Tag Archives: travel

Your Choice in Walk-Behind Waterfalls

You can walk behind Seljalandsfoss.

Wear a coat. Just a hint.

A million people come here every year. Bit of a muddy path. Very pretty, though. 
Tour busses everywhere. Wait your turn.

Or you can sneak off to the Kistá, on Snæfellsnes, which has trolls. Real trolls. You can see a big one lurking in front of the fall below. Sorry, not on the must-see-waterfalls of Iceland lists. But it’s just off the road. You can sniff it out on the edge of the Berserker Lava Field. 

Bit of a brown place in November, but it greens up real nice in the summer. Oh, and there’s a second troll leaning over the cataract, so a bonus!

Nice. If you were four metres tall you could reach high tup from your waterfall lair and scratch her under the chin, even! Oh, yeah, one more thing. Bit of a muddy path. You can approach the falls from both sides, but only on the north side can you get underneath. Sorry, no crowds.

Cheap Eats in Iceland

The snow’s falling, the budget is tight, you’re sitting in your rental car trying to defrost two hours from a cafe, and it’s lunch time. What to do? May I suggest …

Icelandic flatbread, a Danish twisted donut, herring-beet-apple salad, skyr (fresh-cheese-yoghurt with zero fat and 17g of protein — I like pear or blueberry the best, but there are a lot of other flavours, too), and the one you love. Cost? About a third of a cup of tea and 10% of a bowl of soup in Reykjavik. At this rate, you might be able to afford dinner! And by the time you’re done, you might be able to see out!

Darkness in Iceland Signifies Warmth and Shelter

You want to stick close to it. What you want to avoid is water and ice.

Southeast

Let the sheep risk that stuff. Such is the knowledge of a people whose origins are in “settlement” and not colonization — a people for whom “land” is a “landing”, a being lifted out of the sea. You don’t forget a thing like that. The darned thing keeps coming back.

North

The Wrong Place in Iceland and You

Dyrholáey is a wonderful bird sanctuary, and you can drive up the cliff on something approximating a road and look out over the sea from the lighthouse stoop. Wondrous. But when it’s your first visit to Iceland, and you don’t know any better, you can also stop in the wrong place, with Italians and Germans dodging around you in their rented Yaris’s, and take an image of the lighthouse from the edge of the bird fields (there really is nowhere to stop, and walking on the grass and disturbing the birds is strictly forbidden), and see the Island (that is an island no more) plowing out to sea.

Being in the wrong place is best. You can find the unexpected end of the trail.

Or be plodding cold through the dawn fields, blowing on your fingers, dreaming of coffee, when suddenly it’s 20,000 years ago and you know, you just know, you can read the Earth like a book.

You can take a picture of a shop window that strikes you as incongruous, and years later realize that it’s not. It’s Iceland at heart. This is what comes of 1100 years of Irish women freezing in the cold.

Interchangeable, insulated tattoos. You just never know. That’s the thing. You walk down the street, and there it is: the Tower of Mordor!!!! With the nuclear clock at two minutes to midnight!!!

You can go to Kjarvalstaðir, the Art Gallery, to see Kjarval’s works…

… and realize that everyone else comes for the lunch! You can find a trail on the internet, then try to follow it through the, well, bog, but you get to know the mountain.

You just never know. Do it all wrong, I say, to do it right.

 

April Light on the Lagarfljót

Ice contains wisdom, of the year behind and the opening wisdom of the year to come. You can see it in the perennial sunrise and sunset colours of winter, but. April brings brighter tones, while snow storms still take the rest of the world away. It’s breathtaking. Bring your camera. Go East in April.

Leave the crowded south and its tourbusses. The great secret of Iceland is that it’s everywhere on the whole island. You don’t have to go to the crowded places. You will find there a sense of honouring and ritual. Out in the simple places, where no one else goes, you will find your self.

When you live on the beach, well, that’s nice.

But if you have a church on the beach, you build a wall. That’s nice, too.

A bit dark, though.  So it is. But not half so dark as the church!

Kind of a repetition of the motif of the cliff, really, but, heck, in this place, even the sea is a cliff wall.

Skriðnafell

The land has its way with us.