Category Archives: Vikings

Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful

Iceland Hot Geysir

There were about thirty other mud pots and water pools and it was a good job that we had the benefit of the tour guide because he was giving sound advice on temperatures and what you could comfortably touch and what you couldn’t because some of the pools contained boiling water that would strip flesh from fingers and would have involved an unplanned  trip to the infirmary.

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Wales, Slate Mines and a Ghost Story

Wales Weather

The good weather didn’t last, in the night it poured with rain again and in the morning the sky was grey and overcast.  Over breakfast I decided that that this would be a good day to go underground.

So we drove thirty miles or so to Blaenau Ffestiniog which, in one of the wettest countries in Europe has the added dubious distinction of being the wettest town in Wales.  It is famous because it produces not only the finest slate in Wales but also the whole world.  The town sits on a rich vein of Ordovician slate about a million and a half years old and which according to Wikipedia “is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of  clay or volcanic ash clay or volcanic ash and free from impurities and fossils is the finest grained foliated metamorphic rock ever found” – so now you know!

Welsh slate was so good that it was once exported all around the World but the industry started to fall into decline in the middle of the twentieth century and in the face of inferior product competition from Spain and China the mines closed, the water pumps were shut down and the chambers flooded, the industry declined and just never recovered.  There is now only one working slate mine in the whole country.

Llechwedd Slate Caverns

The Llechwedd slate mines in Blaenau have been reinvented as a visitor attraction and we bought our (expensive) tickets and took Britain’s steepest passenger railway, with a gradient of 1:1.8 or 30° into the bowels of the earth and a forty-five minute tour of the subterranean tunnels and the chambers.  There were stories of the hard life of miners, how the caverns were used to store national treasures in the Second-World-War and how today it is used to store and mature Welsh cheddar cheese before it is sold in Sainsbury’s supermarkets.  We bought some in the shop on the way out – it was really good!

We were back at the cottage by late afternoon and with the sun making a belated appearance I took the children net fishing in the river across the field.  They seemed to enjoy it even though we didn’t catch a single thing for our supper so it was a good job that we had some fish fingers in the freeezer as a back up!

Fishing for Supper in Wales

I was rather tired tonight so shortly after Kim had gone to bed I said goodnight to Sally and walked along the corridor to the bedrooms.  Part way along someone called out “Grandad, Grandad, Grandad” three times and assuming it was one of the three children I went to their bedrooms and asked who was calling me – all three were fast asleep, very fast asleep.  I went back to Sally and asked if she was trying to trick me but she denied it.  I went back to the children and in the corridor passed a cold spot that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand out like porcupine quills.

This was a “Blair Witch Project” moment. Let me remind you that this cottage was very, very remote, a mile from the nearest road and the night was as black as tar.  It was a ghost, believe me it was a ghost.  Do you remember my story about the bat and how if they fly into a house it is because they are haunted and the ghost lets them in?

I was scared, Sally was scared but Kim wasn’t scared at all and told us not to be silly and just go to bed.

All was fine until about one o’clock in the morning when I had a tapping noise that woke me up.  I heard footsteps downstairs and thought one of the children must be walking about so I went to investigate.  In the corridor I heard soft and measured footsteps in front of me, the voice said “Grandad” and as I followed into the black treacle darkness I said, “who’s there, who’s there?”  but when I checked the bedrooms Sally and all of the children were all still fast asleep, very fast asleep.  As I turned to leave something cold brushed past me like a floating whisper and touched me gently on the cheek.

I was scared, very scared!  I put all of the downstairs lights on and fled back to bed, closed the children’s bedroom door, closed our bedroom door (as though that would make a difference) and pulled the duvet up under my chin and listened while the footsteps and the bumping noises continued.  I felt sure that my hair would turn grey overnight. Kim didn’t stir. Sally and the children didn’t wake.

ghost Wales Cottahe Llanuwchllyn

This has happened to me before.  Once in a remote Posada in Santillana del Mar in Spain we were left alone for the night, there was no one else there and we both heard something walk along the corridor outside our room and stop for a moment outside of our door.  Two nights running.  Even Kim agrees with that ghost story.

You may not believe me either but in the morning there was another spooky thing when I discovered fish heads and crab claws in a neat pyramid pile on the roof of my car and I have absolutely no explanation for that unless it was a sign from the Mafia (Luca Brazzo swims with the fishes) some form of Druid exorcism or a warning by Welsh Nationalists.  The gate that hadn’t been closed for several years was also firmly shut!

