A Motionless Journey #3 — Iceland’s Sweet Winter

The alarm-clock rings at nine in the morning. It’s pitch dark. It snowed when we arrived yesterday evening and it kept on snowing all night long. Húsavík is covered in immaculate snow. On the slope of the mountain behind the city, some lights show the signal “2015”. It seems that the four big shining digits will be switched on till the end of January, as to remind the beginning of the new year to the sleepy little town. We can glimpse the first lights of the dawn around 10.30, and when we go out, a bit after eleven, it’s broad daylight, finally.

The sky is bright and there are no clouds at the horizon, a rather uncommon thing around here. The air is highly clear and warmed up by the shining sun. But as soon as the wind rises, the cold becomes sharp and snowflakes beat your face like bullets. It’s an amazing day, perfect to rediscover the corners of Húsavík, which we already know well but that seems so different now. The lighthouse, northwards, is our first stop-over.

The path to reach it, which starts from the main road, has likely been untouched for weeks. Along the way to the yellow building on the top of the steep cliff, every step sinks in half a meter of snow. We cherish a special memory about this place.

The 21st of June we were here to see the summer solstice. Not that it is the only summer day when the sun stands above the horizon at midnight, but for some reason the 21st is not a day like the others in this area. We decided to come despite the rain, but when we got here the sky opened up, the sun made the ocean and all the horizon shine, and it made the grass on the cliffs and the violet of the flowers glimmer. After more than six months the atmosphere is totally different, but in some way identical. All the warm colors are just a memory, the present is painted in white ice and blue water. But the silence, the time that seems to stop, those are the same.

Also the city seems partly different. The harbor, full of life in Summer, is now empty. No boats and tourist waiting, no whale-watching guides and no captains busy before the departure. The football field, the only part of the city not covered in snow, is empty as well, without teams of all sexes and ages who do their training from early morning to late afternoon. Just a few people walk on the streets. The city is certainly different. I wouldn’t say worse, nor better. Just different. But charming in the same way.

Translated from Italian by Giuditta Gubbi.

Read the precious part: Under the Aurora Borealis in Húsavík

Why this journey? Why "Storie Invisibili"? The route is parte of a dream I had since a few years. I kept telling myself I would start for quite a while, alone, and now I feel the time has come.

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