Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Iceland is a small island country in the northern part of the North Atlantic Ocean, in between Greenland on the left and Norway on the right. It is a land of clean air with a vastness of tundras, waterfalls, mountains and ice glaciers, geysers and hot springs. It has a population of about 350,000.00. Icelandic people are friendly, courteous and very helpful. A great benefit was that most Icelanders we met spoke English.
I arrived around 8:00am at Reykjavik airport. I didn’t think it was very cold except for when the wind blew. The icy wind made it feel like freeeeeeezzzzing cold.
Babak recommended taking a flybus from the airport as they are an inexpensive way of transportation. The flybuses run on a regular schedule and stop in front or very close to hotels in Reykjavik. The scenery en route was mostly barren landscape with very few trees, the ground cover reminded me of the tundras in the very high, snowy mountains. I did not see or hear any birds until we got close to the first suburb of Reykjavik.
Babak had organized our days very well. We toured by bus throughout part of the East, Southeast and the West of Iceland. We were Blessed with the safest Icelandic Bus driver Kristjan, an excellent driver used to rainy and slippery icy roads. One of the kindest and most thoughtful man I met over there. Nothing was too much for him, always a smile. We also had fantastic Icelandic guides who not only spoke perfect English but also knew of all Iceland’s historic places and all about its historic past. You can’t get it any better than that.
We stopped off at the most scenic and breathtaking landscapes, waterfalls and ice lagoons for photos shoots. At night, we prepared for chasing Aurora Borealis. It was such a great learning experience while simultaneously enjoying nature’s pristine beauty.
The first day, we spend in Reykjavik and visited an amazing modern architectural glass structure “the Concert and Conference Center” and the Hallgrímskirkja which represents the architectural structure of the Reynisfjara basalt columns. We visited the magnificent Svartifoss and Kvernufoss waterfalls and at nightfall, we spend time at Skogarfoss, an area close to Vik where I got to unintentionally photograph my first “Milky Way”. Yeaaahhh
On day three, we visited Svinafellsjokull glacier and according to Babak, “is part of Vatnajokull glacier and crawls from the highest peak in Iceland, Hvannadakshnjukur”. Then came night….Compared to our first two nights, Aurora Borealis seemed a mere glimmer those nights. This night, we were Blessed with our first major, exquisite color dance in the skies.
Aurora Borealis came out early. I saw her move from across the water. I saw her faint shadow hidden in darkness moving towards the right yet, I knew it was her. One can’t see Aurora with the naked eye except when the strength of light becomes more intense or when the eye becomes used to detecting auroras.
She reminded me of the graceful Swan in Swan Lake. She danced with such graceful moves yet radiating powerful and vibrant colors of emerald green and streaks of majestic purple and reds. She stopped me in my tracks, she took my breath away, so beautiful!!! I didn’t know where to focus, there was so much beauty to photograph…I got too excited and greedy…I want to capture it all…
That night, God gifted me a beautiful gift. With the help from Babak, I was able to video tape an excellent 10 second clip of this night. So astounding and grateful. This was everything I had hoped for and more. I thought such night would not come again while we were here unless… by the Grace of God.
I am in the midst of uploading some of the video clips of Iceland and other travels on You Tube. I will put a notice on the web and link when it is ready for viewing.
In Part 3 I will write about our stay on the East side where we had the best meals, the best hotel stays and the best of Aurora Borealis of our entire stay.