Iceland, Part I.
Iceland will get under your skin. We barely scratched the surface and we are already plotting our eventual return. Perhaps we'll start playing the lottery, strike it rich, and I'll fulfill my dreams of photographing the ice fields and riding chubby ponies with impossibly long eyelashes. Perhaps we won't have to survive on a slab of pumpernickel and corner store cheese, and I won't raid the candy tin at the hostel, because we're too frugal to blow a few thousand kronur on our own treats. I exaggerate somewhat.
Some might have preferred sunshine and blue skies, but in the two days we were in Iceland the sun barely cracked the cloud, and honestly, I couldn't have been happier. The Iceland of my imagining, if not snow-laden, had always been misty and overcast. (We've also just recently started working our way through Game of Thrones and come on, when has there ever been a sunny day in Winterfell?) The afternoon we arrived in Reykjavik, we pulled on our hiking boots and rain jackets, just in case there had been any doubt that we were tourists (the locals by the way, at least the ones who hang out in the downtown area, remain impossibly stylish in all weathers - lots of enviable knitwear, rugged complexions, tweed and carefully maintained facial hair), we stood near Harpa, looking out across the water and saw nothing but a wall of grey. It wasn't until the next day that we saw land, mountains actually, emerging from the fog. It was spectacular.
Being without a car for our stay, we signed up for a bus tour, one that would afford us the opportunity to get out and hike a bit. With a copy of 'Independent People' and two cameras stuffed in my bag, we piled on board and were shuttled through the most incredible landscape. Hills rising and falling, on our left and on our right, long stretches of nothing but bright green moss and black rock. "Here is where the tectonic plates meet. On your right, let's slow down, driver, you can see a chasm. The earth is still moving." Click click. Snap snap.
Gulfoss is one of the places at which we stopped for an hour or so, unfortunately not long enough to stray quite as far as I'd have liked, but long enough to feel like it was perhaps the most incredible thing I had ever seen. A string of superlatives. More pictures. To stand at its gaping maw, fast, brown water thundering past us, seemingly dropping back into the earth, birds diving from the clouds, was to feel alive.