Europe, lifestyle blog

I C E L A N D

For the first time ever, my father booked a family holiday just a few weeks ago. To Iceland, much to our surprise. As someone who doesn’t exactly thrive on ice, I was quite chuffed to be going during the summer. Little did I know, the puffins leave in early August! I was too late. However, I shared a tender moment with some lovely Icelandic horses.

I was feeling very distant from my friends, who are spread across the world. I’m not sure if it was specifically being in Iceland that spurred the feeling. Actually, it might be due to the fact that it was the first leisure trip I was taking without friends. Anyway, mum and I went to Ikea (to check if it was any different in Iceland: it’s not haha) and I bought some postcards that were a lil zany. When I returned to England, I printed some photos from my DSLR and slapped them on! Made them a bit personal now didn’t I? Yeah, I wrote 9 postcards on the trip. We were in Iceland for 6 days! I had a wealth of time with my parents.

I used the Google photo scanner app on my phone to “scan” them and here they are! Honestly, so surprised at how well it worked. I might have to do this personalized cut & paste postcard again.

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This one features a photo from a geyser we saw–it erupted every 10 to 15 minutes and was possibly the most satisfying geyser eruption I’ve ever seen. I think it went as high as 50 or 60 feet? Geothermal activity is fun.

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The above features a pretty waterfall that was dwarfed by stunningly green mountains surrounding it. Kirkjufellsfoss produced my favorite photos. It was on the westernmost peninsula and surrounded by water. There was also a small town nearby where I had an amazing hot chocolate. Considering it cost me about £5, I’m glad it was amazing.

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And here’s a pic of me not being able to keep my eyes open because the wind was too strong. I walked around and up to this waterfall a few times because it just felt like I was in Lord of the Rings. The richness of the volcanic soil truly showed. And I know nothing about flora. The photo on the right is the instagram-worthy Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. My family and I spent a little bit of time here, but it was really well-heated. While this must be great in winter, it’s really inconvenient in the summer when you’re trying to go in and out of stores etc. Obviously, all tourists in the city must go see the architecture. It looks like glass shards bursting from the ground, dragon scales, or a honeycomb depending on which angle you see it. Actually, there was quite a bit of construction surrounding the concert hall when we visited, which detracted from the good views and the aesthetics.

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And the photo above is from one of the THREE locations of the Reykjavik Art Museum. I took my parents to all three because the art community is strong and thriving in Iceland. This was from the first and furthest out. The gallery assistant was so kind & helpful & chatty. I’m not saying Iceland natives aren’t chatty, but I didn’t really meet anyone like her during our trip. The artists featured were interesting, local, and very well educated. They all studied from top European art institutions and had famous artist mentors–I was a bit astounded. But then again, they were also all white & European.

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Now, these photos were taken in Reykjavik. Not much to say except: aesthetically pleasing, cute, clean city with interesting street art like the above. Not just graffiti !

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The Hallgrimska Chapel — astounding even with the construction. I have never seen architecture like this — inside and out! I sketched inside because it was the first chapel I’ve been in that didn’t have that sort of suffocating air of religious pressure. As in, it was definitely a hallowed hall. But I actually felt peaceful & calm & curious. Usually when I enter chapels, I sort of feel watched & out of place & itchy to leave. Even when they’re gorgeous. It had to have been due to the modern design.

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Seljalandsfoss — gorgeous & we walked behind it! See the people?

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A long beach of beautifully black sand seen from a cliff (where puffins usually reside). It felt like something out of a period novel. Possibly a love story, but more likely a tragedy.

And here is a bit of the third art museum that’s in Reykjavik city center. There was an exhibit surrounded by gold streamers that reminded me of a cheesy high school prom night. And inside was a woman plucking just the e string repeatedly. It was so. good. All the installations were.

Just a few more pictures of the modern art and architecture. Just full of art, even in the least likely places! We saw funny rusted pieces atop hills and lava fields in the middle of nowhere. They made us smile through the (somewhat) long drives.

The aforementioned horses. I’m actually scared of horses. They are possibly the only animal I’m afraid of. But these horses were friendly and small and really sweet. We actually fed them apples because we had some on hand. They were surrounded by barbed wire, so we couldn’t get TOO close, but they had soft snouts and expressive faces. Truly a highlight of the vacation.

We touched a glacier! I was scared (again) because we ventured into the area you’re not supposed to go without a tour guide. Yet, I live to tell the tale. Mum kept making comments about how she could see herself living next to the ocean there. The whole country is run on renewable energy, the wages are fair (that’s why prices are extraordinarily high), design is valued and prioritized, and the natural beauty is unlike anywhere else in the world.

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I just want to end on a sort of contemplative note: whenever you travel, you kind of imagine your life in that place. Would you enjoy the food? Could you make friends? What work would you do? Does it fit with your lifestyle choices? I think those of us who find sitting still and settling down in one place forever boring do ask these questions. And the answer is usually “YES, I’LL FIGURE IT OUT” if the place calls strongly enough. I’m not crossing it off my list. On the plane back to London, I had a strong feeling I’d be back. Possibly multiple times.

Hope you have enjoyed this slice of the end of summer.

Love,

Young Lion

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