A Slightly Fictionalized Account of a Very True Story.
Chapter 1: In which two sisters, Eleanor and Amelia, endeavor to travel to a far off land for a nature vacation full of hikes, caves, and searching for whales.
~ Taken by the Northern Lights, Amelia proposes a quick get-away to Iceland in the winter. Eleanor, having dreamed of visiting Iceland, suggests a lengthier sojourn. The sisters agree on a summer trip, during which they have no hope, whatsoever, of encountering the magical, midnight, arctic light show.
Chapter 2: In which Eleanor arrives in Reykjavik as Amelia wastes the bulk of her pre-flight afternoon with a number of unsuccessful attempts to purchase wee wee pads.
~ Arriving a full day ahead of her sister, Eleanor engages in a free city tour, enjoys the city botanical garden, and eats fish in chips, and leisurely learns the city. Amelia arrives at midnight on a cloudy evening, where the sky only hints at darkness. Per Eleanor’s instruction, she walks up the hill, towards the church, and miraculously finds her way.
~ Upon her arrival, Eleanor and Amelia eat cheese.
Chapter 3: In which the sisters hop on a bus, explore a cave, and bathe in a Very Famous Pool.
~ Ever considerate and concerned for her sister’s potential jet lag, Eleanor plans a day of lava cave explorations and bathing at the world-famous Blue Lagoon, where every Icelandic tourist is required to visit upon their arrival.
~ Unbeknownst to Eleanor, Amelia has nightmares about squeezing through tight crevices high off the ground. Amelia scoffs at her fear and squeezes through a dark, tight crevice high off the ground in order to enjoy the mysterious beauty of a lava cave.
~ After an epic battle with an electronic locker, the sisters relax in the unnaturally blue water of the Blue Lagoon with mud on their faces. They enjoy an extended dip in the geothermal hotspot.
~ Later that night, Eleanor and Amelia eat cheese.
Chapter 4: In which Eleanor and Amelia climb a Very Steep Hill.
~ Faced with a cloudy day, Eleanor and Amelia take a city bus to Mosfellspaer to hike what Eleanor describes as a Gentle Granny Hike.
~ Not trusting their navigational skills or the trail marker that leads over a jagged precipice and down a steep mountainside, they ask a granny who is picking blueberries on the side of the hill withe her grandchild for directions to the road. She points them towards the jagged precipice.
~ Amelia almost dies from traversing steep inclines, sudden drops, and trails littered with rolling pebbles while jet-lagged.
Chapter 4: In which the sisters enjoy a morning of culture and learning at the Icelandic Phallological Museum before flying North to the wilds Akureyri and beyond.
~ Always looking to improve their minds, the sisters visit the impressive display of mammalian penises and penis bone samples before lunching on cheese in the domestic airport parking lot.
~ The sisters pick up their rental car from the Akureryi airport. Amelia almost dies from stick-shift shock.
~ Amelia teaches herself how to drive stick-shift in fifteen minutes in the airport parking lot, recalling a single standard transmission driving lesson twenty years ago on a rural road. The sister find themselves in a perilous loop, driving around and around a traffic circle as The Lady of the GPS nearly explodes with rage.
~ The sisters get lost.
~ The sisters get found.
~ The sisters dine with a Swiss German couple in the dining room of a house in the middle of nowhere, and spend the night in a camper van enveloped by a pink sky and a wooly storm.
Chapter 5: In which the sisters walk in the rain.
~ Amelia and Eleanor drive to Husavik. Amelia conducts experiments with the car’s windshield wipers.
~ The sisters check into their hotel and set off on a path to visit a pair of giant lakes. Eleanor is well equipped with a pair of plastic pants. Amelia almost dies from being wet.
~ Though they follow the path, they never reach the lakes.
~ Eleanor and Amelia eat Icelandic pizza. With cheese.
Chapter 7: In which Eleanor and Amelia journey to Lake Myvatn, explore an Ice Cave, and find a pond.
~ As Amelia endeavors to conquer parking the car without stalling out, the sisters journey inland to Lake Myvatn. A crisp morning, their socks and shoes still damp from the previous day’s events, they retreat from the frigid morning air into a boutique hotel to drink coffee prior to their tour.
~ Eleanor is well prepared for variations in weather with fleece, gloves, and plastic pants. Amelia, having spent her last days at home taking care that her dog had doggie treats and squeaky toys, is ill-prepared for thirty degree weather, rain, sunshine, and wind.
~ A dashing tour guide drives the sisters across barren lava fields to the ice cave. Amelia almost dies from being cold and faces another literal nightmare: being birthed, face first, out of a tight spot into a dark, dark cave below.
~ Amelia buys a sweater from a charity shop and states boldly to the women behind the counter that “now she can go anywhere.” The women give her a pack of flatbread. She heretofore refers to said sweater as “the magic sweater,” for it keeps her warm and dry.
~ The sisters follow a path and find the lake. Her gloves soaked through, Eleanor acts out the meeting of the European and American tectonic plates while wearing socks for mittens.
Chapter 8: In which the sisters brave the elements and traverse the Asbergi Canyons in all directions.
~ Eleanor and Amelia venture once more into the unknown, walk a lot, and eat cheese.
~ They visit a green lake and waterfall. Amelia attempts to etch the image into her memory, where she will have it forever. Eleanor, ever logical, takes pictures instead.
~ Amelia almost dies from a panic attack after she face another literal nightmare: rope- climbing a straight incline with nothing but air between her and the ground below.
Chapter 8: In which the sisters set out to see a whale and Eleanor almost dies from diesel inhalation.
Chapter 9: In which the triumphant sisters return to Reykjavik, observe boiling pits of mud, waterfalls, bathe in a river, brave tourists, and nearly lose a shoe.
Chapter 10: In which the sisters say goodbye.
Epilogue: In which Amelia, in an effort to incorporate the outdoors into her urban life, goes hiking with a potential love interest, gets stuck dangling off the side of the cliff, and almost dies five times and Eleanor takes a nice bike ride through Berlin.