Let me tell you as well that on every one of the next few nights I woke in the early hours and never once did I hear another noise in that house and I never felt the cold spot again.

Also in the morning the owner of the cottage came to see us and we asked the question about the haunting.  Very quickly she denied it and said that we were being silly but we all thought that she was just a little too hasty to make the denial.

Have you ever stayed in a haunted house or seen a ghost?

If you like spooky stories I have another one here.

Entrance Tickets – EPCOT World Showcase

Disney World Florida

Whilst it is true to say that I almost certainly wouldn’t go back again, twenty-five years ago I did enjoy three trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida in the USA.  The memory of these visits has mostly disappeared into a blur of credit card debt, white knuckle rides, the quicksand of commercialism and the exploitation by the Disney machine but one experience that I do remember was a visit to the World Showcase at EPCOT.

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Ireland, Ring of Kerry and I Temporarily Overcome My Fear of Dogs.

Ring of Kerry

Inch Beach, Dingle…

It was the final day in Ireland and we had a late flight home so we debated how best to make the most of our final moments.  We decided to drive the Ring of Kerry.  On account of the engine management warning lights blinking away this might have been rather rash but we decided to go ahead regardless.

It was a shame to leave the Dingle Skellig Hotel but as we loaded the bags into the car I made a mental note to add it to my ‘places I must return to one day’ list and then we left the car park and drove east.

After a while we came to a place called Inch beach, a spit of perfect sand that intrudes five kilometres into Dingle Bay and really looks for all the world as though it shouldn’t really be there at all – an expanse of perfect caramel land stretching south and defying the Atlantic Ocean to devour it.  We parked the car at a glorious look out point and although we didn’t stop long enough to go down to the sea I was happy to elevate it straight away into my list of top ten beaches and to the ‘places I must return to one day’ list.

After Inch Beach we left the Dingle Peninsula and started west again and at the town of Killorglin began the one hundred and ten mile circular route around the Ring of Kerry.

Inch Beach Dingle Ireland

Driving The Ring of Kerry…

Almost immediately I began to wonder if we had made the right decision because one hundred and ten miles is a long way and after only a short while it became rather tedious and awfully slow going as we drove for long distances staring at the back end of a coach full of pensioners taking the day trip from Killarney. All along the northern route there were no sea views as I had imagined there would be and the road remained stubbornly inland wedged in between the scenery of the coast and the majesty of the mountains but enjoying neither.

After an hour or so it was obvious that the Ring of Kerry is something that you really need to take your time over and the one day version is not the best one.  Eventually we arrived at the most westerly point and we could see over Valentia Island which is famous for having the first transatlantic cable station built in 1866 and then the road turned south to Waterville where for some reason Charlie Chaplin used to like to spend some holiday time and there is a statue on the sea front to prove it!

We thought that we might stop for a while in Waterville but it wasn’t especially thrilling and it was clogged up with tour buses making their lunch time break so we passed through and carried on.

Immediately the scenery improved as we climbed several hundred metres from sea level through mountain passes and winding roads until we reached Skelligs viewing point with expansive views in all directions and a coach park.

Ireland Cliffs of Moher

Skelligs View Car Park, Kerry…

It has to be said that this was a really odd place.  It seems that wherever coaches stop in Ireland an unusual ensemble of strange people and entertainers beam down from out of space and put out a collection tin.  In this windy remote place the oddest of all was a sort of farmer chap who looked as though he hadn’t washed his hands or combed his hair for several years who sat on two battered sofa cushions and invited people to have their photograph taken with a litter of kittens barely old enough to be away from their mother and then some lambs who looked to me to be highly sedated.  I think the chap was highly sedated as well, probably on Guinness!

Father Ted Funland

But he actually seemed positively normal next to the man a badly out of tune accordion and kicking a piece of metal plate in some sort of unholy row that I can only imagine was designed to scare witches away.

Walking back to the car in a state of dazed amusement I decided to take his picture but he saw me raise the camera and he was not very happy about it.  Perhaps he thought the camera would steal his soul but on reflection I think it was because I hadn’t put any money in the tin.  “Don’t point that feckin’ thing at me”  he yelled, “Don’t point that feckin’ thing at me”.  I took the picture and gave a jolly wave but he wasn’t going to be that easily placated, “Don’t point that feckin’ thing at me”, I’ll set the dog on yer, I’ll set the dog on yer”.

