I have been dragging my feet to post these photographs. Not because I dislike them or don't want to share them. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is simply that this is a day that I hold dear to my heart and I felt that I needed to keep it mine for a while longer.
Here are a few shots from my time in Iceland. (I say a few because I shot a lot... way more than pictured here.) I had a 19 hour layover and drove from Keflavik to Vik (about a 3 hour drive, one-way) and stopped about a million times along the way. It is hard to put into words what this day meant to me and the weight it will hold on my heart for the rest of my life. I am hesitant to even show you my favorite images, as I feel they must be accompanied by my truest, most honest words. If you want to see the rest of my images and hear about this important day, just ask. I will gladly share when I can tell you about them personally.
Buildings are sparse in the region I was in, besides the occasional farmhouse and gas station. I drove past a couple of towns on my journey, but mostly the farmland is filled with telephone poles, lichen fields and livestock.
One of the things I adored the most about driving the 1 were the sheep and horses. I yearned to get out of my car and go say hello, but a quick roll down of the window had to do, because the wind was literally too strong to open my driver's side door.
On my way to Vik, I noticed a waterfall from the highway and, being the whirlwind day it was, decided to (ever so gracefully) turn the car around and visit it. I regretfully didn't remember the name of the waterfall, but I could probably point to it on a map if you asked.
I felt overwhelmed by the glory of this foreign land, the massive energy of our earth and the fact that I was tromping around Iceland by myself. What.
p.s. Yes, I am aware the picture of me is out of focus. That's what I get for asking someone to take a photo of me, I guess. C'est la vie.
The black sand beaches at Vik were everything I could've dreamed and more. When I caught my first glimpse of the night sky sand, I quite literally lost my breath. The stark white foam of the north Atlantic waves was a newness washing ashore like I had never seen. I was in awe. I took my time, breathed in the chilled wind as it whisked itself across my face, and knew that in that moment, I was the happiest I had ever been in my lifetime.
A quick little shoutout to my little buddy for the day. This Mazda 6 drove like a dream and handled the Icelandic winds like a champ. I felt safe and secure, plus my buns were nice and heated all 7 hours I spent in the car. Thanks, Thrifty guy, for upgrading me for free!
On my way back towards Reykjavik I stopped to see Sólheimajökull, a glacier tongue of the Mýrdalsjökull icecap. My first reaction upon seeing the glacier from afar was, "I must touch it." As I neared, however, I slowed my pace and the very real impact of global warming hit me like a brick wall (or an ice wall, if you will). This glacier was melting before my eyes. There were spots where I could've set my water bottle down and have it filled in a matter of minutes. You hear all the time about how the glaciers are melting, but it is not something I have ever been able to comprehend until I stood atop one, watching it melt before my eyes. The ice I was looking at will never be viewed by my children, for it won't exist in its frigid state much longer. This is our remaining drink water. This is big. This is an impact that cannot be reversed.
So, in the end, I did not touch the glacier. I decided that my mere eminence of body heat was enough of an impact as I wanted to have. I watched as others chipped away pieces of ice and put it in their mouths. They kicked ice patches and wiped bare hands over the glassy surface. I stood for a while longer and took it all in. I hiked back out to my car. I went on my way - forever changed at seeing the physical impact of our daily lives.
It was 8pm. My flight to Stockholm didn't board until 1am. Logically, I knew I should return my rental car and head back to the airport since night had fallen, but instead I used the last of my hours to visit the Blue Lagoon. I knew I didn't have time to take a dip, but how could I not catch a glimpse when I had come all this way? I didn't go into the bathhouse, but the steam and pools of dreamy turquoise water were simply captivating from afar.
Iceland, you changed my life. I promise I will be back.