“Why do you always research the backstory, never the practical details?” my constant travel companion R. asks in the days leading to our Iceland trip, as she watches me watching Bjork videos.
How else to appreciate the spirit of place, I think. The Genius loci, “the unique, distinctive and cherished aspects of a place; the invisible weave of culture” and “the tangible physical aspects?”
Until recently, and despite a penchant for bleak landscapes, Iceland has remained a blank space on my mental map of the world (admittedly, there are many), a place too unreal to exist. Volcanoes; Norse gods; magic; trolls; fairies. Ultima thule, more legend than fact. The place on the chart which warns, “Here Be Dragons.”
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