I imagine this is what Europa, Jupiter’s smallest moon, must be like – a keen contender in the search for extra-terrestial life. This picture however was taken in Iceland in February. The stark, raw, wild beauty of it touches me deeply..
Höfn is my spiritual home. Some of my best friends are here. I have been welcomed into homes and into the community and treated with the most incredible hospitality here and when I became ill here a couple of weeks ago, I was treated with care and compassion to the point that phone calls were made way beyond the call of duty to check how I was doing. Yes, Höfn is where my heart is.
Besides the wonderful people and the incredible health and dental care, the scenery is just incredible and a short ride along route 1 and through the tunnel that takes you through a range of mountains you will come to Hvalnes. If you’re from Höfn, which as I’ve mentioned before is pronounced h’up (the h is very breathy) you’ll pronounce Hvalnes with a sort of clearing of the throat k followed by va-ll-n-yes.
Icelandic is not easy but Iceland sure is easy on the eye.
Whilst being blasted once again by winds gusting up to 70 mph that were literally pushing our car sideways on the Ice which when you’re driving along the highway is extremely unsettling, I managed to stop the car every now and then and take pictures that engender such incredible serenity in me but they really do belie the conditions. Taking them, well, that was a real battle on this occasion.
24mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-100
The reindeer in the picture below were not at all bothered by the weather, settling down on top of the black sand spit, that separates the ocean from the frozen fresh water lake, to ensure they benefitted from the very best of the wind and its numbing windchill. The ambient temperature was around – 12 °C making this feel more like, I’m reliably informed, -50 °C. This was not the weather you’d want to spend too much time out of the car taking photographs. Thankfully, having visited the location many times, I knew where I wanted to be and I got my pictures on this rather wild Sunday afternoon but they really were hard-won on this occasion! Nevertheless, I enjoyed taking these photographs and I very much hope that you enjoy viewing them. :-)
About a year ago, I donated a framed photograph to a charity raffle. After the raffle had been drawn, a lady approached me saying how much she liked the photograph and how disappointed she was that she hadn’t won it. She was so nice, I endeavoured to find out who she was which I did. I then framed another copy of the photo and sent it to her. You can see the photo that the lady liked so much here.
We exchanged emails and I was made to promise that if I were ever to visit Iceland, I must get in touch. Visiting Iceland at the time was not something I had considered but I guess the seed was sown and when I finally decided to make the journey, I did get in touch. What followed were lots of suggestions of where to visit and several introductions to people, one of whom was a university friend who lived in Höfn.
I was delighted when I, along with Poppy, Poppy’s BB and my friend Chris were invited to dinner with Hulda and her partner Róbert. We had a traditional Sunday roast, a meal that Hulda explained she’d enjoyed every Sunday since she was a child; roast lamb with rosemary, roast potatoes and vegetables. There was one additional condiment from the UK that Hulda explained she bought from a specialist shop in Reykjavik and who can argue with how well mint jelly goes with lamb. I was surprised how similar the meal was to the Sunday roast that I’d grown up with. We had a wonderful evening and it was such a pleasure to make new friends.
During the course of the evening I asked Hulda where she would recommend we visit while we were in Höfn. Horn was the answer and these are the photographs that followed. It was a very wild day, the wind was roaring in our ears and bringing tears to our eyes but we had some sunshine as you can see along with some very heavy snow. Thank you Hulda and Róbert once again for a fabulous evening. This post is dedicated you.