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Definitely not tourists: a very different kind of Icelandic travel

Photo courtesy of Leif Norman Author: Judy Sólveig Richardson, Arborg, MB

In the early winter, an idea was born to two men who have no genealogical ties to Iceland. Both had wanted to travel to our homeland for some time, and they made a definite decision. Ian McCausland and Evan Kuz went to the guy they knew could help them – Leif Norman, a colleague in the professional arts community in Winnipeg. Sitting in a coffee shop in the darkest days of winter, the three brought the idea to fruition: a tour of selected parts of Iceland would occur and the people taking part would be those Winnipeggers working in the professional arts.
The group will first visit Iceland’s capital city and then go on a self-driving tour to the Westfjörds. During their ten-day trip, they will never travel more than 200 kilometers in a day. However, the purpose of the trip is not one of tourism – it is to be a voyage of learning and discovery. Participants are interested in the technical side of art and the cultural world, particularly in the areas of photography, graphic design, and architecture. It will, in fact, be a cultural expedition. In Leif’s judgment, “Ninety percent of visitors to Iceland just do regular stuff, going to Reykjavík and doing the Golden Circle,” but this group will be radically different. For Leif’s group of voyagers, cultural exchange of ideas will be key.

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A long pilgrimage to Mountain and August the Deuce

Photo courtesy of Erna Hákonardóttir Pomrenke Author: Erna Hákonardóttir Pomrenke, Manassas, VA

Last summer I finally made a long-standing dream come true to attend August the Deuce festivities in Mountain, North Dakota. As the land lies, it would have been most direct for my husband and I to drive from our Virginia home towards Cleveland, Chicago, and across over Wisconsin and Minnesota to Mountain, but of course that did not happen. Our younger son, fresh out of college intended, to walk part of the Appalachian Trail with his girlfriend, so we loaded the car up with their backpacks and other camping gear and headed north to Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, where we dropped them off. Little did we know, as they climbed up the steep slopes, they were about to witness some of the worst summer storms recorded in the area with torrential rain and high winds over the next several days.

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“Where have all the whitefish gone, a long time passing?”

Photo: Stefan Jonasson Author: Glenn Sigurdson, West Vancouver, BC

Billy Valgardson, my longtime friend, once teacher and often a mentor, has a gift for pressing hot buttons in my emotional library. Recently, on Facebook, he managed to do so again with a posting on the wonderful whitefish dinner he had just enjoyed with his Aunt Dilla and her family, baked and stuffed in the way that his Mother did, and all the other mothers connected to the Icelandic ways of what was once New Iceland.
Then he went on to describe the dismal situation in which the mighty whitefish, once the King of the Lake Winnipeg fishery, finds itself. The King is alive, very much alive swimming everywhere, but since our once powerful markets in New York and Chicago have shifted into the hands of others, we have abandoned it at home. Now when the fishermen find them in their nets, they are often left with no practical choice but to throw them on the shore as garbage. Why? To avoid using up the valuable quota designated to each license with a fish that has so much less value today then the other targeted species. And who can fault the fishermen for this commercial judgment?

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  2. The Fragile Heritage Project

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