We woke up today to cloudy skies and a weather forecast of heavy rain. Oh joy! But we’re Vancouverites so we can handle a little heavy rain! I am SO grateful to my sister for arranging everything about our trip to Iceland. I’ve done so much preparation for every other aspect of this trip that I was more than happy to hand over the reigns to her. And she is organized. Uber organized. Like, she has excel sheets for everything from grocery lists to Christmas plans which she starts in August, so she was the person for the job. Yes, I give her a hard time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it! (:
So we set out at about 7:30 and our first scheduled stop was the black pebble beach on the North Atlantic. This was some wild coastline, and some wild weather. After the warmth of Greece, it was kind of a shock to have driving wind whipping ice cold rain in my face and soaking my jeans. My organized sister had rain pants and gum boots. All I had was my woolen Icelandic sweater that I had bought the day before, my Topshop jeans, Yoga jacket and boots that leak. I didn’t care though, the beauty of this place was making me forget the cold and the rain. It is the wildest coast I think I’ve ever seen. The black lava cliffs and the wild waves made for some dramatic views and a little feeling of danger. My poor mom was crapping her pants a bit as we walked down to the beach. She was worried about rogue waves. I told her she was being silly, only as we were leaving the park did we see the warning sign about rogue waves. Oops, my bad. I guess mothers always right after all.
It’s hard to convey the way this landscape makes you feel. The photos really don’t do it justice. It reminded us a bit of a moonscape, and between the black earth and the lush green foliage it has the most beautiful contrast. And the landscape kept changing as we were driving along. The one thing that doesn’t change is the black earth. Yes, it is a volcanic island, that much is clearly obvious. And considering it’s called ICEland, it’s really not all that icy. If anything, it’s green. When my sister told her three year old that she was going away for a few days to Iceland, his question was, “Are you going to slip?” She had to think that one over to figure out what he was talking about… Oh, he thought that because it was called Iceland that she would slip on the ice. I love the way kids take things so literally.
|This was a random little cemetery on the side of the road.|
|Approaching the delta towards the ocean.|
|This is a “small” waterfall along the way. It wasn’t even on our itinerary but we stopped anyways…|
|e in my new wool Icelandic sweater! It was actually very warm against the wild wind. Millions of sheep can’t be wrong.|
|We could walk on a path and go behind the waterfall. The noise of the thing was amazing!|
|These are the traditional Icelandic horses. They look quite different from your average horse. Apparently it’s a very pure blood line due to the isolated nature of Iceland.|
|Despite the desolation it’s a very lush and colourful landscape. We’re lucky that we’re here when the leaves and foliage were changing colour, the variation of the colours were just beautiful!|
|Cone head! Man was it windy!|
|s sort of what the Newfoundland coast looks like? That’s what I kept thinking as I looked around. It’s so much wilder than the Pacific coast, that much I do know! I can’t imagine going out in a boat here, I’m not that sea worthy.|
|You can’t see it here, but there were some serious rollers coming in.|
|There are a LOT of sheep on this island. Everyone wears the beautiful traditional Icelandic sweaters too, not just us tourists.|
|PUFFINS! We only got to see a stuffed one. Next time I come here, I WILL see a live one.|
|We went to the folk museum in Skogar. It’s a great museum with reproduction sod houses and various artifacts and objects from Icelandic life over the ages. Wool spinning is an important part of life here, you know, because they need the sweaters…|
|Sod house! They were just like a regular house on the inside, but totally unique on the outside.|
|Waterfall #2 in Skogar right near the museum. They should call this place Waterland rather than Iceland. There is water cascading from the hills everywhere!|
|The mist from this bad boy completely soaked me, and made it very hard to keep my camera lens dry. I really should invest in a waterproof camera…|
|On the road again. See how the landscape has changed again?|
|This is Gullfoss also known as Golden Falls. It is the most impressive waterfall I’ve ever seen, except for maybe Niagara.|
|The water is so mineral rich and the water is crystal clear. In this hole you could peer in and see the opening of the geyser. It really looked like it was going to the centre of the earth… makes you wonder just WHAT else is going on down there?|
|This little geyser doesn’t spurt, it just boils and boils… “Boil, boil, toil and trouble…”|
|I love Autumn!|
|Heading to Thingvellir National Park. See below, that weird symbol that looks like a B is pronounced TH. Ah, the wonders of language!|
|We were trying to find the place where the continental divide is pulling the plates apart, and while we saw lots of rock that clearly was being pulled apart we never did find the actual spot. To be honest we were plain running out of daylight.|
|More fall colours! It was overwhelmingly beautiful, but again… the photos just don’t do it justice.|
|You really looks like the earth is opening up and spitting itself out…|
None of us are ready to leave this country. I feel like I’ve seen only the tip of the iceberg (pun intended!) It’s so wild and beautiful and has a sense of adventure unlike any other. There is so much more to discover here, and I can guarantee that I will return to you Iceland! I’ll try to coincide it when one of my favourite bands are playing here, who happen to be Icelandic. They are called Sigur Ros, and their music really reflects this landscape. It’s lonely, sad, haunting and a bit otherworldly. Check out their documentary called Heima, it’s a beautiful film that shows the diversity of Iceland as the band plays a series of free shows for the Icelandic people. What great way to end my 6 months.
And, to top it all off, we saw Northern Lights. This was one of the biggest thrills I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’ve never seen them before (despite looking every time I’m anywhere north of Whistler.) The girl in the folk museum told us that she saw them the night before, and gave us a good viewing spot in Reykjavik. We got home and decided we’d head there at around 11:30 so it’s good and dark. My mom was in her jammies already and decided not to join us but thought she’d just have a peek from our balcony. She started screaming at us to get out there NOW! There they were. Flashes of green and blue, dancing in the sky. The first thing I thought was that if I didn’t know what it was I would have thought it was aliens coming to earth. It’s truly surreal to see those lights flashing in the night sky. It only lasted for about 10 minutes, then it clouded over again. I can now cross a major “to do” off of my life list, but having said that it only sparked a desire for more. I want more northern lights, more adventure, new cities, new countries. Ah, the travel bug is a virulent one!