrival, a COVID-19 test was advised. And so we did.

Tomorrow we’ll begin the day with cappuccinos and the map, asking “where shall we go today”.

a gathering place

Yesterday morning a group gathered just outside the Icelandic consulate. They were there because a car had driven into the old section of town, tried to turn around and instead had become hung up on a concrete ledge.

They offered counsel and console. Communication and contact. Support and skill. Hospitality and care.

The situation even became a stop on a walking tour of Torshavn’s “old town”.

A young man whom we learned was in a construction apprenticeship, was working nearby and offered to call the police.

Eventually the police department arrived to make an assessment.

“This is a job for the fire department.”

While waiting for the fire department the neighbors offered an invitation to sit and have tea while the mother sat at the window to watch for the fire department.

At last!

“We need wood.” Neighbors brought wood and the jacking up began.

Success! The car was freed. One fire department member held out a portable credit card reader for payment, we gave repeated thanks to all as a neighbor slowly backed the car off the board, drove off to nearby corner where we met up. He got out, we got in, and drove off!

Of course the next stop was coffee.

all this, and all that too – all mine

In William Wehman’s video Alphabet Soup, the letter K stands for King. The king proceeds to say: “welcome to the kingdom. This is mine. All of it. Over here and over there, every last bit of it. All of it. Mine.” My sons and I have fun repeating this every now and then.

I was thinking about that line last night, after another day of wonder and wondrous places where we traveled this day. Gazing upon the majesty before me, feeling this is all mine for this moment.

This wonder of the majesty of God’s creation in this place is all mine – it fills up my soul, lightens my load.

It both fills me with awe and quietens me at the same time.

The past two days have been filled with vistas which seem far off, but are close enough to touch. I’m reminded to pay attention to this moment. It may not come again. Stop. Savor.

I already long to return. I’m keenly aware of my age and know my returns may not be returns. All the more reason to live in this very moment.

Right now. Right here. Mine.

All mine.

And theirs too.