Tag Archives: Iceland

Autumn’s Beauty on the Black Sand Beaches of Iceland

Dave and I spent part of a morning walking the Black Sand Beach near Vik in Iceland.  

The waves on the ocean were huge, like giant icy mountains.  The angry waves made it easy to understand why there are monuments at different places along the beach that honor sailors who have died on the shores of Iceland, like this one where Dave is sitting. The wind was crazy and it took away a lens cover that this photographer was using.  Dave went running after the lens cap chasing it for a long way up the beach. The giant waves left trails of foam along the shore that painted a kind of artwork in the black sand. 
Some of the foam caught on stones and the sunlight made the bubbles in the foam look like jewels.

I thought this bit of foam caught on a rock looked a bit like the outline of Iceland. We are here  in what they call ‘shoulder season’ right at the very end of the best weather in Iceland.  But there is a haunting beauty to grassesand fungi that show their color in fall.

The waves on the Black Sand Beach had also washed this lone feather up onto a rock. 

On the black sand beach are these three basalt columns called the Reynisdrangar. Legend says the rocks are really three trolls caught out too late at night and frozen by the early morning sunlight. Iceland is a place of spectacular beauty in the fall and the Black Sand Beach shows off that beauty at its best. 

Other posts……..

Beauty on the Beach

The Blueberries Slowed Him Down

Autumn Dreams Are in the Air

 

 

 

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Stykkishólmur- Sleeping Under the Eaves

We spent a night in the fishing community of Stykkishólmur in Iceland. This was our cute and cozy house. Dave and I had to climb a ladder up to the loft to sleep.  The ceiling was so low we could barely stand up there. Each of us had a single mattress tucked under the eaves.The main living area had this old table and chest with benches that looked like they had come from an ancient church. We went for a hike after we arrived.  Dave has learned to use the panorama effect on my phone now …….so he has been experimenting with his new technique. Stykkishólmur had been a fishing harbour since the Middle Ages. and you can see old things in the town like this abandoned boat and……new things like this beautiful modern church which is also used for musical concerts because of its great acoustics. Information panels on our walk provided us with insight into the history of Stykkishólmur and explained that this interesting rock wall was columnar basalt. We hiked up to the Stykkishólmur lighthouseand stopped to admire this steel sailboat sculpture near the harbor. 

Stykkishólmur reminded me of some of the fishing communities we visited in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. 

Other posts…….

The Fishing Village That Changed The World

Stitching a Story

The Rooms

Other posts about Iceland

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Into the Volcano

We rented a home near Selfoss in Iceland.  When the owners were showing us around the place they pointed out this poster that explained what we should do if………Hekla the nearby volcano should begin to erupt. Hekla is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. It last erupted in 2000. On a rainy day we decided to visit the LAVA museum in nearby Hvolsvöllur to learn more about volcanoes. After watching a movie that showed the most recent eruptions of Icelandic volcanoes we walked down this eerie hallway……..that had panels of information about each of the most active volcanoes in the country. As you go through the museum they try to recreate volcanic effects by having the floor move and divide beneath your feet and having you find your way through a corridor of dense steam.By turning the wheel on this map of Iceland we could see how the various volcanoes had developed and changed. Iceland has some thirty active volcano systems, thirteen of which have erupted since humans settled on the island. In this room interactive screens helped us learn about different kinds of volcanic eruptions and their effects. In one area you could look up and down at this gigantic recreation of the mantle plume beneath Iceland’s crust. Here screens that surround you recreate the visual effect of a volcanic eruption.  Dave is looking at information about the Hekla volcano nearest the house where we were staying. In medieval times people called the Hekla volcano The Gates of Hell. 

Most interesting to me were recorded interviews you could watch of people who live in communities near volcanoes and how that impacts their lives.  One woman talked about how they teach children about volcanoes  in a way that will keep them safe and informed but not scare them too much.   “What we try to emphasize to the children,” said the woman, “is that when there have been volcanic eruptions in Iceland people came together and helped each other and took care of each other and rebuilt together. And we reassure them that will happen again if there is another volcanic eruption.” 

