Six days in Iceland

The idea of the Northern Lights, the drama of short days and long nights, snow and ice inspired this short trip to Iceland. Having just had a big birthday, this was a treat that I couldn’t resist when it was suggested. So, since we were going to be in the UK for Christmas this was the ideal time. Just six days, but that was enough to drive from Reykjavic to the eastern side of the island, along the southern coast. We booked a self-drive tour which provided a detailed itinerary and hotels booked along the way. The first night was Reykjavic – an old, small city with narrow streets leading down to the harbour, lit up with Christmas decorations, busy and vibrant.

After picking up the car, a small 4-wheel drive with studded tyres, we made our way east. There was quite a lot of snow, unusual for this early we were told, but the roads were clear – at least to start with! First stop was a geothermal power station, architecturally beautiful, providing power and hot water efficiently to the area.


The further we travelled, the more build-up of snow and ice on the road, but the car hung on. It was only stepping outside you realised just how icy it was, your feet threatening to shoot away from beneath you.


Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The main fall was still flowing, but all around were icicles frozen in mid fall. When we returned two days later, most of the snow had melted, giving us a view of the intense, dark colours of the landscape.


Sunrise at Geirland.


Skaftafell National Park – we walked as close as we could get to this glacier – I love the semi-abstract shapes that appear in it.

 

   Jokulsarlon, the Glacial Lagoon was the most extraordinary place. A glacier flows down to the river mouth, where large blocks of ice break off and float down to the sea, or are washed up onto the jet black volcanic sands. Some of the ice is intensely compressed and clear as glass, some of the blocks are full of oxygen and bright turquoise.

Iceland is a memory of roads that are only defined from the sky and landscape by small yellow posts, majestic scenery and the inexplicable beauty of the Glacial Lagoon, sunrises and sunsets of intense colour. Landscape in intense, deep tertiary colours. It won’t leave me for a long time.

2015 has been a year of big events, some happy, others quite the opposite. One daughter bought a house, the other got engaged, my mother died, we took our big trip around Australia for three and a half months, now Iceland and a wonderful family Christmas in London, but just before Christmas my brother died. I am thankful I happened to be in the UK for my mother’s funeral, and that I saw my brother, and will be here for his funeral. Thank you to all my blogging friends for your encouragement and wonderful support of my art, it makes such a big difference to me, and you all inspire me constantly. So, here’s looking forward to a peaceful and happy 2016 for all of us!

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50 thoughts on “Six days in Iceland

  1. Your year sounds like a real rollercoaster of emotions–I’m sorry for such losses. Your trip to Iceland seems wonderful, though–and your photos make me want to go! The sunrise photos and the ones of the ice chunks are spectacular!

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  2. Anna ! Oh I’m thrilled you’ve had a wonderful time in Iceland . I knew it would be for you 😉
    Some very lovely photos of which there are plenty more I’m sure to share with us . Isn’t it such an inspiring country … I’m not surprised one bit that they should hold dear their belief in elves , trolls and other ways told of in ancient sagas . I love the waterfalls … just SO much power and beauty ..
    I can’t quite place the ones in the last picture … was that a helicopter trip ?
    Winter and the beach at Jokusarlon really was showcasing you its best jewels and gems 🙂 I bet you’ve had a hard time choosing which one to give a star appearance here ! Looks like you had some lovely skies too .. it makes such a difference, early morning the snow glows and mountains are transformed into pink tinged meringues …
    The Christmas season can be bittersweet at times so I’m very sorry to hear of your loss Anna x
    Wishing you plenty of happiness, good health and cheer in the new year of 2016 🙂

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    1. It was just such a wonderful experience Poppy, and so much of that is down to you and your wonderful photos. The last photo is Gullfoss falls, not far from Geysir, looking down from the boardwalk. I imagine in full melt it would have water pouring from every direction. There is so much to absorb, and yes, more photos, but I didn’t want to overload! Thank you for your thoughts – hopefully next year will be more mundane one!

