I was intrigued. I had absolutely no reason to go, and every reason not to, but I somehow found myself in the magical realm of Iceland.
I became enchanted. To breathe the air is to fall in love with the country – her lands, her people, and her music. They fill your lungs, your heart, and your body.
The land, the people, and the music are so inextricably woven, as if they are variant manifestations of each other. Threads weaved so tightly that they’re almost indistinguishable, their beings exist and flourish together.
So majestic, so regal, but so inviting. Breathless; catch me because I’m falling. In one day, we journeyed into five different terrains that made me feel as if I’ve entered into alternate realities. We stepped into the beginning of time, from the stretches of the black volcanic ash sand to the pillows of lava rock formations beneath verdant lush moss; then from the amber fields of grass glistening gold in the sunlight towards the mystical mountains grander than the mind can fathom, and finally we rested at the edge of the world: the Vatnajökull Glaciers. Here, time and space co-exists in a delicate balance, but the universe pressed pause and I am suspended in time and space and light and air.
Iceland dares you to not believe in magic.
You will lose.
I’ve never met a people with so much pride for their land. Everyone here exists in reverence and awe of the stunning world in which they live, and genuinely want you to experience beauty with them. They’re disappointed if you don’t. Icelandic people, so happy and welcoming, reflect their land. In a casual conversation with the Kex Hostel Manager, Gummi, I asked, “Why is everyone so happy here?” He responded, with a chuckle, “We just don’t know any better.” What better way to be?
Ah, by the way, Kex Hostel was an old cookie manufacturing factory, and “kex” is the Icelandic word for cookie. That alone brings a smile to my face.
This music envelops you like a gust of glacier air, as if it’s piercing your soul. There’s just something about it. A sound by a people who’re undeniably influenced by nature. I’m speaking as someone who naturally operates in the visual-spatial-linguistic realm, but I am moved by Icelandic music. It evokes all of the senses all at once with a dignified restraint. You feel the mountains, you smell the glaciers, you taste the winter. It is indeed a sensual experience.
We were serendipitously there during Iceland Airwaves ’13, which by far is one of the best music festivals I’ve ever known. The music is incredible. Just view this Rockumentary about Iceland Airwaves and let me know if you’re not yearning to be there immediately.
Listen to and fall in love with the following artists, just to name a few: Ásgeir Trausti, Ólafur Arnalds, Low Roar, Mugison, Pascal Pinion, Kirayama Family, & one of my favorites beforehand, Retro Stefson.
Join me at Iceland Airwaves ’14?
I am shaken. The land, the people, the music, I love it all. Deep breath, take.
Not even realizing how much I needed her, I came to her with no expectations, but, damn, Iceland, she enchanted me, and I was shaken.
To be continued, Part 2.