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Published: March 14th 2020
Traffic is amassing already, hiking boots doned, backpacks loaded with provisions. The day begins. All roads lead to adventure, Terra incognito awaits. Driving down the South coasts single laned Highway. It reveals a different side to the country. One of lifestyle, of a working people living of the land that tried once to deject them, now communally they thrive, working with nature. Sheep farms line the sides of the road. Icelandic horses barely tamed roam the pastures of this wild country. The sub Tundra foliage now gives way to grasses. Sheep line the sides of cliffs human adventures should be proud to gain a purchase on. We make our way amongst these farms towards Vik. A seaside town, which reveals itself to be the hub for day trips further afield to the east and north country. Our limited time just not allowing us the luxury to enter that unknown landscape, no matter how tempting. We make our way to Vik first, working our way back to the locations we past upon the way. As we find it less populated at places if we drive to our furthest point, and work our way back to basecamp. First stop head to the edge
of the ocean, and the black sand beaches. The ocean always calls to me. The black sand clings to our footwear, as the waves crash upon the shore. The waves crashing, in a futile attempt of the destruction of the shore. With impotent rage it carries on its attempt ceaselessly. The birds like raiders of the air sail about waiting for prey to surface. The cliffs raise up behind us as a church perches high in the valley over looking the eternal conflict of sea and sand. Pictures taken, memories forged we head for lunch. . Stopping for lunch, and savoring Iceland's food culture was something I was not sure about. I do not enjoy much seafood, but I found many other things to enjoy. My wife and I share the best beef burger I have ever had. My response to the question “How is it?” Was “If I only had this to eat for the rest of my life , I would be a happy man.” My senses awaken from the surroundings, they seep into every facet of our experience. Food and libations, no exception. The local beer Gull is offered, and every sip speaks to the boldness and
honesty of our Icelandic experience. The view from lunch is that of birds nesting in cliffs high above our Terra bound experience. We saddle up our diesel powered stead, and depart from Vik. Our next stop Reynisfjara. A place where basalt pillars fortify the island from the ocean. Hálsanefshellir a basalt cave stands guard over the intrepid explorers that accompany us in our Wonder-lust fueled journey. The sound from the cave entices us on wards, our curiosity peaks. What lays around the corner? We follow the foot prints in the sand on our way to our destination. The cave is shallow, but looks like it was carved my the hands of a giant. Defined striations mark the walls, like an inhumanly sized chisel made them. The foam frothed waves churn up from the ocean chasing people across the shore line. This area is known for tourist deaths from Rouge waves sweeping up the beach and dragging people in to the sea, so we keep a safe distance. Iceland is to be respected, an underestimation is not a mistake one should make from a place that has reported deaths, and we feel safe enough. Back at the car we head for
our next stop.
We arrive at the bird cliffs of Dyrhólaey. Perched overlooking the ocean, the birds have headed to warmer climes for the winter. Not more than two weeks ago puffins were spotted there, and we had hoped to catch any stragglers still enjoying the cool breeze, but we are not lucky today. In the spring and summer, it is an Avery conservation area, no tourists are allowed while they hatch their young. I stand with the mist from the waves caressing my face, and imagine. I imagine Puffins lining the cliff-side, a chaotic tribe of winged beauty. Life is created upon those cliffs, as chicks are brought into this world. Now it awaits the migration to return, it's cliffs empty, but not forgotten. We meander back to the car, onward to adventure. Sometime later we arrive at Skogafoss, magnificent and noble waterfall. The mist hangs lingering in the air, falling in layers upon us and our fellow compatriots. Our waterproof coats shielding us from what dampness the mist brings. Droplets of water cover everything, adorning our faces like crystals hanging from all prominent features. We can't help but laugh at our helplessness in the deluge.
The violence as the water crashes against the ground creates the most beautiful and delicate rainbows, that soar through the air. They hang in the air, and dance as the light shines hither and thither. Drenched our waterfall baptism is complete. We have been washed clean in the waters of Iceland. Each waterfall we visited both Skogafoss and Seljalandfoss, beautiful for different reasons. No two things are the same in Iceland, they are unique without trying. As we return from our grand tour today we arrive bleary eyed at the summer house. We end the day with overcast Skies, but our hearts filled with light. We are fed and watered, we fill up the hot pot. The Icelandic equivalent of a hot tub. I run the hot water to fill it up. Stream drifts from the water's surface, my North American mind wondering when the hot water tank will run out of hot water. Then my mind grasps the concept that this water is geothermally heated, The bounty spilling forth from the bosom of the earth. Wonder-filled we submerge ourselves under the blanketed sky. Our conversations run parallel with our wonder, expanding terminally, and joyously. The country grows from the
separation of continents pulling apart, it strangely galvanizes bonds and connections. It creates an appreciation of shared moments, and brings about a realization. That contrast is really the forge of beauty and love.
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