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  3. Iceland looks spectacular but a bit scary as well. The conditions look so extreme that one can imagine that any small mishap could have big consequences. I was nervous driving round the mountains of New Zealand in mid-winter but Iceland’s conditions make the Southern Alps look mild in comparison. It does remind me of New Zealand though.
    You HAVE had a big and intense year. I hope 2016 will be a little more benign.

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  4. Such wonderful images Anna, it must have been an amazing trip. Your trips this year have been so different, months in the outback of Australia then to the frozen north. Thank you so much for taking us with you, I have enjoyed it so much. My condolences on the loss of your brother, that must be very sad, glad you could say goodbye though. Karen

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  5. Thanks once more for your photos of Iceland. I was particularly struck by the one of the light capturing the people looking at the waterfall. I don’t know why but I think the scale is so clearly depicted. So sorry to hear of your losses and hope that your travels provided dome consolation.
    Here’s to a good 2016.

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    1. I agree about having the people shows the scale of the waterfall – I realised after I put in the first waterfall pic that there was nothing to really show how enormous it was. It has been such a mixed year, but the good parts have been really wonderful. A very happy New Year to you too Leonie!

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  6. I am sorry to hear about your mother and brother.

    Like many here, I’ve enjoyed seeing your travel sketches and photos and reading about your experiences. The photos here are stunning to look at and for the atmosphere they convey.

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  7. Hi Anna, I am sorry for your losses this year. I am very grateful for all your beautiful art and travel experiences you have shared. Your comments to me always mean a lot. I wish you the best for the coming year.

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    1. Thank you Nancy, I know you have experienced loss this year too. All part of life’s rich pattern, adding to our experiences. I always enjoy seeing what you are doing too. One of the wonderful things about blogging is learning from everyone else.

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      1. Iceland…yes, certainly the environment lends itself to experimental ideas…it’s a place continually evolving too! Cheers to you, and thanks for your good wishes. 🙂

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  8. Anna, I am so very sorry to read your brothers passing. What a roller coaster year you have had, the extremes for sure. It does continue to weave the pattern of a full, rich life. I hope you find comfort in happy memories.

    Your travels and art/creativity have been so remarkable this year. The experiences and experiments all amazing! I have really enjoyed being along side you reading and seeing so many remarkable things. You are making my travel desires continue to grow. Between your images and Poppy’s images of Iceland I’m so intrigued. It looks so rugged and untouched, magical really.

    Happiest of Birthdays to you. I hope this will be a new year full of creative growth, discoveries and love! All the best to you and your family in 2016 Anna!

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    1. It certainly has been a year of extremes Cathe, but many good things to balance the sad ones. I suppose it’s all part of getting older, all the experiences that go to make the people we are. It has been wonderful having you along with me, I’m looking forward to lots more! Here’s to an exciting, stimulating and creative 2016 for you and your family too xx

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  9. Anna, the photos are incredible and your description is a wonderful read. It is so inspiring. Did you see any Aururas? I love the way you notice the landscape through a a lens of shape and color. I’m really sorry to hear about your brother, and your mum. My thoughts are with you. Pass on my congratulations to Xanthe and Tess for their respective life milestones. Love and best wishes to Neil too.

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    1. We saw a delicate bit of aurora, not the big green curtains but pale sweeps across the sky – enough to say we saw it I think! It is a wonderful country, rich contrast and colour. I could see so many abstract forms! Thank you for your kind thoughts Trixi, I appreciate them very much, and will pass your congratulations to the girls. We all had Christmas together here in London in Tessa’s new house which has been wonderful. Lots of love to you and all your boys! Xx

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  10. What an extraordinary landscape and such a contrast from your Australian trip. I’m sorry to hear your news about your mother and brother, particularly at this time of year seems but it must be of some consolation that you were in the UK and saw your brother; the distance between the UK and Australia never seems greater than at times like these.
    Looking forward to following your adventures and seeing more of your art in 2016. Happpy New Year.

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    1. Thanks Anne – the contrasts between the two trips were huge, and I think helped us appreciate both more. I am grateful that – by coincidence- I am here in the UK for both funerals, I have discovered how important they are for a farewell. So, on to a new year with all that it will offer!

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