The Cold & Beautiful – Iceland

Recently I have noticed a few travellers & photographers mentioning Iceland here and there. So I thought I would get my act together and start a long-term project I have hanging over my head… scanning. My early days in photography was all film based, and I have had little interest in actually digitizing my images. But on the flip side of that… I really wish I had them to easily access and work with! So I broke down and scanned 2 of my B&W sets of negatives from my adventures in Iceland.

Iceland, Steam, snow covered lava field
Steam over a snow-covered lava field at Sunset!

I chose to visit this amazing country in the early winter weeks, of 2005. Although by that time winter had long arrived in Iceland. I learned quickly that the warmest days were when it was snowing. Most of our week we had clear, colder than belief, windy days. I would add sunny to my list of adjectives, but being that we visited within 2 weeks of the shortest day of the year, we were lucky to have the three hours of sunlight a day we had!

Iceland, snow covered lava field
Snow covered lava field at Sunset!

I have officially decided the most beautiful thing I have seen to date is a snow-covered lava field at Sunset, which was enjoyed directly after lunch! Iceland is full of breath-taking views, although a lack of trees! Many years back now, the government decided to start a forest. Quiet a remarkable idea in such a cold place. They did their homework and asked other nations and experts what would be best to grow in the cold wintry volcanic climate and since has started what is called the “Friendship Forest”. For every important person or politician who visits the country, they get the honor of planting one of these trees.

Iceland

Iceland is by no means a cheap destination. It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere but the main city without scheduling a bus trip (at least during the winter) so be cautious and choose wisely if your on a tight budget, because these trips are the way to see this amazing country. The waterfalls, the green house (it’s more expensive to grown vegetables then import them!), the geysers, the lakes, the northern lights. Everything is worth seeing and you’ll never be shy of beautiful scenery to take your breath away.

Iceland, waterfall

My favorite restaurant was a French bistro maybe two blocks from the main square in Reykjavik, their French Onion Soup is one of the best I have ever had. If they are still around, they have this large glass fridge in the back filled with freshly baked pies and cakes. But best be there early (by 9) to get a seat, and order up your dessert without hesitation, because by about 1030, that fridge was cleaned out! I say 9 is  early, because one thing we learned while visiting Iceland is that people go out late. Bar’s and clubs don’t start getting busy until at least 1am. For a country who has a long history of prohibition and only legalized “strong”  beer in the late 80’s, they can party hard.

Iceland, art

One of my favorite parts of Iceland, were their hot dogs. I love hot dogs, and as odd as this might sound… it’s true: hot dog stands don’t open until around 1am. No I am not kidding, they aren’t day time food stands where people stop for lunch like in NYC or Philadelphia, they open up specifically for the late night adventures who are out and about. You can get everything from the bun-less dog to a chili-dog on flat bread. This is definitely worth staying up for, unless you’re not a hot dog fan I suppose.

Iceland Iceland

I would jump on the opportunity to return to this amazing country. I would love to see the 3 hours of darkness during the summer or visit at a time when the northern lights are shining slightly more colorful then a green hue. I truly loved my experience and hope that my travels and my budget both treat me well enough to return to this amazing cold & beautiful country.

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