I took this photo while I was sprinting between venues at Iceland Airwaves in 2014, from KEX Hostel to Slippbarinn, and an inebriated sprint at that. Following the coastal boardwalk takes you on a direct line from KEX to the Marina Hotel, and even though my mind was focused on getting to the venue in time to see Low Roar, I’m so thankful to have kept my gaze wandering to the ocean as often as was safely possible. For the view of Mount Esja from the shores of Reykjavik is one view I could never tire of.
““I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
You forget sometimes when you spend your life travelling and planning future adventures that sometimes the best adventures are only a five hour car ride away.
Continuing from Part 1 of my recommended itinerary for London, here’s what you should plan on doing for the second half of your trip.
I was 17, and it was my first time out of North America – a “cultural” trip to France and Spain with my French teacher and a group of 16 students. We spent a week in France followed by three days in Barcelona and the Catalonia area. It’s hard to recall my exact itinerary now seven years later, but what I do remember is that Barcelona became my new favourite place (keeping in mind that at the time, I had very little to compare it to).
I remember several people, both whom I know in real life and whose blogs I perused on the internet, mention that they thought Stonehenge was overrated. That you arrive at this random site in rural England near a canola field and it is just as the pictures tell you, a circle of rocks. What’s the big deal?
“If you look upwards to the left, you will see the resident dog of Bruges!”
“Als je omhoog kijkt naar links, zal je de hond van Brugge te zien!”
“Si vous regardez à gauche, vous verrez le chien de Bruges!”
They said Day One would be the easy day, the warm-up day for the ascents into high altitude and the climbing of old-world stone steps.
It seems like the middle of no where – we passed maybe one car the entire drive there. Iceland is a place with so much nothing, so much quiet, but to sit and absorb that quiet, the wind in your hair and the tides crashing against long, black beaches formed from the eruptions of eons passed. Above it all, a grassy cliff, high enough to be able to observe the ruggedness of the cliff faces, the scattered remains of a long-ago shipwreck, and the foaming of the sea along the rocks.
One of the undeniable truths about living in a landlocked city situated at 53 degrees north is the inevitable winter that follows a summer that always feels too short. The days grow shorter and the temperatures grow colder, sometimes to the extent that we become the second-coldest place on Earth that day. Yes – we’ve been Antarctica’s runner-up. And the snow – sometimes the shovelled piles grow so high they become driveway mountains. Hoth in Star Wars? North of The Wall in Game of Thrones? I’d say those landscapes look fairly familiar, like a normal January day. Winter is coming, indeed.