ICELAND was first settled by Irish priests who came across the seas in round coracle boats in the 8th century. They left or were slaughtered when the berserker Vikings arrived a hundred years later. Today it is a strange and magnificent other worldly landscape like none other on earth. There are 150 volcanoes and many glaciers calving icebergs into lagoons – some black with icy lava grit, some white as snow, some glittering turquoise like iridescent Navajo jewelry. There are ice caves and lava caves. Waterfalls are everywhere. There are Nordic deserts that looks like volcanic version of Utah and Nevada – Vast empty plains dotted with volcanoes and roofed with strange lenticular clouds with dense black bottoms and shimmering sunlit tops. Thousands of acres of moss covered hummocks and tussocks stretch as far as the eye can see amongst the lava rocks. Low and stunted birch forest festooned with bright yellow leaves line the deep canyons.
The night sky becomes alive after dark, unveiling the aurora borealis’s strange and magnificent phosphorescent glowing, pulsating lighted dramas for hours, ever changing and mysteriously lit from within. It looks like a phosphorescent green celestial forest fire in the Heavens, rising from the low Northern horizon and fanning out with wide tendrils sweeping all the way across the vast dome of the sky.
Iceland is full of sheep – they seem to be the national animal, mostly white but always with a few black outliers. Occasionally there are large flocks of snow white swans grazing out in the bright green verdant pastures next to the ewes and rams.
The weather is variable and ever changing. Everything in Iceland is on a scale that dwarfs all other landscapes that I have ever seen or walked through. All is vast, beautiful, enormous and otherworldly.
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