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Sie sind hier: Home » Girl Friday – the Book of Bad » Girl Friday – the Book of Bad 21. Don´t go to Olavsvik

Gabbi WernerGirl Friday – the Book of Bad 21. Don´t go to Olavsvik

Von | 03.01.2014, 7:59 | Kein Kommentar

When in Iceland, believe the locals when they advise you not to visit Olavsvik.

Welcome. To the stories I told in many hotelrooms. To a man who had trouble falling asleep. A business deal. He paid for my words. Here they are.


„I was in Iceland, long ago in early spring. I took a photo of myself. Sitting on a piece of rock in the middle of nowhere, holding a plastic cup of tea in my hand, looking quite desperate.

It was my second visit, and it was my birthday present to my boyfriend of the time. Boyfriend had to play soccer the weekend I had picked out for us, and no, he was not a pro player, so it was a lame excuse and therefore the end of our affair. Having booked the trip, and not being able to get a refund, I decided to go there. By myself. Four days of Iceland could be nice, I reckoned, time to contemplate whilst enjoying the surreal landscapes I had come to love so much on my previous visit.

During my first trip I had done most of the usual touristy stuff: the Geysers and the Gulfoss waterfall, Thingvalyr and Thorsmork. This time, I wanted something special. I remembered that Jules Verne had situated the beginning of his book „Journey to the Centre of the Earth“ in a cave of Snaefellsjökull, the volcano near Olavsvik..

I had no idea where to go, so I decided that finding the entrance to that cave would be my mission.

On the plane I started talking to a man from Iceland who hated his country very much. He was a surgeon and lived in Canada. The solitude of Iceland had nearly driven him insane as a boy, he said, he was so glad to be living in a much more populated country. The birthday of one of his aunts forced him to go back to Iceland for the weekend. He said that he hated his family  more than he hated his old home.

He asked me what I was going to do, if I would see the Gletchers and the Blue Lagoon. I answered that I would do no such thing, my ventures would lead to Olavsvik.

The surgeon was quiet for a couple of seconds and stared at me rather blankly. „You should not go to Olavsvik.“

He paused again, for some considerable time and then said: „The Blue Lagoon is so much nicer.“

And he was silent once more. I asked him about the most blood ridden operation he ever had to perform and our conversation became a bit more lively again.

At the airport, I took a taxi to Reykjavik, wanting to experience the moonlike landscape all by myself. The female driver was about fifty years old. She told me interesting local news at about every second bend in the road. Her hair was dyed red in a colour which seems to be  an absolute favourite with many women over a certain age. It shone a very artificial crimson in the sunset. She pointed out the Blue Lagoon. „You should go there, it is so nice and relaxing.“

I told her I had different plans, that I wanted to stay clear of all the holiday highlights and see the real Iceland, Olavsvik the prime destination. The taxi driver looked over her shoulder at me. „What do you want to go to Olavsvik for, there is nothing there.“

I explained the whole Jules Verne set up again, but she didn’t seem convinced.

The next morning I met the surgeon again at the breakfast buffet of my hotel. I wished him luck with his aunt, and he said he hoped I would have a nice stay in Iceland and by the way had I considered Thorsmork, it was such an enchanting forest. I didn’t dare mention that I already had checked the post-bus schedule and was about to go to Olavsvik.

I walked to the bus station. The bus left at 8 something in the morning and would arrive at Olavsvik at 11 and return there at five in the afternoon to drive back to Reykjavik. There were not too many people in the bus, only two tourists, good. They were Germans and had ski´s with them. There was a group of women who chatted to one another, and a father with his retarded son. The bus drove on and on, past plains which looked like sceneries of a John Ford western and down a tunnel connecting the two peninsulas. At every stop someone would get off the bus and the outside world became even more desolate. Perfect! This was the true Iceland. At the last stop before Olavsvik the Germans got off and, indeed, it had started to snow. We went down another tunnel. The retarded boy started to make gurgling noises, louder and louder. His whines became a long scream. The father made some gurgling noises back, probably to soothe the boy, but to no real effect. More tunnels followed, and every time the shrieks of the boy gained volume. The landscape changed, the weather recovered and the boy got a can of Dr. Pepper from his father and finally calmed down. Half an hour later I was where I wanted to be and got off the bus. The boy waved at me from his window seat. I half-heartedly waved back.

I had six hours to find the cave, sturdy and warm walking boots, a thermos flask of tea, and sandwiches. I looked at the town. There were three buildings on the side of the road. One was a gas station annex fast food restaurant which also rented out videos. The second house was a toy shop, but it was closed till 1.30 p.m. The last house was empty. The three houses had their backs to the ocean. Dark blue was the water, seagulls flew over it. No path led to the water, there was no shore. There was just the road and a cliff and the ocean. On the other side of the road I counted about 15 houses. Two streets. Prefab houses, each looking exactly like the other. Every one of them had a dish-antenna. Every house had the same garden fence. The windows had shutters, and most of the windows were indeed shut. A man walked passed me. He got in the car in front of his home and drove to the gas-station where he parked his car and locked it and went in. I panted upto the end of the road. I needed to find the route to the cave. There was a meadow full of sheep shit, which seemed to have a trail, so I started following it. It became broader and could, with some imagination, be called a path. This made me enthusiastic; it must be the right track to the Jules Verne cave! The path went uphill rather steeply, and became more and more like a gravel road. I picked up a round stone. Maybe there was an amethyst hidden in it. I climbed up, the road got steeper, winding itself around a hill. From above, I saw the ocean again and noticed that there were more seagulls here on this road then down at the water. They shrieked as I walked by. Some of them flew up for a little while, to land a few inches from where they had lifted off. About five hundred meters further ahead I saw a road-sign. It was bright fluorescent yellow and had a lot of Icelandic words written on it. Every fourth or fifth word was followed by an exclamation mark. I got a bit of a goofy feeling, but decided I would walk on a bit more, the road was wide, there was no snow on this hill, no chance of being hit by an avalanche. After 50 meters or so I turned back: not only was there more than just a flock of seagulls in front of me, it was a whole nation of those birds. They were scary enough by themselves.

All of a sudden, there was the stench of rotten fish. It penetrated me thickly, I nearly vomited. It was physically impossible to go on.

To be Continued. Next Friday. At 9.00h.

Link to German Translation: click  Girl Friday – Buch des Bösen 21. Geh nicht nach Olavsvik

Artwork: Gabbi Werner

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