Going North, Reprise - Route 1, Southern Iceland

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Going North, Reprise - Route 1, Southern Iceland

Going South: Deteriorate or decline. This expression is generally thought to allude to two dimensional maps where north is up and south is down. However, among some Native Americans, the term was a euphemism for dying, and possibly this sense led to the present usage.

All great stories are cycles. And a lot of average stories are cycles too actually. That’s why, this Going North adventure, slowly veering its way back to where it all started, has stepped out of the Kuku Van to record, by the graceful stillness of the Southern Icelandic shore, a Reprise of its flag-song, "'Going North”.

Stillness. Scroll down for music.

Stillness. Scroll down for music.

 

The sometimes-passionate songs, slightly chaotic travels and far-too-long sentences are leading these ukuleles back to the starting point of Reykjavik, capital of Iceland. The last steps of the wintry escapade are on a most majestic stretch of the Iceland Route 1.

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So it is stopping to drink from little fresh-water streams by the sea, and stopping to record a reprise of Going North that Ukulele Road Trips drive this trip ‘home’.

 
 

Above the music, and below, the drink break.

Pictured: left: a bridge and a bit of fresh-water, middle: co-pilot and occasional camerawoman of the Icelandic adventure, top-right: the trusted steed and studio-kitchen, the Renault Master Kuku Camper Van

Pictured: left: a bridge and a bit of fresh-water, middle: co-pilot and occasional camerawoman of the Icelandic adventure, top-right: the trusted steed and studio-kitchen, the Renault Master Kuku Camper Van

 

An adventure full of biting frost, snow, uncompromising winds, grey clouds and cheer draws to a close.

An adventure that has proven with great resolve, that even where the clouds are grey, even where the storms are harsh and everything around you is freezing… well, even there, it turns out, it’s really cold actually.

Closeup of a snow flake on my tenor uke drawn by an art student in Reykjavik.

Closeup of a snow flake on my tenor uke drawn by an art student in Reykjavik.

 

This crazy driving singing cooking Going North adventure was made possible with the help of CloudMusic ukuleles (feature three times in the video above!) and the crazy (crazy nice) people from Kuku Campers. Thanks to them. And to you for following the adventure!

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More Kuku Cooking On The Go - Iceland

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More Kuku Cooking On The Go - Iceland

It’s all very nice singing about overreacting half-giants and swimming trunks, but it will only get you so far.

What is the real fuel of an Icelandic Ukulele Adventure?

What is the real fuel of an Icelandic Ukulele Adventure?

 

The more you endure the frost and harshness of Icelandic elements as you travel around the island, the more comfort you need to keep going. And that’s where Cornflakes with Filmjölk come in.

Technically Filmjölk is the Swedish word and the traditional icelandic milk-stuff is actually a yoghuty vikingy thing called skyr, but just roll with this one. I mean, sure, a traditional raw-milk skyr in the company of that half-giant would be more authentic; but it’s not like I met him anyway. And I didn’t see skyr when I was shopping at Netto in Reykjavík. So it’s Cornflakes with Filmjölk’ and it works just as well.

The Kuku Studios, parked.

The Kuku Studios, parked.

 

And from the Kuku Studios (which are also the kitchen, living room, and the general relaxing ‘yay more than 5°C’ space of the adventure), here’s a proper recipe, with 1 map, 7 ingredients, and at least twice as many pixels. With this one, the “Kuku Cooking Show” is properly back, and also, properly gone, because it’s the final instalment. The Kuku Finale. Ready, steady, spill some egg!

It’s bean onion-cr-edible & egg-citing rye-de, but even weird cooking shows mustard-mit when time’s up.

As always with showbiz’, don’t entirely trust the glamour and perfectly filmed scenes of perfect omelettes. A Kuku Camper Van Road Trip in Iceland is not all 5 star meals and 1000 star skies . Behind the scenes, we just soldier through!

Driving back. Bean there, done that.

Driving back. Bean there, done that.

 

These Ukulele Road Trips are cooking, driving, and all round adventure-ing with Kuku Campers, the life saving exploring-enabling very nice people from Reykjavik., and playing and singing with CloudMusic ukes, perfect for praising Filmjölk. And cornflakes.

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Blue Ice - by Jökulsárlón, Iceland

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Blue Ice - by Jökulsárlón, Iceland

 
 
 

Iceland has no shortage of surprises for guests on its glacial shores. Imagine you’ve been driving around route 1 with a portable hotel for days. You’ve been dazed by natural beauty and drama, and whipped by the same fresh winds that half-giants called home.

And yet, as you near back to where you started, there is plenty to stun and inspire.

