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Topography of a journey: An Unusual Day of Traveling (#1)

From above the clouds look like things the world is made out of. You only need a single glance to understand that sketches are made up here, blueprints for anything that might be: people, castles, dragons, gorgons, any mystical beings as well as common things like chairs, mountain chains and pocket watches. Things are forever being sketched at an enormous pace up here, only to seconds later crumble - like skýjaborgir. Cloud cities are an Icelandic concept. If you build cloud cities you’re not being very practical, imaginative, but not very practical. I tend to think cloud cities are underrated, wonderful things that should be pursued at all cost. I think we should all build them, all the time. What could be more wonderful?

There was a new breeze in this journey from the start. A feeling I woke up with that I don’t remember from similar journeys in the past. We woke up in the middle of the night like we usually do when it’s time to go to the airport, but this time we didn’t rush to get to the train that would get us to Kastrup, Copenhagen’s airport. Instead we drove on the slithering roads in the dark through the forest to get to the local airport. A small, uncrowded place which let us check in and get through security at an alarming pace.

Usually I’m sleepless and scared at this point, but this time I wasn’t very scared and I was sleep deprived for completely different reasons than usually. This time it was my cold that had kept me awake, my cough and not the sheer terror of having to board an airplane.

I was uneasy, but Miss Fearful, who previously took these journeys was mostly absent. (You can read about her journeys here - and for a couple of entries forward). Instead she had been replaced with Miss Somewhat-concerned-but-doesn’t-really-mind. A lady I am really very fond of. And The flight was without bumps, without terror and a lot shorter than anticipated.

The world is a marvellous place and from above you can see the mythical beasts lying in wait. The sleeping man in the cloud, that you then realize isn’t asleep but dead, his skull broken. There’s a story there, waiting to be revealed. His white face begging me to tell it.

Then there’s the beast that shares a name with someone that was saved by a she-bear in his infancy. Spreading its limbs in every direction, like a great arachnoid, its limbs seem to go on forever, the thick bulging body layered with life and from above you can even see the Eiffel Tower. Then there are smaller beasts, mountains and heaps of things made by people, rows of windmills, old castles and roads that lead from anywhere to everywhere. Then another beast appears before you, compact with a symbol of its own, a white circle that’s so apparent from above you stop to wonder what on gods given earth it is. The football fan smiles and tells you, it’s Bernabeau. The ring in the Minotaur’s nose.

Then there’s the ocean in all it’s glory. A fire breathing seahorse lurks in a fluffy cloud roaming easily over the surface of the ocean, waiting for its next target, then metamorphosing quietly into a frog that prepares to jump and in the jump evaporates and turns to mist. And before you know it the islands appear as if from nowhere, a series of small mountains sticking out of the ocean at first and then the bigger islands. The white houses become larger and larger and when it feels as if the pilot is about to land the plane on the ocean itself, it touches land and you’re on the ground again, one with the beast.

The last half an hour of the journey is often complicated, mostly because by that time people are tired and ill tempered after being cooped up, after waiting on the plane for too long to be let out. Then there is the case of getting the car you rented. The internet is a beautiful thing, they know you’re coming and you’ve already paid and still it’s very complicated, this time by the fact that there’s no office just a guy standing somewhere and finding that guy proofs to be problematic until you call the HELP ME I’M IN TROUBLE number. The child gets cheeky, a rather hefty argument ensues but still your mind is tranquil and peaceful. Perhaps because of the half a tablet of beta blockers, but you always take those when boarding an airplane. Perhaps it was just the day, an unusually peaceful day of traveling.

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