Now I suffer from a real fear of dogs and a paranoia of being mauled to a canine death and normally a threat like that would turn by backbone to jelly.  The British Geological Survey Team in Edinburgh measures earthquake activity in the UK and has been known to sometimes get confused by the seismic  activity created by my violent shaking when faced by a dog and has issued a false earthquake event alert.

On this occasion however I didn’t think I had a lot to fear from an obviously shagged out old collie that was wearing a flat cap tied to its head and whose best people attacking days were a long way behind it.  The poor thing could hardly stand up let alone chase anyone that it was set upon so I gave another cheery wave and dawdled defiantly back to the car.  I was supremely confident that I could make the five metres to the door faster than it could cover the fifty metres or so to get to me.

Back in the car I suddenly worried that this might be the time that the engine would blow up and I might be in a spot of bother after all but thankfully it fired into life and I deliberately drove slowly past him and gave him a another cheeky wave as he continued to make his pointless threat – “I’ll set the dog on yer, I’ll set the dog on yer”.  What was it going to do – bite the tyres?  Anyway, there was no warning light on the dashboard about geriatric dog attacks so we just laughed and carried on to the exit.

Angry Man Skelligs Viewpoint Kerry Ireland

It’s Nice To Feel Useful (5)

  

It’s nice to feel useful (5) …

Every so often I like to take a look at the search engine terms that may or may not have directed people towards some of my posts.  Some of them are just so funny and so here are ten more recent ones:

Joan of Arc getting burned at the stake clean images”.  Now, I guess that burning at the stake would have been a fairly messy business with all of that smoke and ash and burning embers rising up into the sky, not to mention the spitting fat as the flesh melted in the flames so I imagine that even if there were cameras in medieval France that the chances of getting a ‘clean’ image would have been rather difficult.

I wrote a post about Joan of Arc so perhaps that is where the enquirer was directed?

Next, I have three searches about bridges.  The first one is just too specific for me to be able to help but I did write a post about this bridge after a visit to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2008 – how much space is between the beams on the stari most bridge?”.  Second, this one from an enquirer whose stupidity is just immense –what is a bridge?” and finally this one which is almost equally as dumb – why was the Humber bridge being built?”doh! Why did the chicken cross the road?

Hull Humber Bridge

Actually the  2,220 metre Humber Suspension Bridge is the fifth largest of its type in the World.  This is a very big bridge indeed but the statistic used to be even more impressive because when it was first opened in 1981 it was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the World, a record that it held for the next sixteen years.

Leading on from the Humber Bridge my next favourite is –Anne Frank connection with hull?” because as far as I can make out there is none other than the Hull to Rotterdam P&O ferry.

I have posted a few times about travelling in Italy and the inevitability of a statue of the Italian hero of unification Giuseppe Garibaldi and although everyone knows that he has a biscuit named after him I was surprised to come across this search term – which Italian town has a biscuit named after it?”  Maybe the enquirer turned up at my post about Garbaldi when they were really looking for Genoese cake?

Giuseppe Garibaldi Molfetta Puglia Italy

Sex almost always rears its ugly head of course and large Norwegian penis in a jar” is my offering  in this collection of search out-takes.  I am not an expert on Norwegian penises, large or small, but I did visit the Penis Museum in Reykjavik and this is probably close enough to have recorded the visit to the blog.

Icelandic Penis Museum Reykjavik

This next search may or may not have anything to do with sex, I’ll leave readers to reach their own conclusions – car park in Ciudad Rodrigo”.  I have visited and stayed in Ciudad Rodrigo but I give you my word that I absolutely did not hang around in town centre car parks!

For this selection of search terms I have save my favourite until last and this is it – things to do in Tossa de Marr Spain for clairvoyants”. Now, call me a sceptic if you like but if you can see into the future what on earth does a clairvoyant need with a website of advertised events – why don’t they just look in their crystal ball?

I have been to Tossa de Mar and I have to say that palm reader, soothsayer or clairvoyant that it is a very fine place to visit.

Tossa de Mar Costa Brava Postcard

Iceland, The Assessment

Iceland Cover

This was a second visit to Iceland and the first since the crash of 2008  so there were some significant changes – mostly financial.

