as I was just almost only speaking english the last days, and even started thinking and dreaming in english, I feel like writing this one in that language. It is commonly known in Iceland, anyway.
Okay now, what happened. Quite a lot. Crazy stuff!
On Monday I set out for the farm. I will call it L-Farm from now on, as I don’t want to share the actual name here. Packed my backpack in the Reykjavik City hostel and (of course) was to late for checkout. Therefore my keycard didn’t work any more after 10 am, and I locked myself out. A typical Paul. Anyway, the staff was really friendly and uncomplicated 🙂
At the gas station from the day before, I tried my luck on my fingers. Realized that this place maybe wasn’t the best one. After an hour or so, a dude in a big van stopped and told me what I already knew: That’s not a good place. Thanks, mate! He offered to bring me to a better petrol station, so I hopped in and off we went. The dude looked like a member of hells angels, tattooed from head to toe, with all kind of weapons, guns and viking axes. Luckily, no swastika. At least not where I could see it, haha. Ironic mode off, the guy (Peter) was really friendly, with his heart at the right place. Brought me to this amazing petrol station, just 5 km along the road, said I would find someone here. Okay, now let’s see. Oh wow, the second car stopped. The SECOND!!! Why did I wait more than one hour at the other one!?
Nice! The spanish Markus, from Spain, has been living in Iceland for some years now. We tried to talk to each others as good as we could with a big surfboard in the middle and right between us, covering the views (and some acoustics). Yes, the spanish Markus went surfing. In Iceland. With almost no wind and waves, but blue sky and amazingly hot 17°C… I think he still misses Spain 😀 The spanish Markus was working as an architect. That’s all I remember from him. He was not so talkative. But anyway, he brought me halfway to Selfoss, which is about halfway to the L-Farm. Now the thing was: Halfway to selfoss was a highway departure, but nothing else. So, after I cherioed the spanish Markus, I realized I was standing in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a freaking desert, under blue sky and burning sun, with cars passing by at 100 km/h (which is only almost the perfect speed to stop for a hitch-hiker).
Oh shit. Did I really put everything important in my testimony? I put out my thumb, and guess what: nothing happened. Car after car, or better: pimped up SUV after even more pimped up SUV, passed by. I’ve been at less dangerous places than at this side line of a highway… At some point, I realized it wouldn’t work here. I was lost. Nowhere to go, nowhere to shelter, no-one to pick me up. The cars wouldn’t even be able to stop for me without risking a mass-carambolage, as there was no actual side lane. Didn’t like that freaking feeling.
But then… Some may have heard of the „Paul-Luck“ or „Luck of Paul“, better known as „Paul-Glück“. At the horizon, there was some industry. Probably, the workers would need to go home at some time, starting with their car at slow speed. I would have to walk a long distance to get there, and wait long into the evening for the worker’s shift, but it was a chance. I walked for more than one hour with that uglily heavy backpack up to the junction of the highway, leading into that industrial area. There, I waited for a gap in the passing cars to jump to the middle section of the highway (it was a left-turn junction). Out there in the middle, with cars flying past in both directions, I was making a joke to myself and put out my wornout thumb. And then, live was amazing. The very first car made a full brake, with squeeking tires, the guy yelling at me: Quick! Quick! Throw your stuff inside and hop in, before someone crashes into us. I haven’t been into a car quicker than this. That guy was amazing. Probably, he got a boring bank office job, but his mind was bright and clear. What a shame I forgot his name! He said he always tries to give hitch-hikers a lift on his way home from work, because he likes the stories. Always comes to late for dinner with his wife, but the peoplw he meets would be worth the marriage fight. He saved me that day! Really helpful guy. Of course he was native icelandish. Told me a lot about the landscapes around and stories about the villages passing by. He said, that due to the hot water springs, there is not only a freshwater system in Iceland but also a hotwater system. So, you don’t need a heater in your house for hot water. Instead, you just order hot water from your trusted water supplier, and they get the hot water directly out of the earth. Geothermal magic. Amazing country!Oh, ah, and he said that there were three volcanos closeby. The Eyafjelajökul, whose eruption stopped all european airports for days in 2010. A second one, with nothing special, and a third one, which is forecasted to heavily erupt in about one month. And all three of them where about 50 – 70 km from the L-Farm. YYEEEEAAAAHHHHH I am going to see a volcano eruption, live and from very close by 🙂 🙂 🙂
