Ian Kirk's Icelandic Photo Gallery

"I'm the best at what I do. But what I do isn't very sensible."

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In March this year ('99) I spent a long weekend in Iceland - this was my first time over there, and to be honest I had very little idea of what expect ahead of time! I have to admit I had a few suspicions - that it might be a little cold for a start (there's a clue in the name!), but I was assured that it wasn't actually that chilly over there, and is positively warm and very green in summer. That said I was over there in what was near enough winter, so it wasn't very surprising that I saw a bit of snow!

Reykjavik

This is, of course the capital of Iceland, and some 60% of its population live there or in the immediately surrounding towns. The first thing that strikes a Brit about Reykjavik (and subsequently Iceland generally) is the fact that almost all the buildings are made of (painted) corrugated iron or concrete/pebble dash; it's understandable given the weather conditions there and available materials, but looks decidedly different when you're not used to it. Of course, brickwork must look equally novel to Icelanders visiting the UK...

The Icelandic Countryside

I was kindly give a tour of some of the countryside around Reykjavik by Einar, Dua's brother, on one of the days I was there (and even more kindly, and vitally, her father lent me a lovely warm coat - I hadn't arrived kitted out for the Icelandic countryside in winter!).

Here are a few links to piccys of things out there - more detailed explanations to follow when I have time to do more work to this page...

The Icelandic Landscape Click on the adjacent picture for a few snaps of the Icelandic landscape itself. As I said in the intro, these are pictures of the landscape in Winter - so as you might expect for somewhere only just outside the Arctic Circle it is that little bit cold.
Consequently there are rather a few pictures of snowy landscapes, mountains, and if you really want a little white-out we got caught in on our travels.

First Church in Iceland This is the site of the first church built in Iceland, out in the countryside virtually in the middle of nowhere. In fact there is a little religious school just next to it, but as that's quite a recent construction and was only added because of the church anyway I think "middle of nowhere" still applies. And by the way, this isn't the first church - that was built in 1056, and a whole series of wooden buildings have been constructed on the site since then. They've generally burnt down, not always accidentally (Iceland hasn't escaped the various Christian schisms that have hit the rest of Europe through the centuries). This latest church is built of concrete and stone, rather than wood, and all things considered this was probably a very wise move...

Geysir

THE Geysir This isn't a geysir, this is the Geysir - the place after which all other geysirs world-wide were named. Click on the little piccy for a few full size shots and matching descriptions.

One thing you may be interested to know is just what happens if you find yourself under the collapsing plume of a geysir - given that the reason the geyser erupted in the first place is that superheated water was boiling at its base, you might expect it to be just that little bit warm...

Actually, and to some of our party's considerable relief (they found out the hard way!), the plume isn't even warm by the time it reaches you. When it's ejected the water's sprayed into a very fine mist (at least at Geysir - don't count on this to work everywhere), so falls very slowly and also looses it's heat quickly from the individual droplets. So you're safe as houses¹ - the worst that could happen would probably be finding yourself covered in ice when it's particularly cold in winter. :-)

¹ That said, Iceland is rather prone to earthquakes, so it's not a 100% sure thing that houses are safe...

Gullfoss

Gullfoss Gullfoss is, at its most basic, a waterfall in a fairly large ravine. But this minimalist description doesn't really begin to describe the view you get from the edge of that ravine. The combination of sun off the brilliant white snow, the exposed black volcanic rock and the crash of the blue/green water combine to give a truly dramatic scene.

In the depths of winter (I am told) the surface of Gullfoss can freeze over completely, and while water continues to pass over the falls beneath the ice you get an even more striking vista from the frozen patterns of flow.