Sunday, July 19, 2015

Iceland Day 1: Arrival

The mother of all road trips: the Ring Road. Clockwise. 3308 kilometers. June 2015. It was the beginning of high tourist season though what that meant was a frequent point of conversation. My cousin, Donna, and I spent 15 days wondering what Iceland could look like crowded. Thankfully, we never found out.

First view from the Keflavík International Airport en route to buy groceries in Reykjavík.

Fascinated by the aesthetics of baked goods though not one to eat them often, I found the muffins borderline appalling.

Lunch in the grocery store parking lot. Peas imported from Ireland.

Five hours sleep in 48 hours and a 13 hour layover at JKF does not bode well for starting off in an energetic fashion. We did not visit Hvalfjördur out of sheer exhaustion, opting instead to rest by both of the Akranes lighthouses in the late afternoon sun. 

The side view mirror was also used to capture piles of drying salt at the peninsula. This was one of the warmest afternoons as I was only wearing two layers rather than the typical three. First locational comparison: an industrial Maine coastal town with 1/16 the population.

After dinner at the Settlement Center of Iceland, we drove inland to our funny hotel on the Grimsa River. "Funny" is used as a description because of the abundance of trolls (for better or for worse - more so the latter).

The Fossatún Hotel view from outside our room at 11 PM. Like most people who have never experienced 24 hours of daylight, I was constantly observing the quality of light at all times of day. The grays, the blues, the sun hanging over the horizon eons longer than normal before it sank into the sea, were all noted. Birds never ceased singing. Light never stopped entering the cracks in the curtains though this hotel would prove to be the darkest of all that followed. We would miss this the rest of our journey.

Second locational comparison: parts of Southern Idaho after a snow melt. Legend has it that there are piles of gold under the grass mounds. We did not find any but loved to look at the clumpy formations up close and from afar while speeding by in the SUV.

The Fossatún Hotel offered many photographic opportunities excluding stone sculptures of trolls. Above, I was channeling my inner Peter Happel Christian by documenting a rock holding down a grate.

I returned to this cabin multiple times trying to capture its odd shape in the landscape, never fully succeeding.

A hobbit house with grass resembling long hair. It was with this photograph, taken shortly before midnight, that I realized I was not near anything I had ever known. It was not the subject matter per se, but fully understanding how far north I was... traveling near the Arctic Circle in June. The abundance of light made the distance greater.

10 AM through the window of the hotel room the next morning (it looks a lot like midnight). After much needed sleep, we would venture further inland to visit countless waterfalls (hereby known as foss) and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Iceland would come to represent my desire to visit the edges of the earth, the point where all roads end, where the sea is the final barrier. The entire country defined the edge and I, trying desperately to hide my fear of heights, would peer out into this volatile space, day after day in wonder.

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