A World of Fire and Ice
Jane here, checking in from Iceland.
I have spent the summer enjoying the long days in the fire and ice world of Iceland. Iceland is located near the Arctic Circle and is the second largest island in Europe. The country straddles the Mid-Atlantic ridge system at a "constructive junction" and is home to some of the world's most active volcanoes. Even with all the volcanic activity, over 11% of Iceland is covered by glaciers, even hosting the largest glacier in Europe.
The land is a stark and varied landscape with large areas of bare rock, stony deserts, sandy wastelands, grasslands, bogs, marshes and lava fields all over the country. This seemingly harsh land appears deceivingly inhospitable yet is home to many birds and marine mammals.
While here, I have spent many days espying in the nesting grounds and exploring the beautiful expanses of this contrasting country. Many of my evenings have consisted of Icelandic folk tales ripe with trolls, elves, and ghosts or a long soak in the natural hot baths under the aurora. The people here are very hospitable and are the softening force to the harshness of the land.
While in Iceland I learned two new card games. The first was Púkk. This game was very similar to the game of Tripoli that I learned as a child. It is a fast paced game with 3 phases to each round and in which all ages can participate. Púkk is a good game to play after dinner to relax and enjoy the company of others. The second card game I learned is called Manni which is a "trick taking" card game played by 3 players. Manni means little man or chap, and is the name given to the spare hand of cards dealt to the table, which may be used to improve a player's hand.
The land may at first appear abrasive with its opposing forces of fire and ice, yet one quickly discovers that these forces combine to become a natural source of clarity and hospitality.
Until next time, Jane signing off.