Much of the weather conditions one experiences living in England are very similar to those that you will experience in Iceland. Logical really when you know that Iceland is actually responsible for the English weather. Just as I would want to defend the reputation of my own country I feel also a sense of duty in defending Iceland’s climate. The weather in Iceland isn’t as extreme as most presume & I am living proof of this after sleeping a week long in a car in the middle of Winter with no shortage of snow. Okay, I did experience some hefty blizzards with gale force winds that at times were so strong that I couldn’t open the door of the car. It is very important to be able to open a door now & again as you get snowed in so quickly that once you can’t open the doors then you have a serious problem. Generally though I can honestly say that it was never colder during the night than -2°C so that I could sleep quite comfortably in my sleeping bag. I had lots of sunny weather on that Winter trip too, I was so surprised I wish I could have stayed longer, it was beautiful.
Fjords, Volcanoes & Dried Fish
Iceland is of course best known as the island of Fire & Ice which is true & the impression that many have of the country is that it is dangerous, isolated & cut off from civilization. Well, if you are one those people that put the heating on as soon as a cloud covers the sun in the middle of summer or can’t survive without fast-food restaurants & social gatherings at football stadiums & concert halls at the weekends then you may well be correct in assuming that Iceland might not be your idea of a break other than maybe a nervous breakdown. If like myself you are one of the others that are searching for peace & solitude connected with fresh air & exercise, a sense of adventure plus numerous opportunities to shoot tasty landscape pictures then you really are in for a treat because Iceland is a natural paradise for all photographers & nature freaks alike. But don’t get the impression that you can’t enjoy a restaurant visit or have a drink in a pub it is just that other than Reykjavik, the island’s capital, the possibilities aren’t so numerous after leaving the city boundaries. Finding a petrol station is often quite a challenge & when you find one then they are very simple affairs, often just a pump with the possibility of only paying by credit card with PIN number so be warned. If you are fortunate enough to come across a filling station with a shop then you will quickly realize that in a one horse town with just a few inhabitants that the shop is a meeting place for the locals to catch up on local gossip.
Highlights Of My Trips
Reykjavik is a quiet nest with a flair that takes me back to the 70’s somehow. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, it could be the chilled out atmosphere, the people don’t seem so stressed out, maybe it has to do with the architecture, Reykjavik is the capital city of a volcanic island with around 350,000 inhabitants. With such a small community & such harsh climatic conditions nobody can expect an ultra modern skyline. Instead Reykjavik has a village atmosphere & this atmosphere is well worth taking in especially at the end of a trip after all that nature, it is a relaxed transformation back to most people’s “normal” daily existance.
Vatnajökull National Park is one of three national parks in Iceland & is most significant due to its diverse variety of landscape features, created by the combined forces of rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic and geothermal activity. The park covers a large area of the eastern part of the island & many breathtaking views are to be had along the ring road but to enjoy the park to its fullest you need to get the hiking boots on & venture a little inland to get that real feeling of freedom.
On the southeast coast, at the edge of the Vatnajökull National Park, Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier is Jökulsarlon, a lake that has developed due to the glacier receding from the edge of the Atlantic coast. The calving of the glacier fills the lake with numerous icebergs large & small which then float down a short river, under the road bridge into the sea. In turn the ice floes get washed up onto the black sand beach popularly known as Diamond Beach.
Situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland this beautiful waterfall is a very popular tourist attraction on the cliffs of the former coastline. The Skógafoss is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland with a width of 15 m (49 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall produces, a double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. To the right of the waterfall are steps leading to the top where a magnificent view of the river, the falls & the surrounding area can be enjoyed. Following the path inland brings one to the Fimmvörðuháls pass between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers. It goes down to Þórsmörk on the other side and continues as the famous Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar.
The Golden Falls is a wild, dramatic waterfall located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. The wide Hvítá flows southwards & about a kilometer above the falls it makes a sharp turn to the right flowing down into a wide curved three-step “staircase” before abruptly plunging in two stages 11 m (36 ft) & 21 m (69 ft) into a crevice 32 m (105 ft) deep. In the earlier part of the 20th Century there were plans to produce electricity from the waterfall but due to a lack of capital, investors attempts were unsuccessful. Today the waterfall belongs to the state of Iceland & is so protected.
- Photographic Interest 100%
- Weather 80%
- Hospitality 90%
- Sightseeing 100%
- Fun Factor 90%
- Repeat Visit 100%
Can't Wait For The Next Trip
My last trip to Iceland was in 2012 & I must admit my feet are starting to itch again for the next visit. I love the fresh air, the lack of people & that feeling of freedom in the wilderness. But from what I see & hear the Icelander too have cottoned on to the possibilities of earning money from tourism & are being supported from their government to exploit the market as Iceland has financial problems dating back to the financial & economical crisis between 2008 & 2011. Slowly but surely the country is recovering but it has its price. The once dreamy, solitary landscape is slowly becoming a thing of the past due to an invasion of people from all walks of life all looking for a piece of that solitary wilderness.