Arriving in Iceland: A Photo Essay

February 25, 2012 in blog, Europe, Iceland, Travelogue

Iceland is a land of dichotomies:

fire and ice, black and white, colourful and stark, heart warming and bone chilling. After only a day I can tell that a lifetime could be spent on just this one island and still all of the riddles would not be solved.

We arrived in the pre-dawn darkness of a nordic winter morning on what was one of the roughest flights of our lives. We peered through the window hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights before we dipped below the thick layer of clouds to the lonely outpost at the edge of the Norwegian Sea that is Iceland. There was nothing but inky black.

Sitting beneath the watchful eye of a shivering lighthouse on the point past Gardur dawn broke, arctic white, across the horizon of the North Atlantic. Puffins floated like ghosts on the waves rushing the black rock beach and the stench of fish hung heavy between crashes and gull cries. So began our first day in Iceland.

It’s late now, and I’m jet lagged. This was my second red-eye flight this week with a bout of illness in between, so rather than try to put inadequate words to an other-worldly day, I’ll let the pictures tell the tale:

Lighthouse on the point past Gardur

An ever widening gap between the North American plate and the Eurasian plate. They are separating at a rate of 2 cm per year.

We literally walked across a bridge between continents.

Not something we see every day!

We visited a geo-thermal power plant. They're harvesting power from the water heated by the volcanic activity on the island.

Map of the facility

Pulling power from the earth.

Yes, the ground is steaming.

I love the contrast of colours here.

Hot earth

Near a hot spring we drove to.

Water boiling out of the ground.

Snow on lava rock

The Blue Lagoon

Geothermally heated hot springs... salt mineral water.


Silica mud, it made our skin feel rubbery, like a dolphin's or whale's!

Dried fish... we tried it... not bad... along with the smoked salmon... meh... and the rotted shark... BARF. We kindly declined the ram's testicles.

Snack time!

Yep. Back in Europe. Pay toilets... the same kind the kids always worried about getting locked in forever.


Reykjavik strikes me as a town coloured in by cheerful children with a box of old oil pastels… it’s completely charming and lovely surprises are around every corner.


A fountain

Window shopping


A viking kiss

Lighting a candle in the church... I always light a candle for someone.

Quite a pipe organ

The statue is of Leif Ericsson, Viking Explorer. The Cathedral behind is build to resemble the basalt pillars of Iceland. Personally, I think it looks like the church Lex Luther would build... but maybe we've been watching too much Superman with the kids. 🙂

The best piece of graffiti we've seen in a long time. 😉