Iceland, Blue Skies and Arctic chills
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page” – St. Augustine
I visited Iceland as a rather spur of the moment thing, and in all honesty, as a bit of a ‘in your face’ to a guy I was meant to explore Iceland with! (*grumble* haha). I travelled in a budget way, choosing lenses over clothing choices and packing super noodles, sacrificing my straighteners for a tripod (which I ended up not using). All images were created using a Nikon D750 35mm, an 85mm and a 24-70mm.
I wanted to explore on a budget, and went about this by renting my own 2WD compact car. Having your own car just gives you so much more freedom to feel like an explorer, going wherever the sun or snow may take you, and in my case mostly the sun!
Every day felt like the golden hour, as the sun sat in the sky halfway, not quite making it the whole way and washing everything with that soft warm light.
I began my trip hiking with a couple in Hveragerði.
Miet and Lenny are a young couple from Belgium, who travel around the world together. They were braving it, and camping in a van for the duration of their trip. I wasn’t so brave and booked an Airbnb. We bonded over the gas not working within their stove heater, and laughed about their bravery!
The hike was a ‘gentle’ one for the more experienced (I’m not experienced), and the sun shone the whole time with bright blue skies.
I then met with a friend, picking her up from the airport and taking the scenic route through the south peninsula to Reykjavik.
The following day we set off for 2 days of exploring the south coast as far as Jökulsárlón, Iceland’s largest glacier, and the Snæfellsnes peninsula to the north-west of Reykjavik. We had five days to see the landscape during the Icelandic shoulder season… fantastic for fewer tourists and receding snow.
Iceland’s landscape is eerily beautiful, with huge mountains that erupt from the flat plains and with a colorful array of yellows, browns, greens, reds and black, sugar-coated with white snow.
The volcanoes with their ash stained banks ascend from the ground and climb to the sky, and the lava gravel cascades back down to the shore, crumbling as it tumbles.
Waterfalls carry the fresh water from the winter snow peaks and frozen glaciers back to the shore, Seljalandsfoss towers above us bathing us in shade, and ice forms in beads and icicles around the waterfall's mist.
Birds fly above us, their nests nestled in the rock face.
The land of fire and ice creates black beaches--beaches which will never scald your feet from the sun's heat, misty beaches with dangerous Atlantic waves.
The hexagonal basalt columns ascend to the sky, climbing the mountains, created from violent eruptions.
The mid-sky sun bathes the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in shadows and warms the yellow and green moss that covers the Eldhraun lava fields that were created from the sooky volcanoes. Icy rivers, waterfalls and glaciers begin to release water again, icebergs escaping the lagoons, and once at sea they scatter their diamonds on the black beaches of Jökulsárlón.
"Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favour fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate to say that for destruction, ice is also great and would suffice." - Robert Frost
I find myself at the door of the black church, Búðir, which sits within the Búðahraun lava field. The church is black, the coastal sea air distresses the building.
The lava fields ochre, with snow filling the paths and dips. The charcoal coloured mountains and white snow mirror the churches isolation on the coast of the snæfellsjökull peninsula.
But, before heading back to Reykjavik we take the scenic route to Kirkjufellfoss, before then driving to Fridheimer along the golden circle route to eat their amazing tomato soup and then relax in the Secret Lagoon pool.
This is the season of change. During March the country is switching to daylight, and the days feel more like that of English springtime (but as cold as winter). Once Iceland reaches summer, the daylight will stretch to 24 hours from May through July.
Shadows are dramatic, the golden glow deceiving, and the views incredible.
I look to return to Iceland next summer to adventure the north, including the Fjords.
I may end up being the one in a van, with a gas stove for company!