In 2008 the economy bombed, the krona has lost more than half its value.  GDP dropped by 10% in under a year and unemployment hit a forty year high.  Following negotiations with the IMF a massive rescue package of $4.6bn was agreed by a combination of loans and currency swaps from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.  In addition the little Faroe Islands offered 300m Danish kroner, which was roughly the equivalent of the United Kingdom lending 300 billion Danish krona or 35 billion pounds!  How generous was that.

Six years previously I had found the country horrendously expensive but immediately after the crash the krona lost fifty percent of its value against the euro and even taking into account six years of relatively high inflation, which even now remains high at over 5%, I was rather hoping for cheaper prices this time and I was not disappointed because I estimate that the tourist cost of living was only about 65% of the costs of 2007.

Iceland Postcard

The smugness of 2007 had been completely wiped away and coffee shops, bars and restaurants were now all eager for business and visitors’ money, beer was cheaper, wine was cheaper and food was cheaper.  Hotels were no more expensive than anywhere else in Europe and local businesses were keen to accommodate visitors.

One place that wasn’t cheaper was the ludicrously overpriced Blue Lagoon’ and I would recommend visitors to Iceland to definitely give this overrated attraction a miss. Since our last visit to Iceland in 2007 the cost of everything seemed to have become more reasonable but the entrance fee to the Blue Lagoon had rocketed from €20 to €34 and that was only for the standard winter entrance which rises to €40 in the summer and which includes no more than an hour or so in the water.  At the premium end of the scale of charges is the luxury experience which costs a whopping €430 – EACH!  The Blue Lagoon boasts about four hundred thousand visitors a year so this place is making serious money.

Iceland Keflavik The Blue Lagoon

And talking of rip-offs visitors should also beware of car hire scams.  Unfortunately hiring a car on line is as big a financial minefield as booking a low cost flight with a range of confusing add ons and exclusions all designed to generate additional revenue.  Sixt have come up with a brilliant wheeze.  I thought that I had purchased fully comprehensive insurance but the desk clerk told me that the cars suffered so many stone chips because of the gravel roads in Iceland that this had now been excluded and could be purchased at an additional cost of €9 a day under the description ‘gravel damage’.

Then it became almost surreal when he explained that further cover was available at €10 a day for volcano damage.  Volcano damage  – WTF? Upon enquiry he told me that if a volcano explodes it can generate enough heat to strip the paint off the car and that this was not covered either.  Well, I considered this for a moment and came to the conclusion that if I was close enough to an exploding volcano for it to strip the paint off the car that I was likely to be in a lot of trouble and great personal danger and the last thing that I was going to be worried about as I was surely burnt to a cinder and my flesh was stripped from my blackened bones was the condition of the paintwork on the hire car, so I declined the offer to purchase the additional cover.

Reyjkavik Iceland Northern Lights

As a postscript to this point I would like to point out to Sixt car hire that as we drove around over the next few days I didn’t see a single car stripped down to bare metal so I have come to the inescapable conclusion that volcano damage insurance is a complete con.

But I/we did enjoy Iceland, we had a nice hotel, found an excellent restaurant (Harry’s Bar), drove the Golden Circle  and on the final night got to see the Northern Lights just as we had given up all hope of seeing the spectacular light show.

I am tempted now to return to Iceland, maybe in June and experience the midnight sun but this time I would miss Reykjavik because I have been there twice now and seen all that there is to see but I think I would hire a car (perhaps not from Sixt) and circumnavigate the island, that would be about one thousand, five hundred kilometres but I am guessing that this would be a wonderful experience.

Iceland Volcano

Click on an image below to scroll through the gallery…

More Little People in Iceland

Little People Elves Iceland

As we drove towards Þingvellir we crossed a ghostly, mystical landscape of mountain passes.  Peaks lost in the clouds and windswept valleys with remote coloured houses of the hardy residents and maybe also the tiny hidden homes of the secretive Huldufólk, the “hidden folk” of Icelandic folklore because Icelandic gardens often feature tiny wooden álfhól or elf houses for hidden people to live in.

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Elf Houses 2

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Burglar Bill

I have certainly enjoyed looking at all of the pictures of the treasure!

 

Iceland, The Blue Lagoon

Iceland Keflavik The Blue Lagoon

I had made a bit of a mistake here because to get to Blue Lagoon we had to drive back in the direction of Reyjkavik so it would have made a lot more sense to have gone there on the way rather than doubling back for the twenty minute journey.  And we were beginning to get low on fuel so I started to panic about that although the others all stayed surprisingly calm.  I don’t know why because I imagine that running out of fuel in Iceland, miles from anywhere might be a bit of a problem.

