Iceland: Take I (South and West Iceland)

 29. 06. 14  -  03. 07. 14

Day 1

A late afternoon/early evening flight was to take us from Edinburgh to Keflavik airport (which is Reykjavik's main airport).
After slathering on a ridiculously sized dollop of every expensive tester of beauty cream, gel and mousse in duty-free, and a good ol' suffocating over-spray of perfume(s) (I will list them later if you are interested) - I boarded the flight quite content.
Keflavik airport is really quite beautiful. Lots of wood and surprisingly large for such a small country.
Some car-rental kerfuffle and helping French tourists with their photos, and then we were off to Reykjavik.

The first thing I noticed was the stunningly barren landscape. It was so bleak and almost lunar-esque. The roads were lined with beautiful purple flowers (which my mum informed me were called Lupin...? Please somebody correct me if that's wrong) and the sky was so bright and grey - it made taking photographs quite tricky.

Our first stop was Hotel Cabin, just outside the centre of Reykjavik - where we bundled in with our luggage, had a quick cup of tea, watched some football in the foyer (Costa Rica vs. Greece) and then off to bed.

I had forgotten that it almost never gets dark in Iceland in the summer - but a pair of black-out curtains were our saviour.

Day 2

This was going to be a long day.

We were headed to Vik, a tiny 'town' (it barely counted as a village) in the South of Iceland, but on the way there, we were to take the scenic route around the 'Golden Circle'.

Breakfast resembled an old peoples' home slightly - because most of the tourists in Iceland seemed to be of a slightly older generation. But it was quiet and nice. Lots of Germans and Danes.

First destination:  National Park, which is a rift valley between two tectonic plates and also where the old, old, super old Icelandic Parliament used to be.

Also various bus-loads of asian tourists in brightly coloured jackets and umbrellas.

Many valiant attempts at keeping the rain off their cameras were to be seen, but I soon gave up in a quick dash back to the car.

Next stop: Geyser.

The visitor centre/cafe/tourist shop was pretty cool.

These are the famous Icelandic jumpers. Mostly they are hand-knitted and everything - but also quite expensive. Probably worth it, but not in my budget at the moment...

Then the Geyser itself.

Final stop before Vik: Gulfoss Waterfall.
By this point it was raining seriously heavily and I just saw the top because it was raining so so much, but I got to have a good look around the tourist shop. There were cute little jars of  'Icelandic things' -like lava rock or Icelandic coins or Volcanic ash...
Also a very cool brand of cosy socks called Varma.
However, there was also 'lava jewellery' - which I was not entirely convinced by.

When we reached Vik, in the south, we headed straight for Hotel Dyrholaey.

The hotel is lovely and comfy and very secluded. It felt like a little wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere, which, in a way, I suppose it was.
Our room had one of those epic rain showers, but I noticed a bit of a pattern of the hotels in Iceland folding the bedsheets weirdly. Or maybe that's just a hotel thing in general.

My dad and I had the 'special' for dinner which was a starter of raw trout and lemon (it sounds weird but it was good), then lamb with a reeeealllly good blueberry sauce (and the potatoes and sortof sour pink onion thingys that came with it were sooooo good) and then Panna Cotta for dessert.

Coffee and tea and a little read of my book, then sleep.

Observations so far:

Lots of Low Cloud
Icelanders seem to be pretty good / curteous drivers but also quite serious in personality
(from what I have seen so far)

Day 3

Breakfast here was a little more diverse than the previous hotel, and I had muesli with flaxseeds. They had this weird sortof mushroom butter though, which I steered clear of.

We went to fill up with fuel in a very moody Vik, this morning.

We went for a little walk along the black sand beach (it is essentially just volcanic ash) and once we got back in the car, my sister declared that because of her white trainers her "feet look like Oreos!".

And here's a picture my sister took of me on the beach:

My parents and my sister did some bird watching while I snoozed in the car (I was shattered), and then we headed along perhaps the most pot-holed road EVER to Solheimjokull Glacier.

The ash was dusted over the ice like sinister icing sugar and as you got closer to the glacier you could hear it crackling as it slowly moved ever so slightly, and drips as the glacier receded into its' summer version of itself.


I liked how odd little determined weirdo mosses grew in such a inhospitable barren landscape...

We had a hot chocolate and discussed making a sortof family photobook of all our favourite photos (all four of us were going snap-happy).

The Eyjafjallajokull Volcano Visitor Centre.

This book was in the visitor centre shop - and I'm sorry that it is such a bad quality picture - but it was very dark inside. I loved the photographs of empty/disused farm houses, shot in black and white.
I wanted to find the website / remember the name of the book, so took a picture.
The book can be found here.

A stop at Skogafoss Waterfall allowed me time for musings about everything so far.

I wrote the following in my travel journal:

"People consume or 'get' what they want to get out of a holiday. It is an experience partially or almost fully structured by a preconception which is then fulfilled by 'seeing' or 'not seeing' / observing the experience as they wish to see it. That is to say, if one looks for something, they will often find it - and can often ignore what they do not wish to see. It is particularly interesting with tourist photography - they way in which there are places or things to be looked at / photographed - which are directed into a narrative that is perhaps created in part by the tourist and in part by the tourism company/ country's desire to fulfill the expectations of the tourist. To present what the tourist came to see, and to direct the tourist to it and how to 'consume' it. Maybe this is part of a safety framework where it makes the tourist feel more comfortable due to a blatant (and often inaccurate/ generalised) boxing of 'the other', and what 'the other' does, where 'the other' lives, and how they live. This is perhaps easier to 'consume' as an experience or to understand than the over-whelming different-ness and alien nature of the surroundings. We interpret these new surroundings in a way which makes sense to us - we use our own experience as a marker by which we can compare this 'other-ness'. But in doing so we can misunderstand or construct a reality of that place/country which is not necessarily accurate - and thus sustaining the sterotypes/ideas that the tourist came to the place with in the first place. Therefore sustaining the (perhaps false) preconceptions. (This idea also taps into a colonialist superiority of culture / belittlement of 'the other'.)"

Then dinner at a sortof fish and chips place in Vik.

And that night there was a storm.


Heart It


Post a Comment


Follow by Email: