Away from the superficial joys and obsessions I finally manage to get to the mythical, otherworldly land of extreme contrasts and spellbinding beauty. After months of planning and excitement, I make it to the world’s northernmost Capital; Reykjavik; the city of breathtaking scenery, with a bustling nightlife, a vibrant, sophisticated artistic culture and a thundering thermal energy beneath its ground.
The first few days are just a downpour of rain and high winds, making it quite difficult to move around, but despite the weather, the adventure goes on. Before moving inland though, to the southern coast towards the waterfalls and volcanoes, I decide to explore what this city and its neighbouring islands have to offer.
Reykjavik is a natural starting point for any visit to Iceland, and can be easily explored on foot or by bike. Although being one of the coldest months, February is fairly fine. By day, café culture rules, and there is a large number of cosy cafeterias with sophisticated and artistic interiors where you can seek for shelter from the continuous drizzling weather. Beware, prices are exorbitant! Pack wisely, forget heels, and make sure you get sturdy shoes and waterproof jackets and trousers. Otherwise, you will find yourself paying hundreds of euros to purchase such items locally. A walk further down from downtown, towards the shore, leads to the newly built oceanfront music and conference centre; Harpa. This modern concert hall houses events by the best musicians on the island, and reflects the vibrant city life by night through its gleaming sculpture. Just behind, lies the city’s old harbour, built between the 1913- 1917. It is quite interesting to hang out in the back terraces of one of the bars there, sipping on a local produced beer, while observing people walking on the pier and the fishermen returning with their daily catch.
I decide to keep walking down the shore and I notice one of the ferries which sails to the next island. I jump on, and in less than 20 minutes I find myself on VIDEY Island.
Just as soon as you step foot on this island, which has been uninhabited since the 1950s; you immediately sense a strong spirit of bygone centuries. The island is wild and beautiful and there are just a couple of buildings; a church, a graveyard, and two homes with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. The rest is just bare land.
Originally Iceland’s main harbour until Reykjavik took over in 1943, it is now a peaceful spot offering nothing but tranquillity and delightful carrot and apple cakes, served at the only coffee shop on this black rock.
One can enjoy its scenery, history and culture in one single day by following one of the many trails indicated. With a very interesting geological historical background, two million years ago this island was an active volcano. At the end of the last Ice Age, 12 – 13,000 years ago, the sea level rose following the melting of the glacial ice and the island was inundated. Eventually the sea level dropped and the island rose again. Nowadays spectacular rock formations can be seen along its shore sheltering its black beaches.
A great spot for an interesting and easy hike to prepare and get set for the next intense expeditions!
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Mandy Farrugia