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The steamy waters are part of a landscape constructed by lava formation with warm waters that are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur and are used as a skin exfoliant. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages a very comfortable 40° centigrade all year round and bathing in the relaxing water is reputed to help many people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis.

The lagoon is fed by the water output of a nearby geothermal power plant because in Iceland, renewable energy provides over 70% of the nation’s primary energy and over 99% of the country’s electricity is produced from hydropower and geothermal energy.  At the Blue Lagoon as part of the power generation process superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity.  After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal hot water heating system and then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in. 

The signs to the attraction were a bit confusing but as we approached we could see the plumes of steam rising into the atmosphere and finally it was impossible to miss the huge structure of the power station looking like a set from a James Bond movie.  Soon after the power plant was opened and the pools began to fill people started to bathe here and some made claims about magic healing properties so eventually the company seeing this as a commercially viable venture developed it as leisure centre/tourist attraction, put a fence around it to prevent people getting in for free, hastily erected a rather ugly looking concrete building and started to charge admission fees.  They market it in the promotional literature in this rather extravagant way:

‘Guests enjoy bathing and relaxing in Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater, known for its positive effects on the skin. A visit to the spa promotes harmony between body, mind and spirit, and enables one to soak away the stresses of modern life. The spa’s guests rekindle their relationship with nature, soak up the scenic beauty and enjoy breathing the clean, fresh air.’

We parked the car and went inside and at the reception desk I was in for rather a nasty shock.  Since our last visit to Iceland in 2007 the cost of everything seemed to have become more reasonable but the entrance fee here had rocketed from €20 to €34 and that was only for the standard winter entrance that rises to €40 in the summer and which includes no more than an hour or so in the water.  At the premium end of the scale of charges is the luxury experience which costs a whopping €430 – EACH!  The Blue Lagoon boasts about four hundred thousand visitors a year so this place is making serious money.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

After recovering from the financial shock and then changing and showering the only way to the open air pool was to leave the building and as the temperature was only slightly above freezing it was a short but brisk walk to the luxuriously blue water which was warm and welcoming and once safely submerged we made immediately for the hot spots.  Soon these became too hot to sit around in and we had to swim off to explore. 

The bottom of the pool was soft and silty with a pale brownish mud that you definitely wouldn’t want to slap on your face or anywhere else for that matter. Even though the water is changed every forty-eight hours (or so they say) a handful revealed a scoop of human hair and it was unnerving to think that we were swimming about and walking in the dead psoriatic skin cells of nearly half a million visitors a year. 

Put this on your face and as the mud dries I can guarantee an unusual beard of multi coloured pubic miscellany that would not be terribly attractive.  Having made this unpleasant discovery we hastily left the soft silty bits and stayed for the rest of our visit in the parts with the rocky lava bottom.

I suppose the Blue Lagoon is a ‘must visit’ place when travelling to Iceland but it is a seriously expensive experience bordering I would suggest on the ‘rip-off’ especially when there are a number of alternative geothermal heated pools in Reyjkavik without the marketing hype for only a fraction of the price.  I for one wouldn’t waste my money and go there again.

So we returned to Keflavik and left Kim and Margaret at the hotel while Mike and I returned the hire car.  At the office we completed the paperwork and then the clerk checked the car for paint stripping volcano damage and having satisfied himself that there was none signed the paperwork to release us from our contract. 

We had expected a shuttle service lift back to the hotel but the clerk explained that he couldn’t do this on account of being the only one on duty and so to avoid a taxi fare we walked the five kilometres back instead which seemed to surprise Kim and Margaret when we eventually got back in the gathering gloom of early evening.

Iceland, Keflavik and the Cod Wars

It was a drive of about forty minutes from Reyjkavik to Keflavik but today the sun was shining which was in contrast to the journey that we had made in the opposite direction just a few days previously and this time we could appreciate the lava black basalt littered landscape dripping in lime green moss and decorated with yellow lichen.

To date only twelve men have walked on the moon (well, maybe, maybe not, depending on your point of view) but for those of us that haven’t I imagine that it looked rather like this (without the moss and the lichen obviously).

In Icelandic terms Keflavik is a big town, the second largest outside of the Reyjkavik conurbation but with a population of only about fourteen thousand this only really makes it a large village in UK terms so finding our accommodation at the Hotel Berg was very straight-forward.

