The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Tag Barren beauty

Road 54, 3:19 pm

All morning we drove through relatively tame terrain, rolling hills of green pastures and fields, the mountains in the background less steep than normal, without snow on the tops and even some swatches of green climbing the slopes. Since around noon, the surrounding landscape has gotten increasingly wild, the pastures giving way to yellowish moss, a few crags and small waterfalls here and there. Then the crags started increasing in number, sprouting large cliffs of stones-like pillars on both sides and the ground becoming covered in brown shrubs with shifting green leaves. We finally started climbing along the edge of … Read the rest

Myvatn nature bath, 3:58 pm

The sky is clear with a few tufts of cloud, the air smells of sulfur but there is a cool breeze blowing. All around is the dramatic Icelandic landscape, barren mountains and all. The water II’m sitting in has a strange color, a kind of milky blue that is almost luminescent. The water is comfortably warm and relaxes the body. Sitting here soaking in a hot spring, looking out over the landscape is just perfect.

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Fjords and gravel roads

Today has been a day of driving, but in Iceland that’s not necessarilya bad thing. Going along the countryside roads and seeing this fantastic landscape in all its glory from the comfort of the car is great. We really only stopped a few times to stretch our legs and snap a few shots of the spectacular view.

We took the coastal road, zigzaging as it follows the line of the fjords. The mountains tumble into the sea and the road hugging the edge all the way. It seems people universally find mountains and water to be beautiful and with such … Read the rest

Road number 1 north of Höfn, 12:20 pm

The surrounding landscape is littered with crags and cliffs, tendrils of the mountain creeping out onto the plane. The road winds it’s way through a maze of rock, around tight turns, up steep hills, down sweeping slopes and through narrow passages, high cliffs on both sides. It’s a real rollercoaster ride through the stunning landscape.… Read the rest

Coastal road, east Iceland, 1:45 pm

We have just come off the gravel road at the bottom of a fjord and are speeding outwards toward the tip of the peninsula when I have a moment to relax and look out the window. On our left, moss covered rock formations rolling down from snowcapped peaks in a gentle slope, continuing on the other side of road, down to the clear blue ocean and on the other side of the fjord, darker mountains rise steeply to flat tops scattered with snow. It’s supremely beautiful.… Read the rest

Coastal road, remote fjord, 3:40 pm

We’re on a gravel road, the car vibrates and bounces on the uneven surface, small rocks ping off the underside of the body at a steady rate and we stir up a big cloud of dust behind us. To the left of us the mountains, barren cliffs coming down in terraces towards the sea, the narrow road clinging on to the edge above the blue water and me fighting against the loose gravel to keep the car from careening off the edge. I look out over the fjord to the mountains rising sharply on the other side, and realize how … Read the rest

Svinafellsjökull 2:10 pm

The rhythmic crunch of spike-soled boots on ice, the air is cool and crisp but my body is hot from exertion. Spread out in front of me is jumbled field of snow and ice, crisscrossed by crevices and gullies, sprinkled with volcanic ash and dotted here and there with puddles of absolutely clear water where the blue core of the ice shows through. Even if you’ve grown up with snow and ice, this is quite an experience.… Read the rest

Road no 1, afternoon

The black sand eventually gives way to some sparse yellow grass spreading out over the fields, the snowy mountains looming closer, masses of ice blocks from the glacier spilling out onto the grass. The road curves away from the mountains, running through fields of greenish yellow, the glaciers tumbling down in the distance. The road curves back and the mountains grow higher but less steep, slopes of sand running down towards the sea. The grass grows higher and the mountains become darker again and more rocky, tendrils of broken black cliffs crawling out on the plane, the road snaking between … Read the rest

Road number 1, noon

The landscape is ever changing as we go along, from brooding cliffs just off to the right as we set off, passing by green pastures dotted with grazing sheep, driving through moon landscapes strewn with dark boulders covered in sickly yellow grass. Out again onto open fields where green shrubs mix with the barren soil and dead grass, off in the distance, fields and lonely farm houses hugging the base of steeply rising mountains, topped with ragged black cliffs; little ponds and lakes on both sides all along the way. We finally cross a river on a narrow bridge and … Read the rest

Main road near Vik, 10:15 am

This car has far more problems than I care to list, the gear lever has to be manhandled into position with force and precision, if I let go of the wheel, the car skews off to the right, the windscreen wipers work none too well, and only the driver side speakers function. In short, it really is just as sad a car as the rental company’s name suggests, but it’s getting us where we want to go, zooming along, with verdant fields on the right and stupendous cliffs looming up on the left so close you could almost reach out … Read the rest

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