I will be arriving in Reykjavik on August 1st. for three days followed by a five day driving circuit of the country. I had planned to be in Iceland for at least three weeks, but I was unaware that it was a Schengen country, and I had nearly used up all of my Schengen time (90 Days). So I cut Copenhagen from my itinerary in early July, headed for the UK, and ended up with enough time (9 Days) to get a taste of what Iceland has to offer. Even in its abbreviated state, my visit here will be a fantastic way to wrap up my 2016 European Tour.
We come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. -Led Zeppelin-
I have arrived in Reykjavik, gotten oriented, and even flown to Greenland for an inspired impromptu day trip. Iceland has been a smooth groove even though I failed to plan extensively. I talked to a girl who worked at reception in the hostel the night before leaving for my whirlwind ring road adventure, and basically came up with some must see stuff. She even helped me sort out my google maps so I wouldn’t have to rent a GPS. The friendly Lithuanian guy at the rental agency and I hit it off the next day, and he gave me an automatic car for the same price as a manual which was an excellent start to the journey, to say the least.
This is some iceberg action from Greenland. Since 90% is underwater it’s actually ginormous. I’ve already got 400 photos to work with, and I’ve still have three more days to go. It’s hard to make time on the roads in Iceland because you want to stop and shoot pictures every five minutes. The place is as bad as New Zealand when it comes to natural beauty and low population density.
LOFT HOSTEL – Located dead center in Reykjavik, this hostel has an ideal location, comfortable accommodations, and a wonderful staff.
There is also a good view from their top floor patio.
Capital City with a small town vibe.
Need one of those hats with the horns on it? This is the place for you. Flava Flav ruined Viking hats for me when he was slutting around on that sleazy reality show of his. “Flavor of Love” indeed, more like the flavor of chlamydia!
See what I mean, and this is a good picture of him with his boozy, washed up, Eurotrash girlfriend Brigitte Neilsen from the show. She’s now making the rounds with that recovery charlatan, Dr. Drew Pinsky. I felt so sorry for his bandmates in Public Enemy being so humiliated by his antics on that abomination of a show, and also for Denmark for being her birthplace.
MAIN STREET – As you can see Reykjavik is nothing like you would expect from a capital city with its two-story buildings on its main street. There are even a couple of one story buildings as well. There is a very small town feel to it, and the country’s total population is a mere 300,000 people.
CAFÉ LOKI – The only reason I included this is that it is the name of my daughter Dina’s dog, and I had dinner here. I had a bowl of the local meat soup, some smoked trout on flatbread and a coke zero. All tolled it was $40. As you can see Iceland lives up to its reputation for being a bit expensive.
HARPA REYKJAVIK CONCERT HALL
HALLGRIMSKIRKJA – Lutheran Church and largest church in Iceland
HULDA HÁKON – PÉTUR/PETER
A VIEW FROM THE TOP
LEIF ERICSSON – Son of Iceland – Discoverer of Finland
A woman’s work is never done
HARPA REYKJAVIK CONCERT HALL
Jón Gunnar ÁRNASON – Sun Voyager (Sólfar) – 1986
LEBOWSKI BAR – A nice tribute to a much-loved movie by the Coen Brothers. Come on in and order a white Russian or just drink up the atmosphere. The Dude would love the place if he could come up the $14 which is a fee for a Caucasian.
Day Trip to Greenland
Air Iceland – 2 hours to Greenland
My First Iceberg
A QUIET RIDE FROM REYKJAVIK
A local guide who was very hard to understand. Nice fellow though.
WE READY OURSELVES FOR A HIKE
THE LOCAL HOTEL – Probably the largest structure on the island. In front of the building, you will see a tall gray pole in the ground. These are all over town and used to gauge the depth of the snow as the winter snows pile up.
A pretty little village whose colorful houses used to carry meaning for the town. Each color used to designate a specific function in the community. Some colors for water, electric, communications, etc. Now they are purely for aesthetic purposes.
TRUNDLING TOWARD THE VILLAGE BELOW
WHERE’S WALDO? – Try and locate the three dogs. These Greenland dogs are special sled dogs indigenous to this country.
TINY LOCAL MUSEUM & GIFT SHOP
SEAL SKIN – Just as the Native Americans used every part of the Buffalo so do the Innuit People of Greenland with the seal.
I feel a little bad for buying a Polar Bear Claw, but I could rest assured that this was not from a trophy hunter. Clearly, a family was fed for a considerable time, the fur went to good use, and the claws alone fetched $1000 total. It’s a very expensive place to live. Aside from that, it was a gift for my awesome son-in-law whose nickname is Bear.
WATER FILLING STATION
Love the ship model behind the pulpit, not to mention the seal skin kneeling cushions for communion.
This lady is the mother of the guy with the green shirt in the pictures below.
This Innuit performer has traveled around Europe and is demonstrating to us the song and dance of culture as passed down to him through the generations.
Our friend gives us a funny story about a raven and a seabird while making ridiculous guttural sounds in the process.
In this performance, he plays the role of a lascivious old perv as he sidles up to blond who is agonizing in the foreground because she has just seen him accost another lady. He sticks out his tongue and weaves about. It really is kind of creepy even though it’s clearly an act.
ICEBURG HUNTING – A little one appears.
Panama hat with icebergs, I love it!
One last MegaBerg
One last Greenlandscape
Time to grab the flight back to Reykjavik from Kulusuk.
Overnight in Reykjavik before the big “Ring Road Rally”.
Day One – South Coast – Vik Area
My intrepid little method of conveyance. Note the TR Z (travel zealot) license plate.
ON THE ROAD
THE MOUNTAIN HAS SPRUNG A LEAK
SELJALANDSFOSS WATERFALL – The first of many waterfalls I will encounter.
And now for a farmhouse that was nearly destroyed by the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in its backyard. Although the eruption temporarily threatened those beneath, people never gave up. Farming continued, and plants and animals were nurtured
These falls are striking with their crisp, straight, stone lip turning water into a foaming curtain so well formed that one can’t help but suspect that it is manmade.
SUCH BEAUTY – This is a place where man does as little damage as is possible. 100% Renewable Energy, now.
I love the interplay of the layers and textures of color. For a quiet photo, there is a lot going on.
HRUTAFELL GUESTHOUSE – Hvolsvöllur – South of Vik
Day Two – Hofn Hostel
BLACK BEACH – Perfect day for rain and angry clouds.
I do love composing these textural playgrounds.
Once again a great way to shoot these beaches; from under an umbrella.
I think a real test of a country is how beautiful it is in the rain.
So many times you snap a picture here, and it looks like a painting.
Here’s a little welcome déja vu along the lines of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
CAN’T BEAT THOSE HEXAGONAL BASALT FORMATIONS
Don’t dare to throw trash or call their horses ponies, and you will get along just fine with the locals.
HOFN HOSTEL – A tired old overpriced hostel that charged me $150 for a nights stay in a private with no bathroom, sheets, or towel.
– Day Three –
-Day Four –
Petra’s Stone Collection – This is an early hoarder who focused her efforts on stone. This is nice because they don’t rot. Most of her collection just came from the region she lived in. A number of locals suggested that her time might be better spent on other pursuits, but Petra was unable to disengage from her stony obsession.
This is one case of hoarding that really paid off. The King of Iceland even gave Petra an award, and the museum is bringing in a lot of money for the family.
PETRA WOOD CARVING
– AKUREYRI –
BAUTINN – This place whips up a fantastic lobster soup.
Day Six – Return to Reykjavik