Wednesday 29th – Waterfalls

The last day of winter began in a typical arctic blizzard. The wind howling on the cottage was not constantly bashing against the windows and walls – it was just constant. The noise just varied in pitch every so often, but the consistency of the noise made you realise just how low the temperature was outside for wind chill factor.

After the snow had at least vanished from the wind, we started with a trip to a nearby marshland. Here, the puddles were frozen, and also concealed under long grass. If you stepped on any ice, the slab sank and spurted icy water up your leg due to the pressure. I ebbed my way around the marshes with my Canon 5D and tripod, curious if this place was actually starting to top El Teide as ‘most dangerous natural filming environment’. Luckily I didn’t break anything, and we got some wonderful shots of the surrounding mountains. Becky went to reception to get the door fixed, and in doing so also asked the receptionist about locations regarding waterfalls and beaches. We decided to ‘do’ the beach tomorrow, as the waterfall location was nearby. Whilst we waited for the door in the girl’s cottage to be fixed, I took a stop-motion of some nearby mountains (why not).

We left for the waterfall at half past one, stopping en route to video some wild Icelandic horses and take some videos from the van. I set up the tripod on the passenger seat next to me at the front of the van, and it worked surprisingly well as a steady cam (the cushioned seating was good for counterbalance and resistance). We arrived at the canyon and parked roughly half a mile from the said waterfall – we could hear the roaring of the water from quite far away. As the sun slowly (very slowly) began to set, we arrived at the half-frozen waterfall. It was really a collection of about seven small waterfalls, forming perhaps the biggest cascade of water I’ve seen in my life thus far.

We managed to get some really beautiful shots around the locale – some prompting me to venture down onto the actual cascades ridge itself with my DSLR swinging from my neck, reminiscent of the ‘Masca Trail experience’, now almost one year ago. We also found a natural spring where the water was hot, with the steam coming out of the river in the chilly arctic air. It was of course a very strange sight to see. Everyone got their photo taken at the site, and then headed back to the van for a brew.

Cascades – This place was just… well… awesome!

Back at the cottages, we finished the day’s shooting with a shot of Cristina immersing herself underwater in the hot pool. She stayed in the pool for another two hours, meaning I was called to cook the dinner tonight with only half an hour to do it, despite Cristina very specifically telling us all she was going to cook every evening the night previously! The dish was as simple as it got – Spaghetti Bolognese. Unfortunately I was quick to find that the cutlery was not designed for mass-produced food for seven people in one cottage – even with borrowing equipment from the male cottage, nothing was ‘none-stick’, and the biggest pot in the cottage couldn’t even cook one lone bag of spaghetti without creating a mess all over the base of it. Ruth luckily did this a lot in Coventry, and knew exactly how the sort the problem out – apparently you rain salt all over it after it’s soaking in water (domestic tip right there!).

I had to argue how to separate the spaghetti that had coagulated – butter or oil. Since I was too tired to really care that much, we used butter (as apparently this tasted nicer). When Martyn went up to dish his pasta and bolognese out, he took one look, then took the bottle of oil and poured a load over the pasta, much to the dismay of one student. I found this pretty funny actually (‘Prepping pasta like a boss!’)

Overall though the meal turned out well, and everyone enjoyed what I had cooked (just being polite?). It was a shame I’d totaled the dishes (not one of my neatest moments) but then, none-stick is virtually a must-have for this kind of cooking. Considering some of the things I’ve eaten on professional placements, this meal was gourmet. You haven’t tasted ‘burnt’ until you’ve TASTED ‘burnt’! (Pardon the grammatical flaw).

After dinner, I was keen to start having some alone time, as I wanted to edit my stop-motion from earlier today, and listen to the Iceland CDs I’d bought a few days ago and had not gotten round to listening to yet. I was interrupted by the students texting me who (again) wanted to know if we were filming tonight, and (again) would much rather text me than the lecturer himself.

After we’d confirmed we were not shooting tonight, the students quickly came round our cottage to demand for my playing cards so we could have a game of ‘Ring Of Fire’. I have to admit, I was quite easily swayed – third year students have not been all that lively in this ‘area’ this academic year, not even in the Fresher’s Week! This Icelandic game of R.O.F went down well, despite the fact I had to explain the rules three times from a rather standard playing set of rules. During the game, the dirty pint was refused to be ‘seen off like a fresher’, and one student laughed so hard he ejected his drink through his nose. We had a good laugh, and then people decided to hit the hot pool.

Despite one cloud having stopped our viewing pleasure last night, tonight the sky was covered in clouds (and snowing). I decided to return to my work, and put the finishing touches to my stop-motion. Lo and behold, not ten minutes into the editing process, the students turned up again at the foot of my bed demanding my presence in the hot pool. This time, when I refused to go with them, they got really offended. One of them even stuck a finger up at me! I take it back – no, CCM students can not handle their drink!

Indeed, true to prediction the auroras did a no-show. As Martyn put it, there was little cloud in the skies, but little auroras either. I did manage to get the stop-motion finished though – it would have been a little longer, only one CCM student walked straight into the middle of the shot for about a minute, invalidating the latter part of the video:

Just before I hit the hay, Martyn gave me one of the Sigur Ros CDs he’d bought in Reykjavik – he said he already had one copy of the CD at home, and had made a second purchase just to hear the songs again out here in Internet-less Iceland. I was very grateful, as it included another of their best-known songs. After two o clock in the morning, a storm hit the cottages, waking up the majority of the group in both cottages.

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