He dropped me out in Selfoss, and was so kind to drive me to another perfect hitch-hiking place just at the town’s end. Perfect, because after 2 minutes the next car stopped for a ride. Old car, three guys of my age, looking like drunken russians (they weren’t, both of it). They were from Lituania, working in Iceland on construction sides because of the very good salary here. I only remember Lukas‘ name, the driver on red bull. With them boyz I had a lot of fun, driving for one hour or so, talking a lot of shit, making jokes about cars, cows and chaos. Not sure if any of them graduated 4th class, but again, they had their heart at the right places and at least they gave a stranger from the road a lift (which so many more „educated“ and rich people in more expensive cars did not). They dropped me at my last road to the L-Farm, only 9 km to go. It would be about 2 hours, on a gravel road. I didn’t expect any car here, as there were only a bunch of lonely houses visible in the far distance. But, after only seconds, the school bus stopped beside me, empty, on his way back from his daily routine. The bus driver knew the L-Farm, looked a bit irritated when I told him about my plan to work there and drove me to the very door of the farm.
Amazing … so far …
A little bit of background information here: I was writing with the farmers wife (no names here) since January. So, for half a year. She knew since half a year that I was coming. I told her in February that I booked flights. I told her in April that I am looking forward to come, she was, too. I told her one week before the flight at which exact time I would come. She copied. I talked to her three days before the flight, that’s when she said I should first go for some days and enjoy Iceland with the exceptional wheather before coming to them (which already sounded to me like a bad excuse for something else). Anyway, everything was discussed and set. At least, that’s what I thought.
When I entered and saw her, the first thing she said was: „You are too early, we are not finished with you’re tent.“ Didn’t even say „Hello and welcome“. Didn’t get up her chair, didn’t shake hands, didn’t even showed signs of a smile. I was stunned, saying nothing, thinking ‚oh I’m so sorry, I should have told the guys which gave me a lift to drive slower…‘. She then made her son finish my „room“: A pavillon tent, located in the entrance hall. Full of crap. Her son and A., one of the saisonal workers, were then moving out the unnecessary stuff and arranging a bed and a couch, both with very old looking matracess. Also an old table and a kommode. And then, I still can’t believe it, they realised that there was a lot of dog shit on the floor inside the tent. Dog shit. On an unfinished wood floor, not varnished or anything, so the wood pores would soak in the dog shit. She told the boys in a harsh voice to quickly clean it, so they just scrapped it away. But you don’t get it fully away like that, the rest remained. And it was stinking like hell. She told to put a carpet over everything and open the window. This would help, she said. I just starred at her…
After a whole day on the road, talking so much to people in cars, arriving at about fivish, I just wanted to sit down and calm down. Maybe have a glass of water. She didn’t even offer one. I wasn’t quite aware of my emotions at that time, but I really started to be cooking from inside. What was happening here?
She said that this room would be okay for me now. I said „for now…“ and wasn’t able to say much more. Then the boys went away doing their stuff and she went to the kitchen, leaving me standing there. I put my backpack in my „room“, went to her and said „what’s next? Do you want to show me around in the farm?“ She said: „you can work with A. and M. this evening fro 6 to 10 pm, helping them with milking the cows“. Okay, obviously no showing around.
Now that I am writing this down and thinking about it, I should have left this place already after this 10 minutes! Anyway, I was really stunned.