Other posts……..

Visiting a Volcano in Hawaii

Hanging Around Hilo

A House With a View and Much More

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House With A View and So Much More

We stayed in this unique and lovely home near Selfoss in Iceland.   Spacious and sleekly designed it looked out over the surrounding countryside.  Windows instead of walls encompassed the main living space and offered a stunning view of the fall colors on the hillsides and in the ravines all round. There was a river running behind the houseand you only needed to hike a short way to get a spectacular view of Mount Hekla, an active volcano.  Designed and built by seventy-five year old couple Greta and Pall, the home sat on a huge tract of land purchased by retired Icelandic pilots, each of whom had built a home in the area that featured a grass runway and an airplane hanger. Pall’s hobby is binding books and he had some of his volumes on display on one side of the fireplace. Greta has an affection for antiques and had arranged her unique finds throughout the house. We went hiking in the gorgeous fall colors that abound in this part of Iceland. I took over this delightful corner nook for writing and made progress on a manuscript which is due in November. If I was ever lucky enough to snag a writing grant I’d rent this house in Iceland in a heartbeat.  Isolated,  but with all the amenities, including great wifi, it would be the perfect place to write. We knew we wouldn’t be near a grocery store so we stocked up before coming here and prepared our meals in the sleek and modern kitchen. 

We spotted these rock ptarmigans on the yard.  They are a protected species in Iceland.  This one is just changing from its summer brown to its winter white. There was a great view from the backyard patio where we barbequed and waited in vain to see the Northern Lights. 
The beauty of the place was a balm for the soul and spirit. 

Other posts……….

A Rainbow in My Mouth

Hiking Up To The Church in Vik 

Seeing a Glacier Up Close

 

 

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A Rainbow in My Mouth

Sometimes in order to get my husband to take photos of me like this I have to keep him happy by staging silly pictures, like this one he insisted I pose for at Skógafoss one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.In return however he took some lovely photos of my sister Kaaren and me at the falls. The Skógafoss has its source in the glacier I wrote about in my last post. Skógafoss is sixty meters high.The spray from the waterfall which mists around you as you hike closer consistently produces a rainbow near the base of the falls on sunny days.  There is a legend that a treasure was hidden in a cave behind the falls. No one has yet been able to find or retrieve it. Although Dave isn’t always eager to take photos of me he had no trouble agreeing to snap a picture of these two lovely young ladies from Germany. 

Skógafoss has been used as a backdrop for movies, television programs and music videos and countless posters with inspirational sayings. 

I saw a young blind man with a white cane being led to the falls holding on to the hand of a woman about his age.  It made me close my eyes for a minute and listen to the falls.  It was a good reminder that nature’s beauty can be enjoyed with more than just your sense of sight.

Other posts………

Visiting A Glacier in Iceland 

Hiking Up to the Church in Vik Iceland

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The View From the Church in Vik Iceland

Sunday morning we hiked up to a Lutheran Church just behind the little cottage where we are staying in Vik on the southern tip of Iceland. 

Our cottage named Eingigarour

The church yard afforded us a view of the angry Atlantic Ocean and this farmyard with a horse pasture. 

Rain had been predicted for the whole day but it held off for our hike. Although things might have looked brighter in the sunlight, the mist and darker sky gave a beauty all its own to the morning.  The rain during the night had drenched the tiny flowers and polished the fall leaves. We hiked up the trail behind the church to the graveyard.I love to visit graveyards because you can learn so much about local history from them.In Iceland only first names are commonly used.  Your last name is your father’s name and if you are a boy you add ‘son’ on the end.  So Gisli born in 1886 was the son of Svein according to this tombstone.  And Sigridur born in 1920 was the daughter of Gisla. This moss covered wall ran along one side of the graveyard.From the graveyard hill we could look out over the village of Vik, the church and the ocean. This tiny fern was poking out from under one of the pathway steps. Every church we have seen so far in Iceland is built in an almost identical way to this one with white siding and a red roof. 

Other posts………

A Tiny Church

Church of the Holy Cross

Faith That Frees

 

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