I take a deep breath. I take many deep breaths during our stay in Iceland.
There are few places on Earth where nature takes such a grip over your body and soul as this place. It is undisguised beauty. Raw beauty. Tender beauty. Ugly beauty. Beautiful beauty. Everything is here. In one place. Everything on one island, untouched for thousands or even millions of years.
I wish our stay here had been longer. I feel that we have just touched the surface of the secrets of Earth. This is one place in Universe which tells us what Universe is about. One place which tells us what was here before man occupied this planet.
We see small ponds. Bluish water, coloured by minerals. We see small ponds with boiling water, heat provided by the inner of Earth. We see rivers with crystal clear water, water you can drink. We see volcanoes, lava fields and lava stones that tell us about more violent times on the island.
The mid-Atlantic Ridge goes through the island. This is the junction of the American and Eurasian tectonic plates, the place where America and Europe drifted apart. This drift is still going on, by about 3 mm per year. The scars from this divorce are visible in many places. Small deep rifts, often with crystal clear water, sometimes 20 meters deep or more. We see scuba divers going down into these rifts. Over the past number of years, five scuba divers have died exploring the secrets of the rifts.
Iceland, you still carry many secrets. Secrets of the past. Will we ever get to know them?
It is eight degrees outside. Cloudy. A bitterly cold wind. Slight rain. We decide to go swimming.
After 45 minutes, a ride through a moon landscape, we arrive at our target. The Blue Lagoon. The very blue lagoon. The water is coming up to the surface from the inner depths of the earth. The water gets bluish, milky bluish, from minerals it passes through on its travel up to the surface.
I walk outside in my swim trousers. Eight degrees. An ice cold wind. I almost turn around, back in to the warmth. I am freezing. But I push on towards the lagoon. At the first touch with the water, I almost pull my feet back. The water is hot. Too hot? Slowly I get into the water. My body adjusts to the heat. Around 38-40 degrees. One of Iceland’s hot springs. One of Iceland’s wonders.
We spend more than an hour in the lagoon. In the hot water. We don’t want to get out of the water. The water gives us protection from the cold Icelandic weather. Protection from the real world. Like a saga. But finally we have to get up. Out of the hot water. Into the cold. Into the real world.
The body feels surprisingly relaxed. I fall asleep in the car on the way back to Reykjavik. In the evening, we have dinner in the Old Harbour. 101 Harbor Restaurant. We have had very fresh seafood at every meal, lunch and dinner, so far in Iceland. So also tonight. Sea Perch and Blue Ling. Potatoes and salad. Wine and beer.
Iceland, we are starting to fall in love with you….
Many must have perished in the cold waters of the North Atlantic in their search for a better life. Some of them were lucky. They found this barren island. A flat landscape. Black volcanic soil. Black volcanic stones. More stones. Few trees. Snow covered mountain chains in the background. How could they survive here? I feel for them. They were my ancestors. They were the Vikings.
They found a sea full of fish. They found an infertile land. They found a lot of ice. They called the land “Island”. Iceland.
It is spring now. It is cold. Six degrees in the morning as we head north. We are well dressed but it is still cold. Icy winds. Winds doing their best to penetrate our clothing.
The road is good. We pass through moonlike landscape. We pass through lava fields, covered by greenish yellowish moss. We pass many horse farms. We reach Gullfoss, the most famous water fall on Iceland. The Golden waterfall. Glacial water, bluish, somewhat brownish, carries a lot of sediments that the water has carved out on its way. It is not one of earth’s biggest water falls but its beauty grips me. My eyes cannot stop starring at the falls. I breathe deeply. Harmony fills my soul. Suddenly, I come back to reality. Our driver’s voice is cutting through the air. We shall continue. I could have stayed here forever.
We are reaching the area of geysirs. There are small pools of boiling water. A smell of sulphur in the air. Under our feet, the earth is boiling. We are standing with our cameras ready. Waiting. One minute. More minutes. Then suddenly, a whoshing sound, eruption, water bursting 15 meters up into the air. Strokkur has erupted again. Some people stand too close, running away from the falling water.