Haunted By Waters, But Stayed For The Hot Dogs

We walk walk walk along fall colored paths with short stubby native trees. Tall evergreen or birch trees in Iceland are planted anomalies designed to create a forest illusion, and in some cases in this rather exposed volcanic land, the illusion works.   Upstream of Hraunfossar, the Children’s waterfalls, the river water flows and churns into a frothy turquoise with a whipped cream top, bashing and smashing its way against jagged lava sides and probably a kayaker’s dream.  We stand over bridges, we take pictures, we do the things you do in the Icelandic fall, and the air is crisp and clear and smells like hot dogs. Oh wait, that’s the nearby cafe. Nevermind. 

Some Turf Houses Have Stories Too True To Tell

The north of Iceland is a moody, stormy show of Mother Nature’s irritable side. We clambered out of the tour mini-bus greeted with a sheet of rain that smashed our faces, sprinted past the church and into Glaumbær farm historic turf house, which although dank and musty inside, was surprisingly warm, cozy,and insulated …or maybe it was just the contrast of the weather outside. Two dozen turistas and unsmall me shuffling down hallways meant for one individual at most was an exercise in mild claustrophobia, but the preserved history inside the rooms was so tangible–the pottery, the looms, the skates, the cookware, the beds, the wooden ladders and beams, all shockingly roomy for a fully enclosed warren; a time machine visit to what it might have been like for 3 or 4 families to live in such a place dating from the settlement of Iceland in 870 to the mid-20th century. We stepped outside chattering about it…faceful of rain in the teeth again. Some things are constant here.

Traveling Is Not Just A Tour, It’s a Rabbit Tail

Goðafoss, waterfall of the Gods.  Typically don’t include tourists in my shots but there was no shaking these dudes they stood in front of everyone taking pics, oblivious, but hey, it’s their trip, too.  Moreover, I’m not inclined to try and Photoshop out their turista bright colors against such a craggy outpost.

Smoke for Smoke, Sir, My Extinguished Lava Cone Is Better Than Yours

The tour minibus drove up and down and around the northern fjords of Iceland, somewhere west of the fishing village of Akureyri, beyond lunar landscapes and into these pleasing patterned landscapes that felt like models for black and white images, but I bleached them cool and let them be.  We looked at blacked volcano cinder cones on the horizon, but this little field was littered with sleepy sheep, and the snow came down twirling on the random gusts and stuck to our faces.  An Iceland moment? Maybe. It could’ve been anywhere that snows, I s’spose, but I cherished it anyway.

Love Is The Territory Of Kisses, Hisses, Steam, and Volcanoes

Námafjall geothermal area, Northeast Iceland, vents steaming out of every crease in the land, indigo and blue bubbling mud ponds and bathes. That pile of rocks in the forefront–there were many–was hissing like a snake and the gusts were so hard, the steam blew out sideways and not up.  An overwhelming stench of sulfur.  Just over that steaming red Martian looking hill lies the Mývatn Nature Baths….an unevenly heated 1 acre pool that the locals hit up cheerfully and have since the time of the Vikings, knowing the entire place could go up any time this angry earth feels like it, but hey…hot spring plus cool pool plunge equals “less inflammation,” so say the locals.

Castaway Waterfalls Are The Moonlight In The Gloomy Days of Life

One 3 kilometer hike in Northeast Iceland up,up,up.   Check.   Two major waterfalls: Hengifoss at the top, Litlanesfoss in the middle; you can see both in earlier blog posts here.  And finally this sad, little throwaway waterfall at the bottom of the trail, and by the time I’d come back down it was raining like hell, stormy, big gusts throwing water sideways.   Fact:  Iceland is rife with throwaway waterfalls and drama queen weather that would be major hiking attractions back home.  Get here to this geological baby of an island, folks.

Daring To Toe The Thin Line Between Fishing and Just Standing On The Shore Like A Cloud Gawking Idiot

Djúpivogur, the tiny fishing village and childhood home of our Ring Road tour guide Biggi.  For this shot, he drove the fan up onto an overlook hill and we stared out at a quintessential Icelandic fishing village, pointing out the colorful buildings
the black one has bathrooms” and “there’s an antique shop where you can find stuff my grandma makes”. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet the local legend “Yan the Blacksmith” as his place was under construction, though we could see the sculptures outside his place.  And we saw the row of rock bird egg sculptures on the harbor – top notch work.  Must be interesting for Biggi to live in West Iceland and yet his work takes him repeatedly to the opposite side of the island to say hello to his Mom and family and friends he grew up with every few weeks  Anyhow,  jeez, lookit those insane clouds, will ya? Iceland, people. Get here.