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It all began with an off handed remark about how much fun it would be for a group of us women to go to Iceland to see the volcano. That resulted in eight of us “Heclingers” (those with roots to Hecla Island) going to Iceland for a two week trip to see Eyjafjallajökull.

Binnie Sigurgeirsson said, “Iceland will never be the same!” and we hadn’t even left Winnipeg!

Iceland Express was offering direct flights from Winnipeg to Iceland in June and with 24 hours of daylight to help us have more time to play, we were off!

Hafnarfjörður welcomed us with their Viking Re-enactment and Feast. We encountered Viking warriors, ate lamb cooked on a spit, tried Viking beer, and bought lots of hardfish! A trip to the Golden Circle was extraordinary as we saw where the Alþing took place and were awed at the wonders of nature like geysers erupting into the air, water boiling out of the ground, and magnificent Gullfoss. We ended the day at Eyjafjallajökull but she had fallen asleep so we ventured as close as possible and took many baggies of sand and ash as souvenirs for those at home.

Edda Arsælsdóttir and Hrafnhildur (Habba) Einarsdóttir were our tour guides and kept us entertained with their stories, knowledge, and picnics in the lava fields as they chauffeured us all over the Island.

We participated in Akureyri’s Independence Parade, toured north to Húsavík for whale watching, had a picnic in the earthquake area at Ásbyrgi, and a salmon and arctic char fish farm tour at Fjöll. A day in Snæfellsnes finding family farms was delightful.

A swim at Mývatnssveit was refreshing; however, we did inhale lots of sulphur from the hot springs. Then a tour of Námaskarð with its boiling mud pots, and a visit to Dimmuborgir, an awesome lava field. Our minds were overtaken with images of trolls, dogs, old women with capes, wolves, and even shapes that resembled some family members. After hails of laughter, we finally came to the conclusion that we were experiencing “sulfur induced hallucinations!”

We were armed with our individual genealogies as the purpose of the trip was not only to see the tourist sights but to find and visit farms from which our ancestors had come from before emigrating to Mikley (Hecla). Each one of us found family farms from Fjöll in the north, Grund in the interior, to Rauðamel in Snæfellsnes.

We also spent time meeting and visiting with relatives. If we thought we had no relatives left in Iceland, Habba, our guide, researched until she found some for us to visit. It was quite an emotional time for many of us who felt like we had come home.

There were so many cherished moments that we would like to share: Lunch with Elin Hurst, former anchor woman for Iceland television, who gave us a copy of the documentary she had made from her trip to Hecla; Gae Lynn refusing to eat pylsa (hot dog) as she couldn’t bring herself to eat baby lambs;

Our rooms smelling like a teen’s locker room because of bags of hardfish; Thai fish, fish soup, hardfish, lobster salad, Viking beer, chocolate covered licorice, and good strong coffee; Almar Grímsson referring to us as Mikleyarmeyjar (young maidens from Mikley) and, finally, the privilege of meeting with Vigdís Finnbogasdóttir in her home for kaffi sopi and chocolates. She will always be remembered for her famous remark, “Please have some more chocolates. There are not enough kilos in this room!” How to endear yourself to a group of women!

Then the finale to the tale of eight Icelandic women as we are about to land in Winnipeg. Iceland Express is hit by lightning. The experience was best described by Doris Benson who said, “I heard the airplane didn’t leave for Iceland until yesterday so it could be repaired after the lightning strike – hmmm – don’t know about the rest of you but I glow in the dark!! and Gae Lynn Labossiere: “Doris, I don’t glow but everything around me turns on when I am near it ... my hydro bill is going to be high this month ... That sure was a fun trip ... now it is back to the real world. My Tim Horton’s double double just isn’t the same anymore ... I need a cup of good Icelandic coffee to get me going.” Bless, bless!

That pretty well sums it up. Wouldn’t it be fun for a group of women to go to Australia

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