I went with A. and M. to the cows and the cow stable. A. and M. were a couple from Poland, seasonal workers, my age, and really really friendly, funny and nice. Out there, we got a connection to each other quickly, and had a good time together. We got the cows into the stable, they showed me what and how to feed, and afterwards I helped them with the milking machines. Although I had the day in my bones, everything was kind of forgotten while working with the animals. Cows are really sensible and kind souls. And there were calves, too 🙂 Really cute. And very nice dogs, and 2 puppies, and one cat and one kitty. Also sheeps and horses, but I didn’t get to see them from close by. After we finished the milking, joking around and having a good time together, we went for dinner.
It was hot dogs. The farmers doughter was there, too. Didn’t even introduce herself, didn’t shake hands, nothing. The whole dinner long, the farmers wife did not ask me one question. Just ate and watched TV. The farmer himself was not there that day, he was at a doctor’s. A and M were kind of thankful, almost behaving like slaves when the wife was around. That made me very angry. Anyway, I didn’t have any other place for that night, so I didn’t want to start a fight that evening.
The night was horrible. I slept 2 hours maximum. It was stinking so hard from the dog shit. And because there were no walls, just a tent, I could here everyone passing by as if it was beside my head. Did I mention that the tent was in the entrance hall? So, everyone had to pass. And people were talking loud, shouting to each other, shouting to the animals, just didn’t care about someone sleeping literally in the same room. At four o’clock in the morning the sun rose, heating my black tent to temperatures which made sleeping impossible. That night, my heart was kicking hard against my breast. I would have loved to talk to the wife and tell her that all of this is not going to happen like this. But everyone was sleeping. So I postponed to the next day. In the morning, no-one was awake except for A and M, so I helped them with the cows and the milking. It was really interesting, I learned a lot and enjoyed the hard work, feeling my body. We finished at 12.
I waited until lunch was over and everyone left the room, except her. The farmer was again at the doctor’s, something with his back. I barely got to see him. Then I asked her: When do you want to talk about any contract?
She: In the evening, when my husband is back.
Me: And how long do you want me to stay in that tent?
She: What do you mean? Of course all the time you are here!
Me: No! I am not going to stay even one further night in that tent.
She: Who do you think you are? This is a good place.
Me: This place is full of dog shit, it smells like hell, there is no real privacy and I cannot even sleep because everyone is walking by and I can hear every word people say.
Me: I don’t need to be treated like a slave or animal. This is not okay.
She: This is all we can offer. All our rooms are full.
Me: This is not my problem. I am not going to stay one further night in this tent.
Me: You knew since half a year that I will come, you promised a room. I really don’t need much, but a decent room with a door is not too much wanted. You didn’t even say hello to me, you sent me working after a long day of travelling. This is not how I am to be treated.
She: Don’t talk to me in this tone.
Me (laughing): We’re done here!
She: Wait, let us talk when my husband is back.
I went back to my „room“, packed my stuff and made everything ready for departure. I was shaking from anger. And I was afraid. I had nowhere to go now. No place to sleep for the night, no farm to work for the next months. All plans from the last half year collapsed. I was in a kind of a shock.What to do? I would need two hours walking to the highway, where it would be freaking difficult to get a lift. And then, where to go? The hostel I stayed in in Reykjavik came to my mind. It was nice and comparably cheap. Okay, that sounded good. If I would make it to Reykjavik (140 km), I would have a place to sleep for the night. And then? Fuck!
While waiting for the farmer, I checked the internet for other farms. Luckily, I found a lot and wrote to many. That calmed me down a bit, there was hope again. The question was, whether they need someone from right on…
Much more happened between the wife and me. Too much to write everything down. She was like childish. First tried to make me stay by force. Didn’t work. Then, she made one room free for me and said I could stay there. I was really laughing. What did she think? Before, she said it is all full, now it is suddenly possible for me to have room!? This was so ridiculous. Then she tried to convince me with crying. Then, aarrgghh… when I think of this woman I could get mad again!!!