We liked it immediately, it was friendly and welcoming, our rooms were available ahead of check-in time and they were comfortable and warm with good views over the adjacent harbour.

Our plan for the rest of the day was to visit the Blue Lagoon thermal pools but it was still quite early so we thought that before that it seemed only good manners to take a look at Keflavik and walk for a while along the seafront.

First we came across an old fishing boat that had been dragged up out of the sea and was now on permanent display safely marooned on dry land.  It was called the Baldur and visitors could go on board and walk safely on decks where men had previously risked their lives out at sea and it reminded me of the National Fishing Heritage Museum in Grimsby (my home town) and the Ross Tiger fishing trawler moored up alongside.

This made me think of the Icelandic Cod Wars!

In 1958 Britain went to war – this time with Iceland.  The First Cod War lasted from 1st September until 12th November 1958 and began in response to a new Icelandic law that tripled the Icelandic fishery zone from four nautical miles to twelve to protect its own fishing industry.

The British Government declared that their trawlers would fish under protection from Royal Navy warships in three areas, out of the Westfjords, north of Horn and to the southeast of Iceland.  All in all, twenty British trawlers, four warships and a supply vessel operated inside the newly declared zones.  This was a bad tempered little spat that involved trawler net cutting, mid ocean ramming incidents and collisions.  It was also a bit of an uneven contest because in all fifty-three British warships took part in the operations against seven Icelandic patrol vessels and a single Catalina flying boat.

Eventually Britain and Iceland came to a settlement, which stipulated that any future disagreement between the two countries in the matter of fishery zones would be sent to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the Icelandic Minister Bjarni Benediktsson hailed the agreement as “Iceland’s biggest political victory.

Icelandic Fisherman and catch

But it wasn’t the end of Cod Wars because there was a second in 1972 and a third in 1975 when on both occasions Iceland further extended their territorial fishing waters without consultation and continuing to protect these is what keeps Iceland from joining the European Union even today.

I had no idea that when I visited Iceland that I was now there as a resident of the English fishing town of Grimsby which was once recognised as the largest and busiest fishing port in the world. The wealth and population growth of the town was based on the North Sea herring fishery but this collapsed in the middle of the twentieth century and so diversified to distant water trawler fishing targeting cod in the seas around Iceland.  The concessions that Britain made to Iceland as a result of the Cod Wars which put these fishing grounds off limit destroyed the fishing industry in the town.  It is said that many men who survived the sea came home without jobs and drowned in beer.

Today Grimsby is dominated by the fish processing sector rather than the catching industry. Processors are mainly supplied by over-landed fish from other UK ports and by a harsh twist of fate containerised white fish from Iceland.

There is a National Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby which is a museum including a visit on board a real Grimsby Trawler – The Ross Tiger.  It’s a museum well worth visiting and the last time that I went I learnt from the guided tour that ironically Grimbarians don’t particularly care for cod anyway and have a preference for haddock which they consider to be a superior fish!

It wasn’t only Grimsby that was adversely affected by the outcome of the Cod Wars and across the Humber Estuary the fishing industry in the city of Kingston-upon-Hull  was similarly devastated by the capitulation of the UK Government and also went into dramatic and irreversible decline.

In view of this in a previous post I expressed surprise that Reykjavik and Hull are official  ‘Twin Towns‘ but I suppose the arrangement may be an attempt at reconciliation and mutual understanding because this was one of the original principles of twinning which became a popular thing to do after the Second World War as people sought to repair shattered relationships with their neighbours

I have often wondered however what the process was for getting a twin town. Perhaps it was like the draw for the third round of the FA cup when all the names go into a hat to be drawn out with each other, or perhaps it was like the UCAS University clearing house system where towns made their preferred selections and waited for performance results to see if they were successful, perhaps it was a sort of international dating service and introductory agency or maybe it was just a nice place where the Mayor and the Town Clerk rather fancied an annual all-expenses paid trip!

After visiting the Baldur we walked along the coast where the sea was calm today but the defences in place suggested that this might be a rough place in high seas.  Keflavik translates as ‘Driftwood Bay‘  so I searched for a while and picked up some nice pieces for my driftwood boat sculptures and then we walked back to the hotel, checked out the restaurant options for later and then picked up the car and drove the twenty-minute drive to the Blue Lagoon.

Ross Tiger Grimsby Fishing Heritage Museum