Why Iceland? Why Not? It’s Absolutely Beautiful Adventure — Even For An Old Man

When Leigh Ann told me about her “Bucket List” trip to Iceland, she spoke with so much  passion and anticipation that it was hard not to get excited. For over a year, she planned. Put this trip in. Cut this out. Changed the date for this tour. Ensured a full date for that excursion.

She was convinced.

This was to be the trip of a lifetime.

Absolutely convinced.

And, I should not doubt this wonder kin. Ever.

After all, just consider she graduated from high school at 16. Was Student President at Western Kentucky and Homecoming Queen. Both. Graduated from the University of Louisville Law School when she was 20. And, clerked for a Kentucky Supreme Court Justice before she ever made it to the legal drinking age of 21. And, from scratch, she has built one of the best lobbying firms in Kentucky’s Capitol City of Frankfort.

Recently, she was honored by the “Kentucky Gazette,” a periodical that tracks state government issues and personalties, as one of the top, young females in the legislative process.

Now, my friends, that is a resume. Right?

As far as I can tell, the only real mistake that she ever made in her life, is when she accepted my offer to get married.

That decision is a little suspect.

Without question.

But when she told me that we were gong to Iceland, I had to take a double. Drink. And, look.

Iceland? 

Are you serious?

The land of cold and colder?

The land of earthquakes and volcanoes?

The land of Vikings and more Vikings?

Iceland?

To be honest, friends? Totally honest. The people that founded this country — this rock that rose from the ocean — misnamed this place.

It should NOT be called Iceland.

It should be called Wonderland.

Alice had her own fantasy home. But this place is both half fantasy and half reality. This place is both amazing, and then, more amazing. This place is history. This place is geography. This place is geology.

Really. This place is just amazing.

On Tuesday, we trekked into the wildness of early life — where the Vikings founded this rock and called it home before becoming the first to truly find North America. We drove into the rain and the mist and into the mystic — which just so happens to be one of my most favorite songs, as in ever.

I don’t know if singer Van Morrison ever made his way to Iceland, but he should have. The  song and the country sure go together:

“We were born before the wind…

“Also younger than the sun…

“Ere the bonnie boat was won…

“As we wailed into the mystic…

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry…

“Smell the sea and feel the sky…

“Let your soul and spirit fly…

“Into the mystic…

Those words are Iceland. Iceland is exactly those words.

At every turn, or so it seems, you can see the world above turn a stumbling little river into a tumbling and thundering water fall, cascading 100s of feet from the greenest grass on God’s Green Earth to a puddle of pool, blue water below.

The water is so pure that you can drink from the creek. And, it satisfies like you were drinking tears from heaven. I know. I stopped. Cupped my hands. Caught a few drops and set them into my mouth.

Satisfying.

The rocks — created by a marriage of earthquakes and volcanoes of generations ago — jump from the ground like giant bowling balls. Stuck, but seemingly in motion, as if ready to cram into a jumble of pins.

The beaches are black sand. Black. And, as sandy as any sand you have ever stepped foot into and sunk with pleasure. The grainy particles wedging between your toes like jelly.

The waves crash into the beach with such velocity that it shakes the very ground that you walk, and sends a salty mist against your lips that reminds you of the border on a vessel of margaritas.

You can walk through, around and behind water falls, catching the miracles of life from a full, 360-dimension.

You can walk right up to a glacier — 1,000s of years old and resting comfortably on this rock before man ever found it bobbing in the seas.

You can visit with free-roaming and free ranging wild horses, whose manes flow in the wind — flapping with an artistic flash that resembles a flag in a gust of 50-mph winds.

And, there’s a place called the Blue Lagoon. The people that live here in this most amazing place discovered years ago that if you dig into the ground, you will find geothermal waters and heat. Steam pipes up out of the ground like an ogre belching from a meal of meatballs and spaghetti. And, they discovered that when you dig a little wider, that heated water makes the greatest, most natural hot tub in the world today.

We took a dip in these magical waters today. I fell asleep on the ride home and drifted into a world of make-believe and deep relaxation that I have not felt in years. Magical. Just magical.

We are going horse back riding on Thursday. Going to rent a car and head off on a few days of our own adventures. Sure to find more views that I can’t imagine and more stories that I hope to recant.

There are few police in Iceland. And, the ones that do take the job, don’t carry weapons.

There are no mass shootings.

There are lots of mass photo shoots.

And, the people raise their own sheep, cattle, horses, and fit snuggly into the mountainsides with such ease and comfort that the grass covers the roof of their houses, and the water falls give them drink.

I will let you know how our trip continues, and will keep you posted.

But I can tell you this, already.

Leigh Ann’s “bucket list” trip to Iceland has become more than a cup half full. My cup, my friends, runneth over. I have seen the past. It has come to life. And, it is amazing. I have drank from the cup of history. And, the magical waters are more intoxicating than any strong drink that man can make. I didn’t have Leigh Ann’s vision. But I have Leigh Ann’s passion now.

This is Iceland. And, it is amazing.

(Photos by Leigh Ann Thacker, Kelly Sears, Gene McLean and our gang. Pretty self explanatory, but most of all — pretty pictures,  that no matter how good they turn out that simply fall short of the Glory of God)

 

 

 

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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