Luckily, A. drove me to the next town. It felt so reliefed when I left the farm. So crazy. Weird. Objectively spoken, the family was strongly suffering from incest. You could see that from the faces. It also reached into their mind. This disgusting woman…I was so happy to have left, although I would start from scratch now, with nowhere to go and no farm to work. But free, and with a potentially good time looking for me.
That time started now.
After A. dropped me, I got a lift in 5 minutes. Amazing. Nice tourist couple from Finland, my age. They were really concerned about my story, helped me with their words and motivated me to keep my head up. Really nice guys. Dropped me in Selfoss.
There, I walked to a nice and cute petrol station at the end of town. But wait, what’s this? Is this possible? Another hitchhiker waiting there. Hmmm… He was like 40 and really looking fucked up. Stood at the main road and tried his luck. I was kind of sorry for him, cause at his place no-one would stop. I went to the exit of the petrol station, you know, just where cars leave for the highway. There, they are still slow, and they would see me smiling and waiving at them. Again, I waited years for a ride. No, wait. It was 5 minutes!!! Amazing 🙂
Two handyman picked me up, Miro from Bulgaria and Adam from Bosnia. They were on their way home to Reykjavik from their actual construction side. They do epoxy flooring stuff. Really really funny guys!!! I wasn’t laughing so much in a car in Iceland as with these mates. Talking about Vodka, trees in Iceland, Adams icelandic wife which hits him when he doesn’t do as she wants („Paul, you have to promise me to never mary an icelandic woman. Please, I really like you, and I don’t want you to suffer as I do!“ 😀 ) and about Miros daughter which studied economics in Heidelberg. Really really nice guys. When we came to Reykjavik, Miro said that they will have to bring the construction car to their company, but he will drive me to my hostel with his private car. Sooooo friendly! At their company I asked if I could help with emptying the car, but they said no no no please just relax. Okay 🙂 There, I realised that someone tried to call me, an icelandic number. It wasn’t the L-Farm, I double-checked. A new one? So quickly? Could that be possible? But I didn’t want to call back at that time. I felt that would be unpolite while with the boys. Then Miro drove me „home“, and I was very sorry to leave him. He got some wet eyes, too, when he dropped me, almost even hugged me. Said that one does always see each other twice, and he is looking forward to that.
The hostel got a free bed, I settled my stuff and took a loooong deep breath. That was an exhausting day. You know, hitchhiking is kind of exhausting, because you are talking almost all day long. I mean, I do. Don’t wanna get into a car and then not connect to the people there, this would be weird. Anyway. It was time to call back that number.
Guess what? It was a farm in northern Iceland, one of the biggest sheep farm of the island. And they have some horses, too. I was talking to Vala, the farmers wife. She was kind of startled when I told her why I am looking for a new farm. Said, that at hers I would have my own cabin. Wow, that sounds wonderful. And I could ride there. Amazing. And start from now on. Perfekt. I wanted to hitchhike, so she said we see each other in some days. I was thinking: why in some days? I will come tomorrow! Then I checked the map… It was a looooooooong drive into the literally nothingness. Like ten hours or so. Now I understood Vala, haha. I would need a long time to hitchhike. I went for cooking and calling my wonderful girlfriend (it feels amazing to say that she is my girlfriend 🙂 ).
Then something wonderful happened. Vala wrote me an sms, told me that she found someone who drives from Reykjavik to Akureyri (which is like two thirds of the whole way) and would take me with her. That was the moment that I realized, that the people from the new farm are really really nice and sympathic. They cared for me without even knowing me. Wow. I was so glad that I left the L-Farm.
By the way: From now on, I will only talk of „the farm“ and this will mean the dream farm in northern Iceland where I am staying by now. This will be the very last time I mention this horrible L-Farm.
Then I went sleeping, overwhelmed by what happened in the last hours. There were so many situations, pictures, people, talks and emotions in my head, creating a maelstrom of chaos. There were only few times in my life, that I fell asleep being more reliefed and happy than this night.