So we went to the Arctic Circle today! It was quite the adventure!
No one got much sleep last night, so we left a bit later than we wanted to this morning, and therefore were rushing to get to a ferry we didn't know the location of, ooops! Luckily no towns are very big here and we managed to find the ferry terminal, run across the dockyard to get our tickets, and jog back on to the boat in time to set off on the 9am sailing. After an hour, we were probably wishing we'd missed the boat--even in the fjord the going was a bit rough, and by the time we hit the open ocean, C wasn't the only one to re-see her breakfast. I'm SO glad I don't get seasick! I was a bit unnerved by the rolling and pitching of the boat, but not nauseous, which was a plus in all of that! The seas were only about two metres (they only cancel the sailing if they hit six), but messy, so we were pitching up and down both from bow to stern and side to side. It was rough enough that when I went below decks to find C some paper towel, the ground moved a good couple of feet from where I expected it to be and I hit the ground in a great, ungraceful heap.
We stayed glued to a railing for basically the entire three-hour crossing, and were checked on a few times by the SWEETEST lady who worked for the company and spent the entire crossing dealing with sick people, from the sounds of it. She lent us an absolutely gorgeous wool blanket for the crossing, that had viking ships and Iceland woven into the pattern. Gorgeous.
With great relief and touch of hypothermia we shivered our way onto shore and headed up to the tiny settlement. Only about 87 people live on the island, so it's pretty compact! We discovered that The Shop (it's proper name) was closed for another couple of hours, so we went to the pub and had a surprisingly good and reasonably-priced lunch amongst half of the boat's occupants, and thawed out at least partially.
Then it was down to business: we had three hours and three goals--the arctic circle, puffins, and handicrafts.
First off was the handicraft store in order to get directions and also have a look at the lovely knit things on offer. We chatted for a few minutes and then hiked past the teeny tiny airport and beyond a yellow guest house to the small statue that demarcates the line of the Arctic Circle. We shiveringly took a few pictures and I decided to do a handstand leanding up against the pole of the Arctic Circle. I managed to kick up in the wrong place, but because I was expecting to hit the pole, I didn't pay any attention to anything at all, until suddenly I was in a bridge, and then a heap; having not caught myself in the air at all. I tried again and eventually ended up with a photo of me with my legs sort of hugging the sign. Haha oh well!
That job crossed off the list, we walked for about an hour, examining some cliffs which are used by birds to make colonies of nests in. They were stunning! They looked kind of like Hawaii in some ways, which makes sense, due to the volcanic nature of the whole thing, but it was rather colder up here! We saw lots of puffins though! They are adorable little guys, if tough to photograph! They seem to nest in little hollows in the cliffs, and some flew out quite close to us and then put on a flying show around us, pretty cool!
Once we'd exhausted the body heat we'd stored up at the pub, we walked back to the other end of town and saw the very cute but sadly under construction church, and then wandered back to the craft store, where we bought some postcards as well as certificates to prove we had indeed crossed the Arctic Circle. After mailing the cards in 'The Store' we hesitantly got back on the boat. Our favourite crew member was there and she assured us that it was going to be much better, because even though we still had some swells to deal with, the roll was only going to be side to side, not forward and back, and also the wind was behind us this time (and the sun was out). True to her word, it was infinitely better. Knowing we liked to be on deck, she gave us each a wool blanket, and between that, our wind breakers, and our borrowed buffs, we were semi-OK. Frozen, but not seasick. We did get rather wet a few times from the spray over the sides, and eventually I buried myself entirely under the blanket and did some reading through the kindle app on my phone.
It was so much better this time that we managed to go inside for the last 45 minutes or so and thawed out and watched the end of the movie they had showing--Along Came Polly.
We grudgingly gave our blankets back when we got to the end of the ferry trip and made a brief stop for a drink and a personal-sized skyr to add to the sandwiches we'd packed for lunch and never gotten a chance to eat during the day, and stopped in a pull off overlooking a fjord to eat a late-ish dinner before heading back to the farm. It was around 9 when we got home, so we just did some emails, photo uploading, work, blogging, etc., and it will be time for bed soon--back to 7am cows tomorrow.
We've both been surprised as to how this farm has come to feel quite comfortable over the past few days, to the point where, while on the boat and completely green around the gills, Cecilia said 'I want to get back to the farm!' I wouldn't say that I'm loving it here, exactly, but I'm appreciating the time we have here and having lots of fun moments. I can't wait to move back to a bigger city, and am hoping Riga will be that, but there's something to be said for going down to the barn and knowing almost exactly what the routine will be for the next two hours, and then looking forward to the sweet oatmeal after for breakfast, or the bread and cheese for every other meal. (Well not quite any more, but...)
Anyway, more tomorrow.