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This is, frustratingly, my third attempt at writing this post. The previous two attempts were gobbled up by my iPhone blog app. Anyway, here goes nothing. I took a long anticipated short break to Iceland last week in the hope of seeing the northern lights. I didn't see them, which means I'll probably go off to Norway next year to see if they can be viewed from there instead. It was a refreshing and revitalising few days that I timed a few days before I sat my viva - although perhaps Iceland wasn't the best place to go given that Ketla is due to go off and I could have been stranded there and missed the viva! I was pleased, upon arrival, that my room, which had skylights, was overlooked by this - the Hallgrimskirkja - Iceland's tallest church.

On the Tuesday I went on a full day's tour of the Golden Circle, upto some ancient bishopric, then onto the Gullfoss waterfall, which seemed like a feat of nature - this roaring waterfall pushing through amidst a landscape of ice and snow that resembled a white mars!

From here we were led onto the famous geyser, although geyser hasn't spouted in a while, although its neighbour, Strokkur, was only too pleased to perform for us at short intervals - the bubbling boiling sulphorous water spurting up like a friendly dolphin, temporarily melting the surrounding snow.

We were then taken to the last site of the day - Thingvellir national park. By now - at around 4pm the sun was setting (it only rose at around 11) bestowing a beautifully surreal light that added atmosphere to the thought of those sagas and the time in which they were written.

I was most impressed, however, by the bookshops. The chain, Edymunddsons, was open as I wandered around Reyjkavic on Sunday evening at around 8pm - and that they wouldn't be closed until 10pm. On a Sunday in winter! They are famous for their bookwormery - and who can blame them?

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