Is it possible that bad weather has made this country even more beautiful?
The answer is yes- the grey clouds swathing the mountain tops make them even more mystical; the rain has ensured that the smallest of waterfalls cascade ten-to-the-dozen from the edges of each cliff; the waves are launching themselves at us, the ocean almost lapping at the wheels as we drive around the famous Route 1, Iceland’s “Golden Circle”.
If there’s one word that springs to mind about being here so far, it would be impressive. Everyone knows that Iceland is beautiful, nay, stunning, but country #44 so far has surpassed any and all expectations we had.
Day 3 and we’re pretty knackered – in the best way – from walking, seeing, doing; for this trip we decided to do little planning and use only a road map for navigation. The roads are riddled with enticing turn-offs and scenic spots promising yet more stunning photo opportunities – they say that Iceland is a photographer’s dream and, though a photographer I am not, “they” would appear to be correct.
If Monday was dedicated to chasing waterfalls (Gullfoss, Iceland’s very own mini Niagara and of course the stunning Skogafoss), then Tuesday was unexpectedly devoted to glaciers; Vatnajokull sits amongst the mountains along the south coast, and get this: it covers 8% of Iceland’s land mass. 8%. A GLACIER. Huge is an understatement; as you drive along the highway its icy tendrils reach longingly toward you, monstrous streams of ice – and this is SUMMER. Absolutely mad.
We stopped off at an incredible spot named Jökulsárlón – a glacial lagoon peppered with glittering ice bergs, crazily sitting merely a few yards away from the ocean. We took a boat trip into the lagoon (during which our tour guide asked us where abouts in China we were from..?) and were able to get up close and personal with the bergs – massive frozen sentinels, blue and grey and white. Pretty damn awesome.
Today is the first day that the rain has been pretty constant; the weather here changes so rapidly, from blazing sunshine to hammering rain in seconds. Of course, that means we’ve been treated to countless rainbows – the most vivid I’ve ever seen – in every direction. Everything is so diverse… Only here could you spend the morning hiking to an airplane crash site on a black sand beach, and end the day camping in the midst of glaciers and volcanoes.
Good work so far.