Friday, June 16, 2000 4:25 PM
part 26

Finally, after the occasional subtle reminder from my sister ("Have you gone yet? Have you gone yet? Have you gone yet?"), I visited "that" museum. I cannot say enough good things about it or recommend it too highly. Read that carefully. Anyway, here is how it describes itself [and my additions]:

The Icelandic Phallological Museum is probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country.

Phallology is an ancient science which, until recent years, has received little attention in Iceland, except as a borderline field of study in other academic disciplines such as history, art, psychology, literature, and other artistic fields like music and ballet.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum contains a collection of over eighty penises and penile parts belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland. Visitors to the museum will encounter twenty-seven specimens belonging to twelve different kinds of whale, one specimen taken from a rogue polar bear [after that experience, I doubt that any other bears will be interested in visiting. "Don't go to Iceland - they'll nick your 'nads"], eighteen specimens belonging to seven different kinds of seal and walrus, and thirty-five specimens originating from sixteen different kinds of land mammal: all in all, a total of eighty.

It should also be noted that the museum has also been fortunate enough to receive a legally-certified gift token for a future specimen belonging to Homo Sapiens [and a second token, from a German, has been received, by which I mean that the nationality of the first owner was not disclosed].

SEEING IS BELIEVING [Indeed]

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Atli and Jóhanna took me on my last trip to the Blue Lagoon. The new version of the lagoon was completed some time ago, so I got to try it out. I think that I prefer the old version, because the new one has lost much of the character that made a trip there interesting and eventful. No more bruised shins, no more sudden changes in depth. No need to run blindly through cold air to get either to or from the change rooms and the pool itself. Now, the bed is smooth and the depth is graded to a maximum of about 1.5 metres. There is also an enclosure, that covers part of the pool, which contains the change rooms, so one can leave the change rooms and enter the water while still inside the building. Now, one has nothing to show for having been there. Where the fun in that? :-) Not all is good that is new, and not all is new that is good.

Atli, Jóhanna, and I, went to a small beach near to the Blue Lagoon. Atli and I walked around on the sand, while Jóhanna stayed in the car. We climbed all over the rocks and dodged the waves while the tide came in. It's the kind of thing that I haven't done since I was a small boy. The beach is enclosed by cliff on three sides, which meant that the crashing of the waves echoed all around us, and made talking difficult, so we just looked around silently. The birds that live in the cliff there were not bothered by our presence and glided back and forth above us, as opposed to flying down and attacking us. Alfred Hitchcock wasn't directing on that day, which is fortunate, because it would have been some time before Jóhanna noticed if something had happened to us.

Atli and Jóhanna took me on another mystery tour. This time, we began by visiting two particular waterfalls - Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss. Seljalandsfoss is an interesting waterfall because one can walk behind the sheet without becoming soaked. Apparently, it is the only known waterfall of this kind. Skógarfoss is 60 metres high and the force of the water is very great. We walked to the top for a different view.

Then we went to Vík. Near there is a rock formation in the sea which was probably originally part of the cliff, but erosion has worn it to the point where most of it has collapsed. All that remains are two thin isolated columns. We walked around on that beach, too. The surface is small flattened stones, rather than sand. The thing that attracted most of my attention is the cliff face - a section of it is a row of rhombus-shaped columns of rock, like match sticks placed side by side. They are made of basalt, and known as the "Cliffs of the Dwarves". I remain curious to know the geological processes that can form such a thing (unless the paint has peeled off the surface of the world, and we were seeing the structure underneath). Some gods have a sense of humour.

The last stop was Sólheimajökull. It's part of Mýrdalsjökull, which is, in turn, said to be one of Iceland's "smaller" glaciers. Sólheimajökull is large. Mýrdalsjökull must be huge. The sign near to it said that due to "unrest", one was not supposed to climb on the glacier, so we didn't climb on it, but we did get close enough to touch it. I wonder what is considered "unrest" for a glacier? Perhaps the union demanding compensation to allow people to keep walking all over it.

And so ends Life in Iceland. On June 25, I'm going back to Australia.

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