I’ve got some random memories from my childhood. Super-explosive diarrhea somewhere around the age of six (Sorry! I can’t help that this is my earliest memory! I do hope it’s not some sort of prediction for quality of my writing…). My parents fighting when I was around eight. Having seen a children’s movie called “Electronic Grannies”, where an electronic granny went rogue after rain caused her Z80 processor to crash, then getting a nosebleed out of fear as I was staying with my granny that night. But the earliest happy memories I have all involve myself sitting by a bonfire and being happy.

Back in the 80s, when Poland was still waist deep in Communism, you could buy cheap holidays via your work. The choice was limited, but for that price nobody really cared much (also it’s not like you could go anywhere else, as in Communism for some reason each company had their own holiday “resorts”). Every time we went the fun started with what was called, roughly translated, “an evening to meet each other”. This always involved two things. Tons of alcohol, which I didn’t partake in, and a bonfire. Other kids ran around, meeting each other. Someone would inevitably play guitar. I would sit in one spot, staring into the fire, feeling happy. My mom and stepfather were very pleased, because I caused absolutely no trouble. I’d be allowed to stay up as long as I wanted unless the fire went out first.

This never changed. I spent the New Year’s Eve ignoring the explosions, staring into the fire (I have my own woodburner these days! No need to meet anybody!), and feeling happy.

When I was looking for a new career after a burnout (hoho) ended the 14 years of my work as a graphic designer, I was asked to list 15 things that made me happiest, related to work or not. First eight or nine were easy, but then I ran out and started writing about things that made me happy in general. One of them was, of course, fire. I apologised to the coach, saying I simply couldn’t come up with anything more. She told me everything was important. A few weeks later I found out that blacksmiths still existed, they worked and made a living, and that I might be able to take a blacksmithing course. Suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Forging ticked almost all of the boxes – I would create tangible products that would last a long time; I would work on my own and be able to point at something and say “I made this”; I would be working physically; but most of all, I’d get to play with fire all day and possibly even make money out of it.

This happened.

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In the first instalment of “How to go to Iceland on a budget” I covered flights, accomodation, food, drink (as in water), timing, and Golden Circle. What else can I add?

 

Don’t assume Iceland = Reykjavík and Blue Lagoon

For our 2019 outing, assuming someone does buy my kidney on eBay soon, we’re planning to go to the surroundings of Akureyri, somewhere around October. Akureyri is the second largest town in Iceland with population of 18 thousand people. (This is not a typo.) But let’s take this a bit further. We don’t intend to actually stay in Akureyri. There are beautiful – and even cheaper – places very near the town itself. And Iceland is being, you know, Iceland everywhere. The gorgeous spots haven’t been all placed around Reykjavík. Another plus side, at least for me, is that the…density of tourists is going to be smaller.

The prices of accomodation in Akureyri are on average half of what you pay for the same length of stay during the same time of year in Reykjavík. You could, of course, go even more remote. But the plus side of Akureyri is that you can fly there from Reykjavík. The flight takes 45 minutes. And nothing stops you from going to Reykjavík for three days, doing a bus coach tour around the main Golden Circle attractions, then spending two weeks in Akureyri. Or really anywhere…

I don’t have my own photos from other parts of Iceland yet, so the one on top is from, yes, Golden Circle – lazy bird’s view on Thingvellir to be precise. Because the first time we went we, too, thought that Iceland consisted only of one place.

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I loved Delaney Green’s “Jem: A Girl of London” and “Jem: A Fugitive from London” so much I decided I would like to ask the author some questions, and she agreed! Here we go…

 

Hello Delaney, how would you introduce yourself?

First of all, Bjørn, thank you for this invitation.

I write whatever story comes, which means I’m not married to any particular genre, although I lean toward speculative fiction. I worked as a newspaper reporter, a copy editor, a professional actress, a Broadway theater, concessions manager, a high school English teacher, an adjunct professor, and a farm laborer. I am the mother of a soon-to-graduate-from-college son majoring in computer programming. I am a good cook, and I am known for my home-baked cookies, cakes, bars, and pies. I really, really love visual art, especially sculpture, both looking at it and making it myself.

My ancestry is English, Norwegian, Swedish, and Swiss in equal measure. The farthest-back ancestor I can find is Aviet, who was born circa 1070 in England. One English ancestor in the late thirteenth century may have murdered a neighbor to acquire land for his sons; that’s a story I may write one day.

One thing you would learn about me if we started talking is that pretty much anything you say will prompt a story about something crazy that happened to me.

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