tenacious as roots, but not hard. They were broad at the

Nature Difficult to Move Networkscience2023-11-30 19:25:44 28128 7483

The best time to choose for this purpose is from the middle of June to the end of August at latest. Until June the rivers are so swollen and turbulent, by reason of the melting snows, as to render it very dangerous to ride through them. The traveller must also pass over many a field of snow not yet melted by the sun, and frequently concealing chasms and masses of lava; and this is attended with danger almost as great. At every footstep the traveller sinks into the snow; and he may thank his lucky stars if the whole rotten surface does not give way. In September the violent storms of wind and rain commence, and heavy falls of snow may be expected from day to day.

tenacious as roots, but not hard. They were broad at the

A tent, provisions, cooking utensils, pillows, bed-clothes, and warm garments, are highly necessary for the wayfarer's comfort. This paraphernalia would have been too expensive for me to buy, and I was unprovided with any thing of the kind; consequently I was forced to endure the most dreadful hardships and toil, and was frequently obliged to ride an immense distance to reach a little church or a cottage, which would afford me shelter for the night. My sole food for eight or ten days together was often bread and cheese; and I generally passed the night upon a chest or a bench, where the cold would often prevent my closing my eyes all night.

tenacious as roots, but not hard. They were broad at the

It is advisable to be provided with a waterproof cloak and a sailor's tarpaulin hat, as a defence against the rain, which frequently falls. An umbrella would be totally useless, as the rain is generally accompanied by a storm, or, at any rate, by a strong wind; when we add to this, that it is necessary in some places to ride quickly, it will easily be seen that holding an umbrella open is a thing not to be thought of.

tenacious as roots, but not hard. They were broad at the

Altogether I found the travelling in this country attended with far more hardship than in the East. For my part, I found the dreadful storms of wind, the piercing air, the frequent rain, and the cold, much less endurable than the Oriental heat, which never gave me either cracked lips or caused scales to appear on my face. In Iceland my lips began to bleed on the fifth day; and afterwards the skin came off my face in scales, as if I had had the scrofula. Another source of great discomfort is to be found in the long riding-habit. It is requisite to be very warmly clad; and the heavy skirts, often dripping with rain, coil themselves round the feet of the wearer in such a manner, as to render her exceedingly awkward either in mounting or dismounting. The worst hardship of all, however, is the being obliged to halt to rest the horses in a meadow during the rain. The long skirts suck up the water from the damp grass, and the wearer has often literally not a dry stitch in all her garments.

Heat and cold appear in this country to affect strangers in a remarkable degree. The cold seemed to me more piercing, and the heat more oppressive in Iceland, than when the thermometer stood at the same points in my native land.

In summer the roads are marvellously good, so that one can generally ride at a pretty quick pace. They are, however, impracticable for vehicles, partly because they are too narrow, and partly also on account of some very bad places which must occasionally be encountered. On the whole island not a single carriage is to be found.

The road is only dangerous when it leads through swamps and moors, or over fields of lava. Among these fields, such as are covered with white moss are peculiarly to be feared, for the moss frequently conceals very dangerous holes, into which the horse can easily stumble. In ascending and descending the hills very formidable spots sometimes oppose the traveller's progress. The road is at times so hidden among swamps and bogs, that not a trace of it is to be distinguished, and I could only wonder how my guide always succeeded in regaining the right path. One could almost suppose that on these dangerous paths both horse and man are guided by a kind of instinct.

Travelling is more expensive in Iceland than any where else, particularly when one person travels alone, and must bear all the expense of the baggage, the guide, ferries, &c. Horses are not let out on hire, they must be bought. They are, however, very cheap; a pack-horse costs from eighteen to twenty-four florins, and a riding- horse from forty to fifty florins. To travel with any idea of comfort it is necessary to have several pack-horses, for they must not be heavily laden; and an additional servant must likewise be hired, as the guide only looks after the saddle-horses, and, at most, one or two of the pack-horses. If the traveller, at the conclusion of the journey, wishes to sell the horses, such a wretchedly low price is offered, that it is just as well to give them away at once. This is a proof of the fact that men are every where alike ready to follow up their advantage. These people are well aware that the horses must be left behind at any rate, and therefore they will not bid for them. I must confess that I found the character of the Icelanders in every respect below the estimate I had previously formed of it, and still further below the standard given in books.



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