I finally finished editing and uploading the images form my trip! It didn't actually take me that long, but they were on Tomas' laptop and it was a while before I got them.
They are displayed on photobucket (http://www.photobucket.com/albums/v14/Colossal) Under the album 'Ice Trip'. I also changed the album 'CaitlinParty' to 'IcePeople', and added a couple of pictures there, including one someone else took on the pre-sessional field trip of, wel, everyone!
The trip started with one amazing piece of fortune - naturally we booked the cheapest, smallest car we could, but when Eemeli and Antje went to pick it up they didn't have any small 'uns left, so, in the words of a text I sent to Caitlin: 'Holy shit we got one hell of an upgrade, I'm sitting in a Suzuki Grand Vitara!'. Free upgrade to a 4x4, jackpot! (There's a picture of it on page 3 of the album). Unfortunately, they never let me drive it :-(
So if any of you come to visit and we hire a car, I'm driving! I have a small ambition to drive on the other side of the road.
Now the pictures on the album are pretty much in order, so here follows a brief textural guide to your photographic experience!:
Day 1: Viti - Geysir & Strokkur - Langjokull & Gullfoss - nrSel - Dyrholaey
Most notable places on day 1 were the last two. 'nrSel' describes a waterfall very near the touristy Seljalandfoss, where people enjoy walking behind the falls and getting wet. However, this waterfall was different. As you can see it is almost completely enclosed by a cliff face. Unfortunately we approached it form the wrong side of it's offshot river, and couldn't see much into it. Until Tomas struck upon the genius idea of taking off our shoes and socks and wading across. Now, once your toes are in a very cold river, nothing much matters, and you might as well make the most of it. So we paddled upstream, into the 'cave' and right up to the waterfall. Somehow, that waterfall was just epically beautiful. I mean, probably not a lot of people had gone there, but it actually felt like no-one had been there, for a very long time.
Dyrholaey was another deserted area, probably because of the slightly bad road and weather (Eemeli, having informed us that some of the world's top rally drivers come from Finland, proceeded to drive like one). But what it led to was a beach thrashed by some awesome waves. I included a picture of Tomas and Eemeli on the beach just to show how much clothing we all had on. We drove slightly further on to a headland, wind battering the car, where me an Antje announced in union "I don't want to get out!"
Day 2: Skaftafell - Jok (Jokulsarlon) - nrJok - Eastfjords - Petra - Seydisfjordur
The 'frame' for the Skaftafell picture is a large bit of mangled bridge ruined in the last massive glacial outburst flood (caused by an eruption under the ice). Sure, you're porbably not supposed to climb it, but that's the thing about Iceland, there's never anyone around to enforce anything like that, so me and Tomas did anyway. Then he decided to jump around on a wobbly bit. He's a bit crazy, but without him we wouldn't have seen much of the cool stuff we did, including the waterfall in day 1.
We went to Jokulsarlon again of course, because it's the best place in the world, but we also ventured a little further down to the beach, where I got to see something I've always wanted to see, but just didn't know was there before: icebergs on a beach. And this was a black beach too, which made the contrast even more remarkable. They weren't massive 'bergs, but the beach was littered with them, and some were even rolling around in the near-shore waves.
From here we entered the clouds and saw little of the Eastfjords!
The pictures 'Petra' are from outside Petra's museum, an apparently amazing mineral collection, but we got there too late to get in. This also happened when I came with my parents. I now have a mission to see Petra's minerals!
Seydisfjordur is a pretty port town where the international ferry docks (which we saw in the morning). We wandered round the little town and harbour in the evening, and saw numerous starfish in the shallows.
Day 3: Desert - Dettifoss - Krafla - Hverfjall
'Desert' is just some nameless scenery on the route from Seydisfjordur to the Myvatn/Krafla area that we wandered about in for a while. The little hillocky mountains dusty in the distance looked, in the words of Antje, 'like something from the Lord of the Rings'. In fact, most of the scenery we saw that day was distinctly spooky, not least Krafla. Low, low cloud hung over an area of such recent volcanism that some parts were still steaming. There was also no-one about. And I remembered that it took my family and me a matter of hours to walk around the whole site. It was nearing 6 by now...would we get our alive!?
