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!