Taking a step outside the hotel-mobile

Taking a step outside the hotel-mobile

 

The Jökulsárlón is an eery beautiful sight. Jökulsárlón litterally means “the glacier’s lagoon”, and it very much is. South of the lagoon, the sea, and North of it, the massive Vatnajökull glacier. Vatnajökull translates as “the glacier’s waters”, so you can see, Iceland is good with names. And “the glacier’s lagoon” is like no other.

Stillness, and a beach of black sand, surround the blue Ice

Stillness, and a beach of black sand, surround the blue Ice

 

The Vatnajökull glacier, ‘feeding’ water and ice to the lagoon’, is so huge that it covers almost a tenth of the entire island, and tops the ‘Europe’s hugest ice caps’ list by virtue of ‘most ice’. And while the ice is high up, far away from the tourist’s gaze, magic happens - then, it breaks, crashes or floats down, to appear a wonderful blue in the lagoon. Or black, if it is carrying volcano ash.

In the midst of a grey trip, the colours of  Jökulsárlón  stand out

In the midst of a grey trip, the colours of Jökulsárlón stand out

 

The quiet and cold around the lagoon are a great moveless spectacle. Birds fly here and there, and seals elegantly paddle by, but the stillness of the place makes one feel… silent. Any sound quickly dies, to leave its place with haste, to a cool, heavy, frozen silence. An absorbing, overpowering silence. A silence so deft, she could muffle her visitor in her palm, and slowly, unnoticed, take, and keep him.

 
 

The beauty of the lagoon is not lost on too many, and funnily enough, all sorts have come here to make the most of this frozen sight. Movies (2 James Bond-ses!), music clips, adventurers with bad quality camcorders (see above)... Add to that, during the afternoon these ukes were there, a crew of heavily coat-ed guys from (probably) Japan, making a young pretty model do something silly, for the benefit of (probably) a new fragrance or a magazine’s signature hair colour.

freeze frame technique

freeze frame technique

 

BEN’s BIT OF SCIENCE

WHY IS THE ICE BLUE ?

Basically, on the Vatnajökull, there is a whole lot of ice.

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All this ice creates massive pressure, or weight.

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On occasion, when it snows, air bubbles are compressed out of the snow as it becomes part of the glacier. The ice created is then heavier, or denser.

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In this process, the ice crystals enlarge, meaning that the ice becomes better at absorbing colours. But not blue so much (an oxygen-hydrogen thing). So if it absorbs other colours than blue, it refracts, or sends back, more blue. So blue light bounces off of it and reaches our eyes. So it looks blue. So… it’s blue !!

Photograph of the Vatnajökull and lagoon, circa 1947, colourised (joke)

Photograph of the Vatnajökull and lagoon, circa 1947, colourised (joke)

 

HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS? (UHM… NO, AND IT MIGHT NOT BE FOR LONG EITHER)

The Glacier’s lagoon wasn’t there a hundred years ago. Instead there was what can be called the glacier’s ‘tongue”’. It looks like a giant tongue. Of ice. Coming out of the glacier and leading towards the sea.

It was called Breiðamerkurjökull, meaning, wide thing marking where the glacier is (I guess).

As it all gets hotter starting in the 1920s (swing jazz and all that), things crack, melt and crash, and most of the tongue then leaves the lagoon in its wake, in 1935.

In 1979 it was 8 square kilometres big, but is now more than double that (18km²)! The speed at which the lagoon is growing is a witness to the heating up of the planet. And as you know, it’s not only swing jazz’s fault.

The beauty and uniqueness of the lagoon is that it changes daily. It is in a way a transition for the glacier’s water to flow back into the sea and is in constant secret motion. Never repeating itself in its icy sculptures.

It take an iceberg about five years to go from ‘new lagoonee’ (or ‘freshwater freshman’) to being fully ‘sea graduate’.

It take an iceberg about five years to go from ‘new lagoonee’ (or ‘freshwater freshman’) to being fully ‘sea graduate’.

 

The silent, constant motion, is a marvellous, hypnotising one. However the rate at which this very motion is being quickened might well drastically change the location sooner rather than later. Hopefully we’ll fix the climate issue and the lagoon won’t have to be renamed the Jökulsfjörður.

Thanks for reading, and if you are one of the very very very few explorers to make it all the way down to these frosty depths of this post, hey, leave a comment!

This musical adventure through Iceland is made possible with the participation of the lovely and crazy people at awesome Kuku Campers, and with the participation of CloudMusic Ukuleles, which are the ukes you see me wandering and musing with here on the island!

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