Having spent a long weekend in Iceland in November 2015 I just had to return to see more of this stunning landscape. My friend Tony is travelling with me and together we discover glaciers, volcanic regions and the Icelandic weather.
  • Day16

    Our Itinerary

    November 9, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌧 3 °C

    We wanted to end the diary of our journey mentioning the itinerary we have been following. Months ago, when this trip began as an initial idea, we decided we wanted to travel the Iceland Ring Road anti-clockwise, though some travellers we've met during our journey do it the other way around. We then chose the key photographic locations we'd like to visit and how long we thought we'd need to do an area justice, giving us enough time to hopefully get some great photographs. The tricky bit is then converting those basic requirements into a workable itinerary and that was done by Penny, Rob's daughter.

    What she created for us was truly amazing with a level of detail that would amaze you. She arranged all our accommodation, our car hire, flights, everything in fact. We were given latitude and longitude coordinates to guide us, maps and diagrams, essential information we'd need when arriving at our overnight stays and suggestions of sights we may like to see on the way.

    We have used Penny's itinerary every single day and sometimes several times a day. It has been an essential, vital companion on our journey and has meant we have got far more out of our adventure than perhaps we could ever have done without it.

    We would like to thank you, Penny, for all the hard work in creating the journey for us and being our Expedition Support Team.

    Thank you. It's been a fantastic and amazing experience.
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  • Day16

    Reykjavik Church

    November 9, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌧 4 °C

    Next we walked to the church which dominates the city. It is a very tall structure and its tower can be seen from most areas around. Inside it feels a very large space and the first thing you notice, compared to your average British church, is how warm it is inside. Just as we arrived the organist began playing and this added to the general atmosphere while we were there.

    After taking one or two snaps we left to find somewhere for a refreshment break and spent the rest of our time browsing the shops and sights.
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  • Day16

    The Sun Voyager

    November 9, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌧 4 °C

    After visiting the Whale Museum we had a stroll by the side of the old harbour then spent some time taking photographs of graffiti-covered buildings, of which there are quite a few in Reykjavik. Often these are on the boards surrounding building sites and there appears to be a lot of these at the moment. Things here appear to be developing fast.

    The Sun Voyager is a well known site in the city and we wanted to see if there was an opportunity for a photograph. The lighting could have been better but we think we got something to show for our time there.
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  • Day16

    Iceland Whale Museum, Reykjavik

    November 9, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌧 3 °C

    Our final day in Iceland is spent discovering Reykjavik. The day began with pouring rain so the first stop was a bakery for coffee and breakfast in the hope the rain would stop. It didn't.

    The Whale Museum wasn't too far away so we decided to investigate and were amazed to find life-size models of pretty much every type of whale. Though he shouldn't have, Rob touched one of the whale models to discover it was rather squashy and rubber-like. Perhaps, we wondered, that's how we'd be after a day in that rain!

    After a cup of free coffee we ventured outside to find the rain had stopped ... for a while.
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  • Day15

    Ice Cave at Langjökull Glacier

    November 8, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Today we became Penguins. On our way to Reykjavik, the final destination of our trip, we took time out to visit an ice cave cut into the Langjökull Glacier, the largest man-made ice cave in the world. We arrived at noon to check in and half-an-hour later our waddling group of Penguins boarded a Monster Truck ... no, that's not a typo or reference to a children's play set because it was a huge-wheeled truck/bus for thirty Penguins. The journey to the glacier took around two hours.

    On a good day, Rob was told by the Guide, from the glacier you can see the ice cap on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where we've been the last couple of days, which must be at least 60 miles away. Sounds fantastic doesn't it, until you know that for us it was a complete whiteout for the drive up the glacier with truly arctic conditions when we arrived. Visibility was about 50 feet.

    We were given an interesting tour which included a small chamber set as a church (photo 5) where our guide sang a beautiful Icelandic lullaby to demonstrate the acoustics.

