As a Seattleite, I’m lucky to live in a remarkable place—one characterized by a striking relationship between the mountains and the sea, and by the consequences of volcanic and geothermal forces on the land. Iceland, where I’ve just spent a week on my way to Oslo, could be said to share those characteristics, but I found the island incomparable—and I only saw a fraction of it.
I rented a car, which became my castle, and (with the help of Scandinavia’s “allemannsretten,” or people’s right to public land, and the generosity of a few friends) I didn’t spend one króna on lodging. Much of my time was absorbed in driving Iceland’s stunning roads, many of which are rough gravel (car rental agencies offer various kinds of insurance extras to cover damage from gravel and other probabilities from driving in Iceland). I partook, gladly, of the gravel protection plan and added over 2000 gravelly, jaw-dropping kilometers to my car’s odometer.
Driving, in any case, was half the magic of my adventure. I get a little flabbergasted just remembering some of the roads I was on, Wile E. Coyote-style in some cases.
The first and larger part of my little adventure took me throughout the Westfjords. I looked at a map before I left, saw that hand-shaped, fjord-broken peninsula jutting out of the northwest corner (it seems I have a penchant for Northwests), and I said, “I have to go there.” So I did. And it was good. I can’t really describe it. So I won’t.
The journey finished with a wonderful day meeting up with Seattle friends Lily and Laurie. We took a drive along the south coast from Reykjavik to Vík and back, stopping to explore several waterfalls, including the majestic Skógafoss (google it for images), where trolls and huldufólk most certainly live, and convening with magical Icelandic horses.
There’s so much more I can hardly begin. I’ve painstakingly chosen a bunch of images from the hundreds I made, so enjoy these few, and imagine the rest! If you think your imagination has gone too far, it likely hasn’t. Best to let it go a little further . . .
Really, I didn’t want to leave Iceland. My only consolation was that I had to go to Norway.
I’m settling in nicely to my lovely apartment in Oslo. I can see Holmenkollen, the famous ski jump outside of Oslo, if I hang my head a bit over my balcony (!). It’s good to be here.