Ok, we only took a short route and didn'ts pend as long as that there, but something about the atmosphere just gave you the chills. Then we went to one of my favourite places, the perfect ash cone of Hverfjall overlooking Myvatn and associated lava field. The weather however was still bad, and we couldn't see that much, but the wind was forceful enough at the top to enjoy a bit of leaning into it.
Day 4: Akureyri - Siglufjordur - North valley - Skagi
Didn't actually DO much today, took it easy in Akureyri for a while and then fell about the twists of the North coast. Tried a few times to photograph a srange phenomonen in the bay of Siglufjordur, where the wind would whip up small tornadoe-type-things momentrily. My camera isn't really good enough for that tho...
The weather turned lovely as we rounded the coast at Skagi and treated us to a lovely sunset at the largest seal colony in Iceland - a few of them poked their heads out of the water to look at us as we attemped in vain to photogaph them.
Day 5: Westfjords - Djupavik
We stayed 2 nights at the base of the Westfjords so we could take an excursion into them. We got as far as this strange place - Djupavik - a real ghost town. Sad and rusting, the factory and ship echo of previous greatness, now all gone. The local dog followed us into the hills surrounding the 'town', and scrambled around us as we unwisely decided to descend back into the valley down a perilous slope. But no-one died. I took the opportunity to take a group photo here too, but for some reason everyone's making a stupid face.
Slightly fell in love with the big old rusting ship, just poised on the water's edge like it's going to launch back out to sea at any moment, but all dead inside.
That evening we took advantage of the free, outside, naturally-heated hot tub at the hostel. And took in exactly what you come to remote places for. Stars so wide on the sky that the arch of the Milky Way touched the horizon. And, as we watched, shimmering lightly into life, came the Northern Lights. Not a spectacular show, but peaceful, wonderful. In the lyrics of the Bedoin Soundclash "When the night fills my soul, I'll be home".
Day 6: Saeberg - Stykkisholmur - Snaefells
Woke up to glorious sunshine. There was something about the day that wasn't just sunny though, it was also very blue, of some fantastic hues! I think it's because, in general, you can see further, and with less obstacles than you could at home, so every sight seems intensified.
We drove on some actual 4x4-only roads today, the first out of Saeberg. Antje crossed her first rivers - and had such shot nerves afterwards she almost didn't let us drive up the second 4x4 road, even with Eemeli driving. But it was such a good day weather-wise, and I really wanted to go, so we did. And boy I'm glad we did.
We took a road right next to Snaefellsjokull, one of many volcano-summits-with-small-ice-caps found all over. But this road went right next to it, and there was no-one else around, so we stopped and messed about in the ice, mountain and sun. Unfortunately, everyone else had better boots than me and could climb the ice well enough (you can see my attempt by the 2 pictures in the album not taken by me - Climber 1 and 2). So instead I climbed a small ridge of ash across the ice (in the picture after Climber 2) and eventually joined up with the others.
And what a view! We could see forever, sea either side, and not a hint of humanity anywhere.
Took one of my fave pics, which I accidentally put at the start of the series 'Topoftheworld', a shadow pic of me flying over the while scene :-)
Then, sadly, back to Reykjavik.
It's strange just how much the Hallgrimskirkja (the church in Reykjavik that I live 2 mins from) stands out, even at a distance form the 'city'. A combination of it's position on a low hill and the extreme lack of skyscrapers in Reykjavik.
The image just struck me as odd, a church like that, no matter how tall and imposing, would be swallowed by any modern city elsewhere.
So! That was my trip, hope you enjoyed it :-)
Since there has only been Reykjavik day-to-day life, and of course there is much to be said about that, but next time, my fingers are bleeding.