    It was late in the afternoon when we returned to our car, arriving in Reyjavik about 7pm. We then treated ourselves a lovely meal out which included a bottle of wine. We'll be applying for a mortgage as soon as we arrive home!
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  • Day14

    Weather

    November 7, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌬 9 °C

    A short interlude to talk about the weather we've been experiencing during our trip. As you've seen, we've pretty much seen the lot from high winds to snow and frost with pretty much everything in between. Perhaps not as much sun as we'd have preferred but it has been with us at times.

    Today was undoubtedly the wettest experience so far. So how have we got on coping with what, at times, has been hours of rain?

    Clothing-wise it's been fine even in low temperatures. One of our followers has referenced the saying that "there is no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothes" and that has definitely been our experience. When we say we've been getting wet that hasn't been our delicate bodies but our outer layers and equipment. At no point have we really felt the cold nor got truly deep-down soaked. We've really been quite warm and snug at times.

    We have both commented on how well our equipment has survived our adventures and, as you can see in the photo taken today, our cameras have been well and truly soaked at times. The biggest problem has been keeping the lens free of rain droplets and this has been a real nuisance, especially when we're also battered by the wind. We are using cameras with good weather sealing though so in case you're thinking of taking your camera into the shower with you, just check your instruction book first!

    What we can say about photography in the conditions we've experienced at times, is you can only take it for so long. Eventually all your microfibre cloths are wet and you simply crave coffee and cake ... and that's how we finished today.
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  • Day14

    The Berserkjahraun Lava Field

    November 7, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌬 8 °C

    The weather got worse!

    Undoubtedly, this drive through the lava field would have been stunning at this time of year, bathed in the golden light of the low sun. Our actual experience however was being bathed, pressure washed even, by an infinite tonnage of wet stuff relentlessly travelling horizontally. But if we had been given the golden light the colours in the landscape would have glowed in multi-tones of grey, brown, black and red contrasted against the greens of the moss and a whole range of small plants grasping for life. There were unworldly shapes of twisted and broken rock as we wound our way along the gravel road. Shame we didn't see it all as we describe, but we simply loved all that rain and wind.

    Did we mention the wind?
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  • Day14

    Kirkjufellsfoss - Take 2

    November 7, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌬 8 °C

    We awoke to grey skies once more so decided on a more leisurely start in the hope things would brighten up. When we arrived at the small car park it was once again blowing a gale with the now standard fitting of horizontal rain, but at least the view from the car was quite a bit clearer than yesterday. After a while we decided to brave the elements and at least get a photograph rather than leaving with nothing. First Tony, then Rob ventured to the left of the falls to look back towards the mountain which is the classic shot for this location ... except for the grey skies and driving rain, of course.

    We're now back at our accommodation to sort ourselves out for the afternoon and will be exploring the Berserkjahraun lava field.
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  • Day13

    Djúpalónssandur Beach

    November 6, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Our waitress last night had mentioned this beach as a possible place worth visiting so we decided to take a look. Wide landscape shots were not really possible as the weather was still against us, so we thought we'd look at taking close-up shots of things like beach stones or seaweed perhaps ... and that's what we did, though a wet weekend in Wales would probably be a cheaper and more efficient way to photograph a lump of soggy seaweed wrapped 'round a stone!

    The day hasn't been a total right-off to be honest as we think we managed to get some photos in the 'can'. It would be nice not to get so wet though.

    We are now back at our accommodation and outside the wind is still blowing a gale and it's still raining. Tomorrow we're going to try again to photograph Kurkjufell so let's hope the weather improves overnight.
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  • Day13

    Sea Stacks at Hellnar

    November 6, 2016 in Iceland ⋅ 🌬 8 °C

    Well, we waited and we waited and the wind almost blew the mountains down. The weather got worse so, after watching some other mad photographers attempt to take on the elements (and failing miserably), we decided to move on.

    Unbelievably, as we travelled westward along the north of the peninsula the wind gusted even stronger, jolting the car as we travelled along. More driving rain and fog made this a truly difficult day for photography.

    We stopped for a coffee break at Hellnar which also has sea stacks which it claims rival those at Reynisfjara Beach at Vik - where we christened the tourists 'Penguins' if you recall. So we donned our wet weather gear and braved the elements to see what we could get. Not sure if we got a stunning photograph but we did get wet!
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